Idea 23: Happy Tree Military History Museum and Veteran’s Hall


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Military History Museum

Each Veteran’s Day we honor the memory of those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. So does our imaginary town of Happy Tree. Thank you for your service, Veterans.

Tools: ruler & marker, scissors, paintbrushes.

Materials: Inexpensive figures (soldier, plane and tank in this example), cardboard, school glue, masking tape, sand, large straws, acrylic paints, an egg carton, assorted lids, a small dipping cup, a poker chip (optional), and a plastic milk-pull.

1. Making history

For each figure, make a base to match by fitting lids for size. Glue each down and let dry. Radioman soldier base is a pill bottle lid, topped with a poker chip to add detail. Tank base is a pickle jar lid, topped with the small cup to add height. Plane base is a medium lid, topped with an egg carton cone. Prime each in white paint mixed with a bit of white glue. Let dry.

2. Museum setup

Cut two each of: floor and roof, 3 ½” x 5 ½”; front and back, 3” x 5”; sides 3” x 3”. Glue walls to the base, leaving extra space on the sides and front only. Measure and cut two doors, no larger than 1 ½” square – round the tops if desired. Cut entrance ramp to same width as door. Cut a straw to 3” lengths for the pillars. Cut 4 windows, each 1” square. Use masking tape to hold in place while glue dries. Roof is last.

3. Bronze and patina

Coat each figure with bronze or copper paint. Let dry. Add weathering using watered down green, brown and black paint, dabbing excess with a paper towel. Let dry.

4. Exhibit ready

Coat each base with grey, let dry and add depth using watered-down black, brown and green. Once everything is dry, test fit bases and figures again and glue together. Set aside and let dry. While they dry, add detail to the building such as gutters if desired, base coat it in grey and add the same weathering to the shadows. The door handles are from the ring of a milk pull.

5. Veteran’s Hall

Add glue to the building base and sprinkle with a bit of sand to add extra detail. The Happy Tree Military History Museum and Veteran’s Hall is brand new, but the weathering effects give it the illusion of having been there for decades. At least that’s the idea. Again, thank you Veterans!

For questions, tips and information please email with your feedback. Visit the Shelton-Mason County Journal office to see the display!

Heroes remembered
Sgt. Logan “Grits” Gristol wanted to bring his tank home after serving a heroic career in the U.S. Army. “No can do,” said his commander. Instead, a decommissioned vehicle was bronzed for the Happy Tree Veteran’s Military Museum. Other bronzed exhibits include a bronzed larger-than life sculpture of Radioman 1st Class Steve “Sparky” Whiggs, and a USAF fighter jet. –Happy Tree Times

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