A few years ago, I had built a very crude mini-treehouse for my oldest son. I remember him enjoying it so much, I thought I’d revisit the project but refine it a bit. No popsicle sticks in this cleaned-up version!


You will need:
X-acto knife
Foam paintbrush
Acrylic paints (white and colors for dolls)
1 medium-sized (3 3/4″ x 2 3/4″) and 1 small (1 7/8″ x 1 7/8″) kraft boxes with lids
Patterned paper
Twigs and Y-shaped, sturdy branch
Green construction paper
Wooden pegs
Pink colored pencil
Washi tape
Glue gun
Double-sided tape

Step 1: With hacksaw, trim down the Y-shaped branch to form the base of the tree house. I used a couple of pieces of washi tape so my saw cuts were level.

Step 2: Paint branch and twig pieces white and let dry. I propped up an old greeting card to use as a makeshift drying rack for my twigs.

Step 3: Paint the lid of the larger kraft box. Next, paint the outsides of both kraft boxes white. Let dry.

Step 4: Cut patterned paper to size and tape to inside bottom of boxes.

Step 5: Create a hole in the painted box lid. Start by cutting a small cross that’s just a tad smaller in diameter than your branch base. We want the branch to fit snugly in the hole. Next saw out a circle using the tip of the craft knife, connecting the ends of the cross/cuts, then test if the branch fits into the hole nicely.

Step 6: Glue the branch base to the bottom of the larger kraft box (bottom right photo below). Be liberal with the hot glue even though I went sparingly for these photos. You want the treehouse to be able to withstand play! I actually applied a very thick second and third layer of glue after I took these photos.

Step 7: Insert the branch into the base by twisting in (the fit should be somewhat tight). Turn lid over and apply hot glue where the end of the branch and underside of box lid meet. Again, you want to be pretty liberal with the amount of glue so that you form a sturdy base. When the glue is halfway set (should still be soft, but cool to the touch) turn base over upright and adjust the branch so that the first “level” of the treehouse is straight and parallel to your work surface. You’ll have to hold it in this position for a couple of minutes until the glue firmly sets.

Step 7: Saw off a smaller piece of twig and glue to the smaller box. When set, attach to the top of the first box, creating a second level of the treehouse.

Step 8: Attach various painted twigs to the outside of the boxes to build up the tree.

Step 9 (optional): If you want to go the extra mile, cut out some tiny leaves. Crease in half by folding against the edge of a table or ruler. Then glue on to tree.

My doll-making skills (if you can even call it that!) are pretty laughable, but these three guys were easy to whip up. Acrylic paints were used for the hair, eyes, and bodies. I used just a pink colored pencil for the cheeks and drew on the smiles. I didn’t dare attempt those tiniest-of-tiny details with a paintbrush!

I built the treehouse about a week ago and my son hasn’t tired of it yet. Success!