Idea 43: Happy Tree Transit Bus Stops

Happy Tree Transit Bus Stops
Next stop: No-Worries Lane & Art Getaway Avenue.

Crafty Time with Dave Idea 43: Bus Stops – Tutorial

Materials: clear plastic, flat plastic &/or cardboard, craft sticks, glue, masking tape and paint.

It’s a good idea to make a quick sketch of what you want to create, first.

1. Plan, measure, mark and cut. This bus is about 2” long, so each bus stop will need two clear sides 1 ¾” H x 1 ¼” deep, a back 1 ¾” H x 2” wide, a sidewalk base 3” wide x 2” deep and a roof 2” wide x 2” deep. Keep the fronts open to allow access for figures.

Holding parts for basecoats can get messy. Rubber gloves keep paint off your your fingers.

2. Pre-paint. Avoid getting paint on the clear pieces. Paint the sidewalk gray and white, the back in colors to match your buses and the roof. Use masking tape to paint straight lines. Paint a second coat also.

Using a brush for glue gives wonderful control. You might want to use disposable brushes, however.

3. Assemble. Once paint is dry, assemble by brushing glue along the edges. For benches, cut craft sticks or cardboard to 1 ½” long x ¼” wide, glue legs on and let dry, then paint the same color as the roof. Once dry, paint glue under leg edges and place carefully.

You don’t need to model every detail, just pick out a few highlights and focus on them.

4. Add details such garbage cans, newspaper racks, vending machines, shrubs and sculptures about 1/2”. Shown: color printouts are glued to material painted to match.


These bus stops integrate well with other buildings, figures and vehicles.

5. Enjoy! The Happy Tree Transit system now covers many destinations, with bus stops all over town!

See the display in at 3rd & Cota St. in Shelton, WA or visit for more crafty ideas to try at home!

Idea 42: Office Supply Store Penholder

Wouldn’t a cool penholder be fun to make, and nice to have? Let’s do this!

Tools: ruler & marker, scissors, paint & brushes, rubber band

Materials: Plastic containers & lids, white glue, sand, 3-4 toothpicks, bendy straw

Difficulty: easy

Cost: about $1 including paint and glue   Time: two to five hours (can vary)

1. Measure

Measure and mark a flat-bottomed plastic container using a rubber band, a ruler and a permanent marker. The low side will be 3.75” tall and the taller end will be 4 ½” tall. Carefully cut along the line.

2. Assemble

\Plastic lids with glue and sand form the base. The bendy straw will be a downspout. Cut down another plastic lid and support it with toothpicks for the awning. Glue everything together and add masking tape to hold it all in place. Set aside a full day to dry, then remove masking tape.

3. Prime

Examine the structure and make any changes now, for example adding the top portion of another container to the top. Mix white glue with white paint. Paint the entire structure, inside and out. Including the glue with the paint will help strengthen it.

4. Basecoat

Paint the building yellow, the awning blue or purple, and the roof black. Use washes, grays and earth tones to bring out the high and low parts of the sand for the street &/or sidewalk. Add a second coat. For windows, base coat in black, then add metallic or glitter paint. Add details of your choice.

5. Office Supply

Imagine shopping here for your school supplies!

What fresh ideas 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!

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!

Encore: Idea 16, Stores

dp.Stores.CraftyTime.33.20 – originally ran in the Aug. 13, 2020 edition of the Shelton-Mason County Journal. Reprinted 6/24/2021.

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!

Happy Tree Story Time: Business Briefs
A wave of reconstruction has followed the giant kraken attack of late last year. The Happy Tree Times, Toys-O-Rama and Grocery Mart have all reopened in the new Apple Street buildings. The Happy Tree Café, Super Duds Fashion and a Post Office in the Old Town buildings will be having an open house Friday from 11-1pm. Refreshments and live entertainment will be available.
–Happy Tree Times

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

Idea 39: Paper sign

23.21.dp.paper sign.CraftyTime Idea 39

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Paper display sign

This nice sign is incredibly quick, easy and inexpensive to make.

Ages: All. Materials: two pieces of blank paper and a copy of the Shelton-Mason County Journal. Tools: scissors, glue stick. Difficulty: beginner. Cost: very low. Time: up to an hour, probably much less.

1. Cut

Stack two pieces of paper, fold in half and cut a swooping shape.

2. Separate

Pull the middle piece out, then glue along the outer fold edge. Press folds together.

3. Open

Unfold the sign structure. Adjust as needed.

4. Detail

Trim out some of your favorite elements from the Shelton-Mason County Journal &/or other sources. Glue down.

5. Sign

This sign features the two copies each of the Crafty Time heading, Fun Pages heading, Shelton-Mason County Journal flag and Belfair Herald flag. The four sides make it visible from any direction, 360 degrees.

Tour Happy Tree Village & learn how it is made! Visit or point your phone’s camera at the QR code here. Email questions & comments to or call 360-426-4412. See the display in the window at 227 W. Cota St. in downtown Shelton.

Idea 38: Pipe Cleaner Tree

crafty time tree.pierik.19.21 Idea 38

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Pipe cleaner tree

Save a bit of that Styrofoam and cardboard and try making this tree!

Ages: All. Materials: Long pipe cleaners, masking tape, glue, Styrofoam, cardboard, sand, cotton balls or other foliage, paint. Tools: Scissors, paintbrushes. Difficulty: easy. Cost: low. Time: one or more hours of fun!

1. Twist

Joggle several pipe cleaners to slightly different lengths. Twist them all together at the trunk, working to fewer for branches and roots.

2. Wrap

Now let’s make the bark of the tree. Wind strips of masking tape around the trunk and roots. A slight overlap is good and single layer is enough. Add knots and texture with your thumbnails.

3. Base

Break a roughly palm-sized hill of Styrofoam apart with your fingers, to the size desired. Wrap the roots over the top. Trace and cut cardboard and glue down. Brush glue over the top and dust with sand. Let dry. Paint the trunk, branches and roots brown, the base black, then greens. Let dry.

4. Foliage

Soak cotton balls in watered-down green paint, squeeze excess liquid. Let dry. Add glue to top of branches, pull cotton balls to desired shapes, glue on, paint with glue to strengthen. Let dry. Touch up paint to accent light and shadows.

5. Scenic tree

This inviting tree adds natural shape and color to any diorama. It’s also fairly durable for kids to play with.

What 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!

Idea 37: Tile Roof House

Meet the mayor
Happy Tree’s newly-elected mayor, Hector Bright is also keeper of Kraken Watch Lighthouse. A longtime philanthropist and something of a local hero, Mayor Bright was sworn into office Monday. “I thank everyone for your support. Let’s keep making Happy Tree the best little town it can be,” he said outside the newly constructed mayor’s house Thursday.
–Happy Tree Times

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

House with tile roof

Houses in Happy Tree Village have a range of colors, styles and sizes just like in real life. Let’s play with making one with a tile roof!

Tools: ruler, scissors, old butter knife, paint brushes – and patience. Optional: tweezers.

Materials: Cardboard, white glue, bamboo skewers, clear plastic, flat toothpicks, milk pull, adding machine spool, baking soda, paint.

Difficulty: moderate

Cost: less than $1 including paint and glue   Time: three to five hours or more of fun!

1. Measure

Measure and mark cardboard. Base: 5” square. Walls: two are 4” square, two are 4” x 4” to 5” peaks at center. Cut and glue together at edges, leaving ½” of extra space at base. Use masking tape to hold in place until dry. Measure and cut a piece of corrugated cardboard 5” wide x 6” long for the next step.

2. Texture

For roof texture, carefully peel a layer of corrugated cardboard away. Next, use an old butter knife to add “tile” divots approx. ¼” apart. When complete, you should have two pieces, each 5” wide x 3” tall. Thinking about how rainwater flows, the length of the textured ribs flow from the roof peak down.

3. Assemble

Cut a bamboo skewer to 5”. Cut small “V” shapes in the peak tips of the roof points and glue the bamboo skewer across. Run glue along the tops of the walls and along the bamboo skewer, and place the roof pieces on top. Dust baking soda over glue to seal raw edges. When dry, brush off excess.

4. Detail

Cut single-ply cardboard into ½” strips and fold in half for the corner trims, and ¼” strips along the 1 ¾” floor divider line. Cut ½” clear plastic windows. Cut flat toothpicks for window frames. Cut a milk pull for round shapes above the doors and the round window. Paint 2-3 coats including touch-ups.

5. Tile Roof House

Of all the houses that have ever been, this is certainly one of them.  Just add your choice of cars and figures, and the stories you can imagine almost write themselves!

What 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!

Idea 36: Car Wash


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Car Wash

Previously we made a gas and service station. Our Happy Tree village could also use a car wash!

Tools: ruler, scissors, paint brushes, rubber band

Materials: Cardboard, white glue, masking tape, paint, craft sticks, straws, pipe cleaners, newspaper

Difficulty: moderate

Cost: less than $1 including paint and glue   Time: two to four hours or more of fun!

1. Base

Measure and mark cardboard. Base: 3” wide x 7” long with guide lines ¾” apart in middle and ¼” from outside edge. Roof: 3 ½” x 3”. Walls (2) 3” x 2 7/8”. Cut pieces. Work grooves along the ¾” middle lines. Measure 2 bamboo skewer sticks to 6” lengths and cut at angles for car wheel ramp conveyer-guides.  Glue in.

2. Top

For roof frame, work upside-down. Glue walls to roof. Cut 3 craft sticks to 2 ½” lengths and glue about ½” from roof, brace with rubber band until dry. Test fit height and width with a car to make sure it will fit through.

3. Apparatus

Cut and glue pipe cleaners for washers, bendy straws for blow-dryers and other elements to the sticks, allowing room for 1” wide vehicles to pass through the car wash. Use masking tape to hold parts in place until glue dries, and then carefully remove the tape. Paint the roof and asphalt black.

4. Details

Paint walls white. Cut straws to fit, cut along long edges and glue on. A milk pull and a short row of staples make roof vents. Create fun signs! Paper clips work great for pipes, beads for wash nozzles. Cut newspaper for wash drapes, paint. Flip and paint a small container for the water tank/pay station.

5. Car Wash

Imagine. Drive up, pay and go through. “Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh FFFFF!” Presto! Clean, dry car!

What fresh ideas 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!

“O’Saurus” expands
Happy Tree village is world HQ of Gas O’Saurus, previously Bob’s Mythic Monster. The existing fuel and full service station added a new automated car wash to their lineup. Friday at noon, Wash O’Saurus Rex will offer free balloons and bubble wand kits with every car wash in celebration of their grand opening.
–Happy Tree Times

Idea 35: Barn

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal


Spring is in the air here, and also in our imaginary town of Happy Tree. Let’s make a barn!

Tools: ruler, scissors, paint brushes.

Materials: Cardboard, white glue, masking tape, paint. Optional: round toothpicks, straw, spool.

Difficulty: easy

Cost: less than $1 including paint and glue   Time: two to four hours or more of fun!

1. Mark

Base: 4” wide x 5” deep. Front (make 2): 4” w x 4” tall; 3 ½” mid-slope, 2” downside of roof. Sides (make 2) 2” tall x 5” deep. Roof: 6 ½” x 5 ½” with fold mark at 3 ¼” midpoint. Look at barn photos before starting.

2. Cut

Cut cardboard along the marks you made. For barn doors that open, cut an opening and glue bits of straw into the sides, allowing room for a round toothpick to fit. Test fit doors and glue to toothpick when ready. Glue parts together (except roof and doors), adjust as needed and let dry.

3. Paint

Prior to gluing roof on, paint the interior brown. Next, base-coat exterior with the same brown before you paint the walls and doors red and the roof black. The white “X” pattern on the doors is easier to paint prior to gluing onto the toothpicks.

4. Details

An adding machine spool made a cute chimney in this example. The barn door handles are cut-down toothpicks painted silver. Put the glue on the handle then carefully place. The barn quilt was hand-painted on a 1” square of white plastic.

5. Barn

Add a farm truck, toy horses or livestock of your choice and you can really make a scene! Note the farmhouse (Idea 19 from September 10, 2020 Crafty Time) in the background.

What 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!

Rodeo rider hurt
Paramedic driver Justin Case loaded rodeo rider Angel Bucked into his ambulance Saturday after she was injured while training.
“Ginger Snaps is actually a nice horse, except when she gets startled. A kid was playing with fireworks and I got thrown,” Bucked said. She was treated for a broken leg, and released.
–Happy Tree Times

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