Fairy doors on display at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Edinburgh Napier students join forces with kids to design 44 doors

Date posted

6 November 2017


Last updated

19 March 2020

‘Fairies’ in Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh will soon be able to leave their trees in style thanks to a new creative door project. 

Second year Product Design students from Edinburgh Napier University have joined forces with children from city-based Daddy Day Care to design and produce a total of 44 eye-catching fairy doors. 

The doors are made from a range of materials including plastic, wood and even 3D print and belong to a number of creative fairy characters designed by the children. 

Characters include Tega the warrior fairy and Flos the ecologist fairy whose wings imitate the petals of an iris flower.

The fairy characters and doors have been brought to life by the Edinburgh Napier students as part of their second year programme at the University. The project has allowed them to gain valuable public exhibition experience.

The doors – along with a description board that explains the back-story of each fairy - were on display in the John Hope Gateway building within the gardens from Friday 3 November until Sunday 5 November. 

It was the only chance to see all 44 within the Edinburgh garden before they go on display at the other gardens within the Botanic family next year - Benmore in Argyll, Dawyck in the Scottish Borders and Logan in Dumfries and Galloway. 

Around 10 doors will remain in each garden as the exhibition travels around to form fairy door trails for both kids and big kids to enjoy. The three sister gardens are set to re-open after the Winter break in March 2018. 

Some excited visitors to the Fairy Door exhibition

‘Fairies’ have a long association with gardens across the country with numerous tails of potential sightings throughout the years. 

In 2015, paranormal ‘experts’ claimed they found evidence of fairies living in Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh itself when they reported seeing globes of coloured light within the area. 

When installed, it is hoped the new trails will encourage visitors to explore parts of all four gardens that they have not visited before alongside helping create a new family-friendly visitor attraction to be enjoyed by all. 

Trent Jennings, Lecturer in Product Design at Edinburgh Napier, said: “Collaborating with two processional partners has provided a fantastic industry-based experience for our students. Both the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Daddy Day Care have brought real world knowledge to the learning experience which has resulted in a rich, vibrant and fun project.”

Susie Kelpie, Schools Programme Manager at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said: “The Fairy Door project is an exciting way of attracting and engaging different audiences to all four our Gardens. It has been a very rewarding way to work with the university and provides a wonderful new asset for our nursery school programmes in Edinburgh, as well as delivering a fresh feature of interest for wider visiting groups. What’s more, it presents original potential for engagement at Benmore, Logan and Dawyck.”

Craig Chalmers, second year Product Design student at Edinburgh Napier, said: “Being able to work with a real client for this project has been an enriching experience. There are very few courses that offer these opportunities, and this one has been worth every minute as we are all proud of the work we have done.”

Study Product Design at Edinburgh Napier