Most little girls at some point in their childhood love fairies and princesses and while we indulge their imagination with tutus, dolls, coloring books, and costumes, one mom took her daughter’s love of fairies a step further and created an interactive bedroom for her two year old, Kyah. Super mom Ryanne (she made the entire room herself) shared with us her daughter’s bedroom, which comes replete with a handmade paper mache tree, environmentally-friendly doll house (it has recycling bins, solar panels, and a turbine), fairy dolls, and an easel for coloring and painting. Ryanne also gave us some tips for non-crafty parents looking to create a bit of imagination and magic in their kiddo’s room.
Red Tricycle: This room is amazing. Do you have a creative background?
Ryanne: Thank you! The tree looked like a brown paper mache mess for a while so I’m relieved it came together. I do have a creative background but I do not call myself a visual artist. I grew up in the theatre and that has always been my calling. I’ve enjoyed tinkering with different materials throughout the years but this is probably the first project I have seen through.
RT: Can you tell us a little bit about how this room came together? What was the inspiration behind it?
R: My two year old daughter loves fairies and princesses. When designing her room I wanted to create a space that was interactive, creative, and connected our daughter to nature. Something I find particularly important when living in the city.
To accomplish this I chose to create a magical fairy forest with a paper mache tree, exotic flowers, and vines drapping from the ceiling. The room is made for a toddler who is eager to explore, touch, and feel her environment. You can find fairies living in the hollow of the tree and the flowers. When my daughter wakes in the morning we smell the flowers (each and every one and at night we say good night to Mr. Snake who lives in the tree and the butterflies on the walls.
We talk about appreciating nature and how we can take care of it. We also put a green doll house in her room (for her birthday). The doll house has recycling bins, solar panels and a turbine. In the corner there is a vine that holds her books, music, blocks, and toys. Finally, there is an easel under a vine that we spend a lot of time coloring and painting on. I love spending time playing with my daughter under the tree and after a long day at work I might love it more than she does some nights!
RT: For us non-crafty parents, how did you make the paper mache tree? How did you get it positioned on the wall so precisely?
R: The tree is not very hard to do, but it is time consuming. I bought plastic paint buckets at Lowes and stacked them in the corner of my daughters room. You could probably use chicken wire as well but the buckets were cheaper. I then took moving paper that comes in a large roll and ripped it into 5-10 inch pieces. I used a flour and water mixture for the glue because it is non toxic. You can play with the consistency, but I used about three cups flour to a cup and a half of water. I like my mixture to be about the consistency of Elmers glue. I then started placing strips of the paper in the mixture and then around the buckets attaching the ends to the wall.
After you complete this process from the floor to the ceiling you need to wait until it’s completely dry and then repeat this process. Don’t do a second coat when the the paper is still wet because mold could form if the original layer doesn’t dry properly. I repeated this process about five times until I felt the tree structure was finished. Once dried I painted the tree brown and the paper mache that was attached to the wall I painted green to match the original wall color. This is really how the tree took shape.
For the braches I ripped pieces about 1/2 an inch thick and a foot long and mached them to the ceiling. When dried I used two different color greens and blotted around the branches so it would look like leaves.
RT: What type of colors and paints did you use? Did you consult the folks at your local hardware store?
R: Yes, and most of them looked at me as if I was crazy. I asked someone if they had any ideas on how to make a tree and he asked me three times what I meant by making a tree. He suggested I buy one in their home garden department and pot it. There was one employee, a new father, who finally understood what I was doing and he and I scoured the store for materials that would work. He was actually the one who suggested the buckets because they were sturdy and cheap.
RT: If you had to do this all over again, what would you do differently?
R: I’m not crazy about Kyah’s crib area. The flowers on the wall seem a little out of place. I would have also loved to hang a swing from the ceiling as if it were coming from the tree but I would have needed to consult a contractor for that job.
RT: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your daughter’s room?
R: I had a lot of fun doing this project for my daughter. As a parent it is a true gift to watch your children experience things for the first time. It is an even bigger gift experiencing these things with your children. Kyah’s room is a place we go to create endless stories of make believe and magic. It makes me stop my to-do lists and just sit and enjoy as if we were somewhere far far away.
“Like” this story if you’re as impressed as we are with Ryanne’s DIY creative bedroom for her daughter.
And, if you’ve got an awesome kids room to share, send a tip to our editor (Erin AT redtri.com) and you might be featured in our next edition of Room Tours.