My son is a huge fan of tunnels and one of his favourite Thomas episodes has a haunted mine in it, so I decided to us that as the basis for the first playset I built for him.
Again, I used basswood on this project because it is cheap, easy to work with, light and is safe for little hands.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Band saw, Scroll saw, Jig saw or Coping Saw
Sandpaper (100 or 120 grit is fine)
Drafting Compass (or something round with a 2" diameter)
Basswood 28" x 4 1/2" x 1/2"
Acrylic Paint and Varnish
Fine Sharpie Marker
Brown Paper bag
Step 2: Layout and Cutting
I then used the scrap offcuts to make a small sign and more rocks and trees to decorate the haunted mine tunnel.
Then give everything a good sanding and you are ready to paint.
Step 3: Painting and Finishing
At this point I glued all of the cave layers using a light even coat of glue and clamping them together for about 20 minutes.
For painting, I started by giving the bottom and entire interior of the cave 2 coats of black paint, then applied a light gray coat to all of the 'rock". Next I used a very dry brush with a tiny bit of darker gray paint on it and dabbed it along the bottom edge and in all the nooks and crannies.
Then using the toothbrush, I splattered the whole thing with very watered down white, medium gray and black paint. After the splatter layer has dried, apply two more coats of varnish, giving a paper bag polish in between. (Don't shake your varnish, roll it on a table to mix it... shaking it will give you bubbles in your finish)
Lastly, I glued on the Trees, sign and other details, clamped lightly using scrap wood to protect the finish and let it dry overnight.
It has been a month in the tender hands of a toddler, and even with daily use (and the dropping and the banging that accompanies belonging to a 3 year old) it has held up surprisingly well. In total this project cost around $5 in stock and about 3 hours of time, so a pretty decent investment.