Idea 41: Hotel

Crafty Time

All ages how-to by Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Let’s make a hotel

Happy Tree City is thriving with cars and people. A hotel is what we should scratch-build next!

Tools: ruler, pencil & markers, scissors, paintbrushes. Craft knife optional, use with care.

Materials: Cardboard, masking tape, school glue, paper sign designs, clear plastic sheets & tube, rubber bands, plastic canvas, clear packaging, toothpicks, bamboo skewers, craft foam sheet and acrylic paint.

1. Templates

Think of hotels you like, look at some photos and draw ideas. With a ruler, draw a template. From that, trace and cut cardboard. Make four walls.

2. Assemble

Glue together on a base (example is 5” square) and reinforce corners with bamboo skewers. Add masking tape until dry. Prime white.

3. Trim

Add rubber bands for floor divider trim detail. Glue them in place. Dry brush the exterior light gray, paint the trim light blue. Paint window frames dark gray.

4. Pool

Paint a 5” square base of corrugated cardboard white and set aside. Cut craft foam to 4 ¼” x 2” then draw a kidney-shaped pool on it and cut carefully, glue to base.

5. Fence

Align, mark and cut plastic canvas for fencing, about 1” tall. Paint it silver, along with six toothpicks the same height. Test fit. Glue around the outside edge. Paint bottom of pool metallic blue. Pour school glue to top edge of pool for water.

6. Test Fit

Whatever cars or other figures you will be using need to be the right size and scale. Here, the parking space is not quite long enough, and had to be adjusted by gluing on a stack of two craft sticks.

7. Mask

Test fit your cars first.

Above: removing masking tape to reveal parking lot stripes. For this effect, cut 1” masking tape down to ¼” widths, tape over the white, then paint black over the top. Test fit your cars first. The pool floaties are beads, the silver arch was part of a cottage cheese lid.

8. Glass

Use an old brush to paint glue on the inside of the structure.

Mark two sheet protectors using the width and length of the template from step one. You should have four clear rectangles. Use an old brush to paint glue on the inside of the structure. Place one at a time. Add the roof last.

9. Elevator

Add elevator occupants before gluing the lid. Yes, they’ll be stuck forever, hahaha!

Cut a clear tubular container to size. Paint the floor and lid black. Add occupants before gluing the lid. Paint doors for all floors silver, add black edging for detail. Paint bamboo skewers and toothpicks black for elevator guides & cables, and awning supports. Cut and fold thin cardboard for the awning.

10. Play

Unintentional selfie

Bring, paint or buy a few little figures, cars and maybe a helicopter. The Rogers & Rockwell Hotel is now open and ready for guests. Sound effects not included.

For more tips and scratch-building information (including the Happy Tree signs art featured here), email with your feedback. You may also visit for more tutorials and photos. Happy crafting!

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