Idea 15: Welcome Sign / Walking Arch


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

A Welcome Walkway!

Happy Tree Village needs a safe pedestrian highway crossing, and an entry sign. Easy peasy, we can do this!

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

Materials: Cardboard boxes, masking tape, school glue, sand, paper sign designs, and acrylic paint.

1. Half of a donut

Measure and cut a 2” wide corrugated cardboard ring with 4 ½” diameter hole. Cut in half.  Cut and fold thin cardboard for the steps, these are 1 ¼” wide, with ½“ deep steps. Adjust, glue and tape in place until dry.

2. Base and flock

Measure and cut a cardboard base about 1/8” wider and longer than the feet of the bridge. Glue and clamp down with masking tape. Use an old brush to paint glue along the stair edges. Drop sand on it to flock for strength and texture. Let dry then cut the middle of the base out with scissors.

3. Prime and prep

Start with darker colors first. Mix black, gray and some white paint with a bit of sand and glue and paint everything. While it dries, think about what signs you want, what size they will be and where to place them. 

4. Drybrush and detail

Using lighter colors, dust the raised textures of the model with brown, tan and white. Cut the signs out, paint glue on the backs and glue on. Paint glue over the top, then paint nail dots, rust and aging effects with a mix of brown, copper and orange. Add dirt and grass browns and greens to the base.

5. Welcome to Happy Tree

Now motorists will know where they are, and pedestrians can safely cross the highway.

For more tips and information (including the Happy Tree clubs art above), please email with your feedback! We welcome your feedback.

A welcome walkway
featuring club logos crosses Happy Tree Highway.

An oversized truck damaged it Thursday.

On the Agenda: Happy Tree Clubs
Just a few reminders for those of you who don’t already know:
The Yeti Order Lodge #24 meets Monday 10am at Cosmic Diner. There will be a pancake-eating contest fundraiser. The Hare Ladies Club #13 meets Tuesday Noon at the Lighthouse. President Tina Ferkenleuper has a special guest speaker scheduled to discuss seasonal décor color strategies.
Raccoon Commerce #213 meets Wednesday 9am at the Castle. Chairperson Nigel Hungermusk will discuss inventory coordination going into the holiday season. Owl Talks local “Moneybags” Club #3 will meet Thursday 12pm at Happy Tree Park (weather permitting) for a lighthearted debate contest, led by M.C. George Figartola, with light lunch to follow. The entry fee includes lunch, with a portion of the proceeds to go to the winner.
Deer Friends Happy Tree Club #A-16 will have their regular breakfast meeting on Friday 6am at the Cosmic Diner. The Scholarship Selection committee will present their winners.
Bug Club #0 meets Saturday 10pm at the Castle for B.Y.O.B. and Wild Hats night. Please note, last year’s winner, Billy “Disco Ball” Johansson is still recovering from a concussion and will not be defending his title. Dragons #1 Drag Race Club meets Tuesday 3pm at the Lighthouse. Sidney Streaks will host a workshop on affordable tire replacement strategies. Lenny Hugathora has the sign-up sheet for the annual knife-throwing contest. Ahoy Club #10 meets Thursday at Noon at Happy Tree Park. Skipper Hugh Watterson will teach a workshop on bowline knots, and cadet Lisa Miggins will be awarded her Captain’s Badge.
Crafty Time Conspirators #1 meets Mondays at 6pm at the Cosmic Diner. Please bring a newspaper for your work area and clean up before closing so Agnes does not have to.

Idea 14: Lighthouse


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

A Lighthouse for Safety!

Happy Tree Village at the edge of Table’s Edge Sea needs our help to keep boaters safe from the deadly Great Chair Reefs. Duty calls so let’s make a lighthouse!

Tools: ruler & markers, scissors, paintbrush, and a sharp knife. Be careful with sharp tools.

Materials: Clean cardboard tube can, corrugated cardboard, thin cardboard, Styrofoam, flat toothpicks, clear plastic from a window envelope, large rubber band from grocery produce, masking tape, school glue, sand, a battery-powered tea light, plastic lids, acrylic paint.

1. Measure, mark & cut

For the base, measure and cut a clean, flat piece of corrugated cardboard, 6” square, then cut 1” angles from the corners. For the Styrofoam rocks base slot, cut a 3” round hole.  For the top lamp deck, measure and cut a 3” round corrugated cardboard platform.

2. Tapered tower & rocks

Leaving the bottom of the tube can intact, cut straight down opposite sides from the top and twist them in over each other, so the top is about as big around as the tea light. Mark the edges with a sharpie, glue and tape all the way down. Test-fit the can with the Styrofoam rocks slot. Adjust, glue and let dry.

3. Walkway & lamp deck

Use your fingers and/or a knife to shape and curve the Styrofoam rocks to the base. With a knife, cut a walkway from the edge to where the door will be. Level and adjust the top lamp deck, 3” corrugated cardboard circle, and glue down. Glue and tape craft sticks to the outside for the rail supports.

4. Doors, windows and paint

Glue clear and top lids to tea light. Cut thin card doors, glue on.  Add rubber band for the top rail. Paint all with glue, flock with sand, let dry. Prime in white, prime base in gray. Cut window frames, glue clear plastic to back, cut holes in tower side, glue on. Paint color, touch up. Test, check and adjust.

5. Happy Tree Lighthouse

This beacon will help sailors of the Table’s Edge Sea keep safe.

What would you like to see in an upcoming Crafty Time? Email with your input! Have you created anything crafty? If so, we’ll share it here if you like. See us for back issues too!

Kraken Watch Lighthouse has been rebuilt to protect boaters from the Great Chair Reefs, and keeper Hector Bright has his own parking spot now.

Idea 13: Swingset


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fun with a Swingset!

Happy Tree Village Park includes a playground with a teeter-totter and a merry-go-round. Why not a swingset?

Tools: ruler & markers, scissors, wire cutters, paintbrush, clothespins.

Materials: corrugated cardboard, bamboo skewers, flat toothpicks, craft sticks, fine chain (such as for bead crafts), color-coated steel paperclips, masking tape, school glue, sand, super glue, acrylic paint.

1. Measure, mark & cut

For the base, corrugated cardboard, 4.5” x 2.25”. Four posts, 2.5” high and one, 3.5” long from bamboo skewer. Three seats, each ¾” wide, from craft sticks. Two cross-supports: cut flat toothpicks to 1.25”. Six swing chains 1.75” long. 12 paper clip bends for seats and top bar.

2. Structure

Test-fit bamboo skewer parts, then poke holes in the base for the posts. Blob glue over the holes and place the poles. Flock glue with sand. Bend them to the middle and glue the top bar on, supporting with masking tape until dry. Glue and place the cross-supports evenly, clamp with clothespins or tape.

3. Assemble & prime

For top bar swing supports, test-fit and glue 6 paperclip bends to the top bar, bend side down. For seat handles, superglue 6 paperclip bends to the outsides of each seat, bend side up. Superglue chains to  tops of seat handles and bottoms of top bar swing supports. Let dry. Prime base and structure white.

4. Details & paint

Dust structure with silver paint, leaving some white for that oxidized look. Don’t paint the seats or handles unless you want to. Don’t paint the chains, unless you want to add rust effects. Paint the grass with 2 greens, and the wear stripes with 2 browns. Kids wind swings around. Test that if you like. 

5. Happy Tree Park

The park at Happy Tree Village now has a swing set. It feels like it was always meant to be there.

What would you like to see in an upcoming Crafty Time? Email with your input! Have you created anything crafty? If so, we’ll share it here if you like.

Idea 12: Fences


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fun with Fences!

Happy Tree Village is missing fences. They are easy to make, so let’s get started.

Tools: ruler & markers, scissors, paintbrush

Materials: corrugated cardboard, round toothpicks, wide and fine acrylic mesh, masking tape, school glue, acrylic paint.

  1. Measure, mark & cut

For this example, cut four bases 5” long x 1” wide, and two bases 8.5” long x 1” wide. Poke three pilot holes in each of the smaller bases, and five in each longer base. Cut 22 toothpicks to 2” for posts.

  • Glue fence posts

Squeeze a blob of glue over each pilot hole and set up your fence posts. Sprinkle with regular sand, adjust and set aside to dry.

  • Mesh it up

Test fit and cut down nylon mesh. Place masking tape on the back side of the fence posts, and paint glue on the front side. Press into place and set aside to dry.

  • Details & paint

Mix glue into white paint for the wide mesh, water into silver paint for the fine mesh. Paint two coats of fencing. Cut masking tape to half-width and cover the side edges of the corrugated cardboard bases. Paint bases with a mix of greens. Leave some sand showing near the poles.

  • A diorama element

Happy Tree Village now has chain link and wooden fences! They add a realistic touch to everything around them.

What would you like to see in an upcoming Crafty Time? Email with your input! Have you created anything crafty? If so, we’ll share it here if you like.

Idea 11: Picnic


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal

Picnic Table Fun!

Ants came to visit and that got me thinking. Picnic tables will look great with our Happy Tree Village diorama. Let’s do it!

Tools: ruler & markers, scissors, paintbrush

Materials: craft sticks, toothpicks, masking tape, glue, cardboard, paint wash

  1. Measure, mark & cut

Cut the round edges off of the craft sticks and cut them in half to about 2 ¼” wide. Glue two together lengthwise, support with masking tape and set aside. Cut flat toothpicks down to 1 ¼” for the bench supports and ¾” for the legs.

  • Cardboard ‘R’ helper

I was inspired by woodworker jigs and concrete forms. Make a 1” wide valley, the thickness of a piece of corrugated cardboard plus one layer of thin card. This is to get consistent distance and alignments between the bench and tops, and also to support them while they dry.

  • Upside-down

Center the table tops at the bottom of your cardboard valley. Tape down. Test, mark and place the benches. Glue toothpick horizontal bench supports, then diagonals, using an old brush to place the glue. Adjust as needed. When dry, trim down legs and bits as needed with scissors.

  • Wash & detail

You can rough up the tops and benches with a fingernail or a knife. Then, paint dirty paint water on there to age the surfaces and bring out detail. This is what they call a “wash”. When dry, add some character with a ballpoint pen.

  • Happy Tree picnic

Happy Tree Village now has picnic tables, the logical next thing the park needed. They fit and work so nicely they feel like they’ve been there for years. It’s hard to believe I made them yesterday.

What would you like to see in an upcoming Crafty Time? Email with your input! Have you created anything crafty? If so, we’ll share it here if you like.

Idea 10: Park

crafty time.Park.pierik.26.20

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik

Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fun at a Park!

Nice weather, childhood and Father’s Day inspired the idea of a park. Happy Tree Village has a bait shack, a drive-in movie spot & restaurant, a castle, a bridge, water, trees, roads and buildings. This park will enhance our village – which is now growing into more of a town.

0. You will need: (Will – there is not to be a photo for this, it’s not a “step”)

Tools: pencil/pen & ruler, scissors, wire cutters, paintbrushes. Optional: Mini-clothespins and a craft knife.

Materials: cardboard (corrugated and thin card), school glue, sand, flat toothpicks, bamboo skewers, craft sticks, acrylic paints, masking tape, colorful metal paper clips, beads, and one plastic bottle cap. Optional: inexpensive necklace chain (for swings, not shown), straws (for slides, not shown).

1. Plan  

We could go so many ways with this! I did a quick Google image search, and then made quick sketches later. Concept sketches don’t have to be pretty; getting them on paper helps. You’ll have far more than enough inspiration to get started on a couple of park creations.

2. Measure mark & cut

Let’s cut corrugated cardboard to make three playfields, two of them 6” square, and one 6” x 8”. Using the inner part of a masking tape roll, I traced a circle for the merry-go-round (3” diameter). Tracing around a bottle cap lid gave me the bases for 10 street lamps (about 1” diameter).

3. Twisty trails

On thin card, I drew several twisty trail pieces approx.  2” wide. The dotted lines are about half an inch from the outside, allowing about 1” wide for the trail itself. Cut more than you think you need, cardboard is inexpensive!

4. Lamps

Cut 10 bamboo skewers to 5” lengths from the pointy side. Test-fit beads. With a sharp pencil, round toothpick or craft knife, poke holes in the middle of each base. Glue the poles in, let dry then glue the beads on, let dry. Add a pool of glue to the center of each base and cover with sand. Let dry then shake off the excess.

5. Merry-go-round

Trim masking tape and wrap it around the outside to cover the corrugated edge, wrapping any excess to the bottom side to leave the top flat. Glue the bottle cap to the center of the bottom side and let dry. Paint the bottom black and the top red. Bend and cut six yellow paper clips for handles.

6. Teeter-totter

Paint three craft sticks yellow and set aside. Cut and paint a corrugated cardboard base, black. Cut a 5” long piece of bamboo skewer for center pole. Cut four flat toothpicks down to 1” lengths. Prop the center pole in place (I used mini clothespins) and glue the legs to the base. Let dry.  

7. Flocking

Run beads of glue along the dotted lines of your trails and other items you need to flock. Drop sand over the top, with a box underneath. Set aside to dry, and then shake of any excess into the box. This adds weight, a raised surface, strength and texture. Keep extra sand in a container for future use.

8. Color

Things in the natural world are colorful. Is a blade of grass green? Look up close. It is lots of colors. So, for the browns in the trails, use a light and a dark but don’t mix them – include a bit of each on the brush. Do the same with the greens on the trail’s edge. Dust a bit of light red on the merry-go-round deck.

9. Painting

Flip the merry-go-round upside down and paint the bottom black. Paint the teeter-totter center pole and legs bright green. Use leftover black to touch up the teeter-totter base.

10. Handles

Make indentations for the paper clips (I used a craft knife, be careful with sharp objects). Test-fit and adjust, then poke & glue your handles in, on the teeter-totter and merry-go-round. Use masking tape to hold in place while they dry.

11. Check it

While the glue is wet, you can still adjust. Check your work as you go. While drying, bits are delicate. Once things are in place, set it aside so you won’t bump it until it is dry!

12. Silver streetlights

Basecoat completely in black, then paint the top 2/3 of each light in silver. You can leave some of the sand showing on the base if you like. Note, the sand and glue at the base help these to balance.

13. Happy Tree Park

Our Happy Tree Village looks like a great place to relax! We can move and add to these park elements as we go.

Idea 9: Fishing

crafty time.BaitShackFishing.pierik.25.20

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik

Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fishing Fun!

A Crafty Time reader suggested that an old bait shack would be fun. Great idea! Happy Tree Village has a drive-in movie spot & restaurant, a castle, a bridge, water, trees, roads and buildings, but nothing like this. Until now!

You will need:

Tools: pencil/pen & ruler, scissors, craft knife, paintbrushes.

Materials: cardboard (corrugated and thin card), school glue, sand, flat toothpicks, bamboo skewers, acrylic paints, masking tape, clear plastic (from window envelopes, for the window “glass”)

Optional for details: artificial bait (fake fish), a bit of yarn or string (rope detail), paper clips (for fish display pole & fish net rim), thin mesh fabric (for fish net), beads for buoys.

1. A sketchy start  

I must confess that I have only been fishing a couple of times. Old bait shops show up in movies and things though. To get an idea of the look, I did a Google image search for inspiration, and then sketched out some ideas.

2. Measure & mark

Keeping with the scale of the other buildings, the front entrance will be 2.5 inches tall and 4 inches on each side. To make a peaked roof, the sides will need to be 4 inches at the points.

3. Corrugated appeal

Old corrugated metal roof, meet corrugated cardboard. This looks promising. Could it really be this easy to get the look we’re after? Cut two roof pieces to 5” x 3” and peal a flat layer of the cardboard to reveal the corrugated part. Think about the rain, this is direction-sensitive.

4. Setup

Measure, mark and cut out the windows with a hobby knife (be careful with sharp objects). Make a 6” square base. Double-check each piece for accuracy, holding each up against the others to test for fit and trim or remake pieces as needed. It’s only cardboard so you have plenty of materials.

5. Assembly – walls

Line everything up and run beads of glue along all of the edges. Adjust as you go, and use masking tape to help hold pieces together. If you’ve ever made a gingerbread house, this is similar.

6. Roof and cap stick

Cut a piece of bamboo skewer to the same length of the roof (should be 5”). Glue it all together and put masking tape across the top to hold it together. After the glue dries, peel the tape off.

7. Trim

With scissors, cut bits of masking tape down to size, and cover the side edges of the walls and windows. Cut a hole in the bottom of your shack so you can reach the opposite side and carefully press the tape down into place. This will tidy up the look.

8. Happy mistake

A roof piece that was facing the wrong way will make a great outdoor shed. Cut down bamboo skewers for the main poles, then add flat toothpicks for extra support. Basecoat everything in black. Sketch out a sign for the roof, on thin card.

9. Simple boats

Fold a rectangle of thin card in half down the middle. Cut a curve to a point at the front. Fold the back part into thirds. Open and stand on back to trace back panel, cut and glue. Cut, glue and place a couple of toothpicks across the middle. Let dry. Basecoat black, dry brush white, then paint color and details. Make two or more.

10. Net

Use a round toothpick, a metal paper clip and some mesh. Shape and twist the paper clip to the toothpick, then shape cut and glue the mesh to the rim. Let dry. You could paint yours but I didn’t.

11. Flock & dry brush

To flock, add glue to joints and edges, then sprinkle with sand. Shake off the excess. This will fill gaps and strengthen everything while also looking great. Thoughtfully paint white over the top of things, giving it a heavy dry brush but leaving black in the low areas. This will brighten up the base coats to prep for color.

12. Color and detail

I painted the sign and one boat yellow. Then, I added silver to the roof (keeping some black and white for texture), so for a minute there it looked kind of new. Finally, I slopped around a rough mix of copper, brown and a bit of the yellow with a big brush. It looks like I worked hard for this look, but I didn’t. You can do this – it’s easy and super fun!

13. Bait Shack Fishing

A battery-powered tea light adds an inner glow of character to our new Happy Tree Village addition!

Idea 8: Cosmic Motor Theatre

crafty time.CosmicMotorTheatre.pierik.24.20

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik

Shelton-Mason County Journal

Movies Fun!

Previously, we’ve made a drive-in restaurant, a castle, water, trees, roads, and buildings. Now our village needs a movie spot!

0. You will need: (Will – there is not to be a photo for this, it’s not a “step”)

Tools: ruler, scissors, craft knife, paintbrushes.

Materials: cardboard (corrugated and thin card), school glue, round toothpicks, craft sticks, acrylic paints, masking tape. Optional: 2” craft ball (Styrofoam), bamboo skewer, clear dome drink lid.

1. Screen & parking lot

As always, think and plan what you want first; get vehicle and screen dimensions. Measure and cut corrugated cardboard for the screen (7” wide x 5” tall), three parking lot sections (one 8” square and two 8” x 6”, and one screen base, 8” x 2”.

2. Base coats

Mix a bit of glue into your paint and basecoat the screen (on both sides) and Syrofoam ball with two coats of white. Basecoat everything else with one thick coat of black (on one side is fine). Set aside to dry.

3. Cosmic, man

You don’t have to be an astronaut to go to space. Fine-scale modeling takes you anywhere! Measure and cut a cardboard ring for your planet, with a 2” inner and 4” outer diameter. Basecoat in white, and glue on. Masking tape and your brush holder work great for holding your planet while it dries.

4. Sign prep

Line, measure and pencil sign lettering onto thin cardboard. Most of this can be cut out using scissors. To cut out the middle of the “O” you will need a craft knife. Be careful and patient. Base coat on both sides with two coats of white. Let dry.

5. Stand sticks

For screen stand, cut the rounds off of several craft sticks. You will need four 2” pieces 2” long, and four 4” pieces with angles cut on one end. Base coat them all white. Let dry. Repeat for sign stand and base coat in black over a 4” round base with a bamboo skewer in the middle.

6. Movie screen – stand

Measure mark and cut four narrow notches in the bottom. Turn upside-down and glue the white 2” craft sticks to them, flush with the cardboard. Run a bead of glue along the bottom edge of the cardboard and craft sticks. Center and place on the base. Gently bend cardboard to be flush with white 4” angled craft sticks. Glue them to the top of the base sticks and up the back of the screen.

7. Dome sign

Paint color and detail on both sides of the sign lettering. Let dry. Trim the outer lip of the dome lid, then glue the letters on. Glue that to the top of the planet ring. Set a light weight such as a glue bottle on top, and let dry.

8. Tilt

Decide how much tilt you want on the ring before you attach the planet to the top of the sign base. Test fit, then flip upside down and glue.

9. Sticks & scale

The height of regular masking tape is about right for the speaker stands. Paint two bamboo skewers red, then mark short lengths with a pencil. You will need 20 or so of these. Cut red car pole lengths into the middle of the tape roll.  The inner tape roll sides help catch the bits so they don’t fly everywhere as you go.

10. Down to size

Repeat the process with round toothpicks. You will need four similar height ones, in white (glue to front of screen base) and about 50 very short yellow ones, a little taller than they are wide. Set everything in bottle caps until needed. Paint glue on the tops of the red poles, and place a yellow “car speaker” on each side. Set aside.

11. Parking lot stripes

Test fit parking spots with a car you will use. In this case they are about one and a half inches wide. Mark lengths in pencil and use that as a guide. Mask off. Paint white, let dry, and remove tape. Touch up with black. Let dry.

12. Speaker poles & parking blocks

Glue two yellow “speakers” to the sides of each red pole. Let dry. Basecoat black cardboard for the bases. Use thin card at the bottom and small corrugated bits to support each pole. Cut flat toothpicks to one and one-quarter inch lengths and paint parking blocks white.

13. Cosmic movies

You can set your phone or device on the front screen holders and watch along with your Happy Tree Village friends!

Idea 7: Drive-In Restaurant

crafty time.Drive-In.pierik.23.20

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik

Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fun with a Drive-In

Previously, we’ve made a castle, water, trees, roads, and buildings. Now our village needs a restaurant!

0. You will need: (Will – there is not to be a photo for this, it’s not a “step”)

Tools: ruler, scissors, craft knife, paintbrushes.

Materials: cardboard (both corrugated and thin card), Styrofoam, milk pulls, bottle caps, bendy straws, masking tape, sand, school glue, round and/or flat toothpicks, craft sticks, acrylic paint (black, white & red).

1. Storefront

Find interesting-shaped Styrofoam, and with your craft knife, carefully cut away the parts you don’t need.

2. Walls

Mark the height of your Styrofoam on a piece of cardboard, then cut a long piece (or pieces) of cardboard to that height with scissors.

3. Floor Plan

Set the Styrofoam on a base of cardboard, allowing room for where the parking area will be. Think about the footprint you want for the building. I chose to make the Happy Tree Drive-In about five inches deep by about nine inches wide and about four inches tall. Adjust as needed.

4. Structure

Line everything up. Run beads of craft glue along all the edges, and clamp in place with masking tape. Let dry. Flip over and repeat steps for the roof, allowing about half an inch overhang on the sides and back, and up to about two inches in the front for the awning.

5. Sign Prep

Line, measure and pencil sign lettering onto the cardboard, knowing you will need to trim it all out with a craft knife. Be careful and patient. Alternate option: use extra/old refrigerator magnet letters.

6. Set Up Sign

Set the letters on the roof, then eyeball and mark positions. Cut and glue craft sticks to make a base, then cut and glue toothpicks, and stick them through the cardboard. Let dry, glue again and flock with sand, let dry then shake off the excess.

7. Adjust Sign

As the glue dries, you will find you need to adjust the height and angles of the sign. The craft sticks at the base help keep the toothpicks vertical, so that helps.

8. AC Roof Detail

Trim bits of Styrofoam that look great for extra details. This piece looks like an air conditioner, so why not use it? Be sure the bottom is flat so when you glue it to the roof it will be flush with it.

9. Gutters and Doors

Thin card, in this case a seltzer box, works great for details. Measure and cut roof edging/gutters and doors. Glue on.

10. Downspouts

Speaking of gutters, bendy straws make wonderful downspouts. Cut them down and glue them on the back corners of the building. Let dry.

11. Basecoats

Mix some glue, water and sand into your black paint. Coat the parking lot, roof, and windowframes in black. Let dry. Repeat with white for the building, and sign letters. Let dry.

12. Details

While paint dries, make three tables using bottle caps and cut down toothpicks. Paint the outside edges red, the tops white and the legs black. Paint the doors of the building red. Mix colors, make stripes, and have fun!

13. Happy Tree Drive-In

A burger, shake and fries, please! Our village now has a hangout for us cool kids.

What would you like to see next on Crafty Time? How about a drive-in movie setup featuring a stand for your phone or tablet device? I would love to hear from you. Please email your thoughts, ideas and photos to or call the Shelton-Mason County Journal office, 360-426-4412.

Idea 6: Castle

Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik

Shelton-Mason County Journal

Fun with castles

Previously, we’ve made buildings, roads water and trees. Now our village needs a castle!

0. You will need:

Tools: colored markers, ruler, scissors, small carving knife, paintbrushes, small tweezers or pliers, clothespins.

Materials: clear plastic (from window envelopes), cardboard tube (from containers and roll centers), masking tape, cardboard (both corrugated and thin card), Styrofoam, acrylic paint, sand, school glue, round and/or flat toothpicks, craft sticks.

Optional for the pennant flag: battery-powered tea light, bamboo shishkabob stick, & copy of the Shelton-Mason County Journal. Optional for the stained glass layout: graph paper to put underneath.

1. Stained glass prep

Using the clear plastic from some window envelopes, fill all the space with colors and designs of your choice, saving black for later. Once dry, carefully glue another clear piece over the top. Set aside.

2. Tubes base

Lay down a piece of corrugated cardboard, and place your cardboard tubes for sizing, spacing and layout. Note: you can reinforce thin card tube by doubling it up. Cut down the long way, remove a quarter inch and glue the extra ones inside.

3. Styrofoam walls

Using the height of the ground floor towers and the width you want, measure, mark and cut your Styrofoam walls. For this example, I wanted a fairly small castle. But you could make a giant one! Be careful with sharp objects.

4. Castle deck

Glue the walls to the ground floor towers and clamp them with masking tape while they dry. Trace onto the cardboard, remove & trace a concentric line on-half inch further out. Cut. This is your castle deck. Glue, and set a bit of weight on top while it dries (I used small paint containers).

5. Top windows prep

Cut down a section of larger cardboard tube. Shown is from a tea container, about 4” tall but you could change it up. Carefully cut out where your windows will be later. Trace, then add a half an inch and cut the roof. I also cut a hole in the middle of the roof for access. Do not attach this section to the castle deck.

6. Crenellations

Measure, mark and cut a couple of long lengths of corrugated cardboard. 1” tall, with the crenellations half an inch tall by half an inch wide, with quarter inch gaps. Run a bead of glue around the outside of each deck, and wrap it, clamping in place with masking tape as you go. Let dry, then remove the tape.

7. Raised detail rock prep

Thin cardboard (from a toaster pastry container in this example) works great for creating raised details. Allow time, you will need a lot of little (approx. quarter inch) rock shapes for the exterior. While things dry, create more of these and put them in your bits box. During this step, you can also make exterior doors for the top tower.

8. Carving the pumpkin I mean castle

Mark the places you want openings, then cut them out. Paint the interior grey, now that you have access. While it’s drying you can make a pennant and flagpole using the tealight as the base, the bamboo skewer as the flag and your favorite Shelton-Mason County Journal image as the flag art.

9. Details- bars

For portcullis verticals, use five full-length round toothpicks. Flip the building over, carefully (you might need tweezers) poke them through both parts of the Styrofoam and glue in place. Cut shorter lengths for the portcullis horizontals and the windows, poke them into both sides of the Styrofoam and glue in.

10. Rock the house

Use an old brush to spread a liberal amount of glue, one side of the structure at a time, then place the rock details on randomly. Follow up by flocking with sand, shaking off the excess. Repeat for the other sides, and for the top tower. Let dry. While it’s drying you can make a quick drawbridge out of five cut down craft sticks and a couple of flat toothpicks.

11. Basecoats

Mix some glue, water and sand into your black paint. Coat the entire exterior in black. Let dry. Next, paint the raised surfaces in grey using the same method. Let dry. Pick out the high spots and paint white. Let dry. Paint the exterior doors brown. Mix brown and green to paint the base around the bottom of the castle – it’s okay to be sloppy and get a bit on the lower rocks for realism. Add details as you see fit.

12. Stained glass pre leading-glazing

With an old brush, paint the inner frames of the window cut outs of the top tower with glue. Carefully place the stained glass windows you made. Hold in place with your fingers, masking tape, or clothespins until dry. Paint glue around the edge of the other side of the window and let dry. Use a detail brush to paint black leading/glazing along the outside edge, and along each color change in the art. Let dry. Turn the tealight on and put it inside.

13. Happy Tree Castle

They say a man’s (or woman’s) home is his (or her) castle. Personalize yours as you see fit. Shown here is the castle along with water and trees from earlier Crafty Time features. In the background is a tower I made previously, along with the archer figures (1/35th scale).

What would you like to see next on Crafty Time? I’m drawing a blank at the moment and I would love to hear from you. Please email your thoughts, ideas and photos to or call the Shelton-Mason County Journal office, 360-426-4412.

Career Fair offered at Castle Amusements
Visitors to Happy Tree often come to enjoy Castle Amusements Park, home of yearlong medieval fair, rides, dining and live theatre. Local workers enjoy several perks, including one free family pass per summer.
Happy Tree Castle Amusements Park, celebrating Crafty Time Day last Friday.
A career fair will be held at the Happy Tree Castle all day Thursday, starting at 8am. Lunch will be provided at noon, with orientation and costume fitting to follow for those hired. Positions include period actors, vendors, cooks and more. –Happy Tree Times