Idea 6: Castle

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik

Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fun with castles

Previously, we’ve made buildings, roads water and trees. Now our village needs a castle!

0. You will need:

Tools: colored markers, ruler, scissors, small carving knife, paintbrushes, small tweezers or pliers, clothespins.

Materials: clear plastic (from window envelopes), cardboard tube (from containers and roll centers), masking tape, cardboard (both corrugated and thin card), Styrofoam, acrylic paint, sand, school glue, round and/or flat toothpicks, craft sticks.

Optional for the pennant flag: battery-powered tea light, bamboo shishkabob stick, & copy of the Shelton-Mason County Journal. Optional for the stained glass layout: graph paper to put underneath.

1. Stained glass prep

Using the clear plastic from some window envelopes, fill all the space with colors and designs of your choice, saving black for later. Once dry, carefully glue another clear piece over the top. Set aside.

2. Tubes base

Lay down a piece of corrugated cardboard, and place your cardboard tubes for sizing, spacing and layout. Note: you can reinforce thin card tube by doubling it up. Cut down the long way, remove a quarter inch and glue the extra ones inside.

3. Styrofoam walls

Using the height of the ground floor towers and the width you want, measure, mark and cut your Styrofoam walls. For this example, I wanted a fairly small castle. But you could make a giant one! Be careful with sharp objects.

4. Castle deck

Glue the walls to the ground floor towers and clamp them with masking tape while they dry. Trace onto the cardboard, remove & trace a concentric line on-half inch further out. Cut. This is your castle deck. Glue, and set a bit of weight on top while it dries (I used small paint containers).

5. Top windows prep

Cut down a section of larger cardboard tube. Shown is from a tea container, about 4” tall but you could change it up. Carefully cut out where your windows will be later. Trace, then add a half an inch and cut the roof. I also cut a hole in the middle of the roof for access. Do not attach this section to the castle deck.

6. Crenellations

Measure, mark and cut a couple of long lengths of corrugated cardboard. 1” tall, with the crenellations half an inch tall by half an inch wide, with quarter inch gaps. Run a bead of glue around the outside of each deck, and wrap it, clamping in place with masking tape as you go. Let dry, then remove the tape.

7. Raised detail rock prep

Thin cardboard (from a toaster pastry container in this example) works great for creating raised details. Allow time, you will need a lot of little (approx. quarter inch) rock shapes for the exterior. While things dry, create more of these and put them in your bits box. During this step, you can also make exterior doors for the top tower.

8. Carving the pumpkin I mean castle

Mark the places you want openings, then cut them out. Paint the interior grey, now that you have access. While it’s drying you can make a pennant and flagpole using the tealight as the base, the bamboo skewer as the flag and your favorite Shelton-Mason County Journal image as the flag art.

9. Details- bars

For portcullis verticals, use five full-length round toothpicks. Flip the building over, carefully (you might need tweezers) poke them through both parts of the Styrofoam and glue in place. Cut shorter lengths for the portcullis horizontals and the windows, poke them into both sides of the Styrofoam and glue in.

10. Rock the house

Use an old brush to spread a liberal amount of glue, one side of the structure at a time, then place the rock details on randomly. Follow up by flocking with sand, shaking off the excess. Repeat for the other sides, and for the top tower. Let dry. While it’s drying you can make a quick drawbridge out of five cut down craft sticks and a couple of flat toothpicks.

11. Basecoats

Mix some glue, water and sand into your black paint. Coat the entire exterior in black. Let dry. Next, paint the raised surfaces in grey using the same method. Let dry. Pick out the high spots and paint white. Let dry. Paint the exterior doors brown. Mix brown and green to paint the base around the bottom of the castle – it’s okay to be sloppy and get a bit on the lower rocks for realism. Add details as you see fit.

12. Stained glass pre leading-glazing

With an old brush, paint the inner frames of the window cut outs of the top tower with glue. Carefully place the stained glass windows you made. Hold in place with your fingers, masking tape, or clothespins until dry. Paint glue around the edge of the other side of the window and let dry. Use a detail brush to paint black leading/glazing along the outside edge, and along each color change in the art. Let dry. Turn the tealight on and put it inside.

13. Happy Tree Castle

They say a man’s (or woman’s) home is his (or her) castle. Personalize yours as you see fit. Shown here is the castle along with water and trees from earlier Crafty Time features. In the background is a tower I made previously, along with the archer figures (1/35th scale).

What would you like to see next on Crafty Time? I’m drawing a blank at the moment and I would love to hear from you. Please email your thoughts, ideas and photos to or call the Shelton-Mason County Journal office, 360-426-4412.

Career Fair offered at Castle Amusements
Visitors to Happy Tree often come to enjoy Castle Amusements Park, home of yearlong medieval fair, rides, dining and live theatre. Local workers enjoy several perks, including one free family pass per summer.
Happy Tree Castle Amusements Park, celebrating Crafty Time Day last Friday.
A career fair will be held at the Happy Tree Castle all day Thursday, starting at 8am. Lunch will be provided at noon, with orientation and costume fitting to follow for those hired. Positions include period actors, vendors, cooks and more. –Happy Tree Times

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