Idea 16: Happy Tree Stores

Easily create three businesses at a time by making your own template


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fun with Stores!

Happy Tree City needs downtown buildings. You’re never too old to dream stuff up, let’s make some!

Tools: ruler, compass & markers, scissors, paintbrushes.

Materials: Cardboard boxes, masking tape, school glue, ordinary sand, paper sign designs, thin clear plastic (from window envelopes), and acrylic paint.

1. Templates

Measure and cut a 6” cardboard square. Customize windows as you see fit to make a storefront template. Measure and cut ¾” wide x 1 ½” tall doors. Using your template, trace and cut as many walls as desired. Glue the walls to a 7” x 6” base allowing 1” sidewalk in front, and clamp with masking tape until dry. Glue doors on. Cut windows out &/or trace pencil lines using your template.

2. Awnings

Measure and cut three pieces of cardboard, 1 ½” wide x 2” tall. Fold each neatly in half and check the angle you want with a test fit on the building. Trace the support shape until it fits right, then use it as a template and mark and cut six of those. Turn the building on its back, storefront facing up, and glue the awnings in place, clamping with masking tape. Let dry.

3. Flock with sand

Cut a hole in the base large enough for your hand to reach in. Glue a 6” square for the roof, adjusting to fit. Trace the pencil lines of the windows, seams and edges with lines of glue. While the glue is wet, drop handfuls of sand onto the glue and gently shake off the excess. Let dry. This process is called flocking and it is a wonderfully easy and cheap way to add strength, texture and detail to fine scale models.

4. Paint and detail

To create the illusion of three buildings, paint each a different color, with black between. Paint the side and back windows silver, the doors brown, the sidewalk grey, the roof black. Paint silver dots for door handles. Use an old brush to paint glue to the inside edges of the windows, then place the clear plastic from the inside. Paint glue evenly across the front of each awning and place each sign.

5. Let’s go shopping!

Happy Tree City feels more complete with Toys-O-Rama, Grocery-Mart and the Happy Tree Times. But it needs more, so we will continue next week. Until then, keep crafting. You’re never too old!

For more tips and information (including the Happy Tree signs art featured here), please email with your feedback!

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