Idea 34: Credit Union

10.21.dp.CreditUnion RVE.CraftyTime Idea 34 2pg

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Credit Union

Happy Tree village needs a Credit Union. Let’s make one!

Special thanks to my wife for the concept!

Tools: ruler, scissors, paint brushes. Optional: file

Materials: cardboard, clear plastic, plastic lid, bamboo skewers, masking tape, white glue, paint.

Cost: about $0.50 – $2 including paint and glue   Time: two to four hours or more of fun!

Difficulty: Intermediate

1. Measure

Clearly mark cardboard for 4”x 4” floor and roof, 3 ½” x 2 ½” back wall, 3 ½” x 3 ½” side walls. Mark slope on side walls to 2 ½”. On the floor piece, also mark a 3 ½” x 3 ½” square for placement later.

2. Cut

Carefully cut straight lines along your marks. It’s okay to start over, mark and cut again as needed – cardboard is abundant!

3. Plastic

Cut a 3 ½” x 3 ½” square of clear plastic for the front wall. Test fit with the other pieces.

4. Peel

Carefully peel and rip away the top layer of the angled side pieces. Clean up excess with a file if desired. This will give you nice corrugated exterior side walls.

5. Test fit

Place the walls over the floor lines and prop together with your fingers. Adjust any pieces that do not fit correctly.

6. Glue

Glue the back and side walls only. Save the roof and front for later. Wipe away any excess glue with a paper towel. Apply masking tape to hold in place until dry, then peel off.

7. Supports

Mark 6 craft sticks at 3 ½” lengths, and cut. You will need these for the front entrance.

8. Assembly

On a piece of cardboard, mark a 3 ½” square. Mark a horizontal guide at 2” and vertical lines ¾” in from the left and right, leaving a slightly wider gap in the middle. Glue sticks together, let dry and remove from cardboard.

9. Paint

Paint the outside walls, entrance bars and top of roof black, the floor brown, the inside of the back wall and bottom of the roof white and the side walls green.

10. Details

The counter is cardboard and a stick, 3 ¼” long x about ½” tall, paint grey. The safe door is clear plastic packaging and a cutaway adding machine spool, about 1 ½” tall. The handle is a bit of craft stick. Paint silver, gold and black.

11. Coats

Keep paint ready in your palette because you will need it for second coats and touch-ups.

12. Entrance

Be sure the glue and paint are dry on the black sticks for the front wall. Align and glue in place, adding dots of glue for the clear plastic. Be patient. Note that school glue dries clear.

13. Awning

Hold a clean cottage cheese lid to the entrance and mark the sides. Cut down, paint black and set aside. Paint a front door with black and silver, and add a silver door handle.

14. Check

Check the awning for fit, full coverage of paint and that everything is dry. Turn the building onto the back wall so that the front wall faces up. Apply glue to the edge of the awning and carefully place it.

15. Credit Union

Happy Tree Credit Union is currently the one and only financial institution for our imaginary town. Figures are approximately 1/64 scale and these came unpainted. Painting minis is fun though!

16. BONUS – Figures

Speaking of figures, here are some tips. For shading and highlights, start with the color you want, the base color. Then, use wet paint for a darker wash of a similar color. Next, use dry paint and lighter color for highlights. This figure is 1/35 scale, 1″ = 5′ so the base is about the size of a penny.

17. Yellow

Most people (including me) think of white as the main highlight color. I recently learned the importance of yellow from an art teacher. Figure sculpts by Reaper Miniatures of Texas. I painted these figures during the Reaper Virtual Expo earlier this month.

18. Cartoon

Once you can make solid black lines, you can separate your colors with them to create a cartoon-style effect. This does take practice, but it is fun!

19. Kilts

There is a support group on Facebook for people who are crazy enough to try painting kilts on miniatures. Yes, it’s kind of crazy. But, it’s possible if you can kind of paint straight lines.

What magic would you like to see next in Crafty Time? Visit for more photos and project ideas.  Please email your photos and feedback to or call 360-426-4412. Visit our office to see the display!

Credit union opens
Happy Tree Credit Union opened last week. Locals began opening accounts Wednesday. Spokesperson Andrea Gold anticipates HTCU will attract most of the local financial service business. Previously, Happy Tree residents had to go to neighboring Pumpkintown for their banking needs.
–Happy Tree Times

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