Few weeks back a friend added me to a gardening facebook group. I am fascinated by the miniature gardens that members in the group shared. I decided that I will make one but I was not able find the right miniature accessories. Yes! a miniature tree house, I couldn't find one. So I decided to get my hands dirty.
Tree houses are something I was fascinated with since my childhood. It was always a dream a own a tree house, it still is but I think the miniature version of my dream has become true after I made this bonsai tree house project.
so my dear fellas, today I will show you how to make a Bonsai Mini Lighted Rustic Tree House with rustic things like twigs.
P.S : Check out the Video in the last step to see lights.
Step 2: Meterial Required
I will be honest the possibilities of creating such a mini tree house using so many things are virtually unlimited. I have made my version using the material available to me.
To make my version of the mini tree house, you would need the following items:
- A bonsai tree: I don't know how to make a bonsai tree. If you are like me, you don't have to worry. Buy a mini jade plant or elephant bush plant. They are superb alternative to bonsai trees. If you want to know how to propagate and grow them, check out my detailed instructable.
- Lots of wooden twigs. You can find them in your local park or nearby woods.
- A pruning tool.
- Wood Glue & White Craft Glue
- Some Sand (Not Fine but Granular).
- PU Spray or Liquid
- Some Cardboard
- Cutter like X-Acto.
- Some PVS sheet (Optional)
- A small 10mm chisel (Optional)
- A small hand saw (Optional)
- Some LED tea light
- OR 9vBattery, connector, small switch and a compatible LED.
Step 3: Few Important Things Before We Begin
Before I actually started to implement this idea I was sure of one thing that my design should not hurt the plant in any ways and I should be able to easily remove the tree house from the plant when I want for cleaning etc. This project by no means uses actual guidelines or principles of tree house making.
As every bonsai tree has a different shape and structure it is almost impossible to come up with exact measurements for things like length of twigs.
While gluing twigs I cut LAP Joints many times, which requires a chisel to work with.
A half lap joint is one of the frequently used woodworking joints. In a half lap joint, you remove material from each piece so that the resulting joint is the thickness of the thickest piece. Most frequently in half lap joints, the pieces are of the same thickness. You remove half the thickness of each.
I am slowly learning about woodworking and therefore I went a step ahead and using these joints. This project however is a piece of art and is used to decorate your garden or home therefore you may want to keep things simple and glue the sticks as it is.
What all I made
In this project we will make a wooden deck, a wooden hut and a few decorative items. You may want to experiment here and add many other items for example a tree swing.
Lets make some tree house, trust me its simple than making the real one :D
Step 4: Wooden Deck Frame
Our Tree house will be resting on a wooden deck made of twigs. It is very simple to make. See images above and follow (Cutting the lap joint is optional and upto you.):
- Cut 4 twigs using the pruning tool about 5 inches each. I figured that my tree can accommodate only this much.
- Arrange them as square.
- Cut the lap joint on all four twigs (Fine! you are stubborn as I am so go figure how to cut a lap joint using a saw and a chisel :D LOL!)
- Glue the joints to form a square frame.
- Keep some heavy object like a book over the frame and let the bond strengthen for 15-20 mins.
While this frame is getting dried, lets make the support system of the deck, which will be used to secure the deck on the tree branches.
Step 5: Making the Deck Support
Although it is not difficult to find a slingshot shaped twigs but I got really luck and found two. I decided to glue it in the middle of the deck frame so that each side can be secured in the tree branches. You may device your own mechanism of securing the deck but remember what I said about not harming the tree and it should be removable..keep that in mind.
I created a long lap joint on both the twigs, glued them and secured it using binder clips.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that combined length of the twig should be equal to the length of the frame.
A let it dry for about 15-20 mins. Then I again cut lap joints on each sides, close to the end. I glued the support using their lap joints in the middle of the frame.
Let this arrangement dry while we make the house.
Step 6: Making the Cardboard House
I found a very simple pattern on the internet to make a paper house and I used it to make a cardboard one. My house pattern was based on a 2.5 inches of square that means each side of the house is 2.5" long. This size is quite decent for a bonsai tree but if you are feeling creative, who is stopping you to experiment with a different size :).
See images and follow:
Making the house shape
- Draw the pattern on the cardboard.
- Cut the pattern using the cutter.
- Fold and glue the pattern to form a house.
- Wait for 10 minutes for the glue to hold the pattern.
Provide texture to the outer walls using sand
- Apply a layer of glue on a wall and sprinkle sand on the glue generously. Turn over to remove excess sand.
- Repeat it for all 4 sides. Don't apply on the roof.
Ahh.. the things we learn in school are unforgettable and bring back nostalgia, like the sand craft.
Making the wooden roof
- Measure and cut several twigs to match on side of the roof plus a bit longer.
- Apply a layer of glue and place twigs close to each other to cover he roof.
- Repeat for the other side.
- Measure and cut a long twig to match the top roof joint length and glue it.
- I also created a small hole at the back side hoping that I might use it for making some lighting arrangement.
Let the house dry and you may adore your little creation here but we gotta finish the deck before it rains :D
Step 7: Finishing the Deck
The bond of deck support must be quite strong by this time, so it is time to complete the deck by covering it with tiwgs. To do so :
- Measure the length of the gap and cut several twigs of the same size.
- Apply glue over the frame and the support.
- Place twigs as evenly as possible.
- Let the arrangement dry for 15-20 mins. The glue joints are delicate therefore do not move it till the white glue starts appearing dried.
Making the Deck Railings
Cut 5 small pieces of twigs and glue them vertically on the corner of the fence. See the image above. Let it dry for 10 minutes and then cut few more twigs to match the length of one glued twig to another. Glue the twigs horizontally onto the vertical twigs to form a railing. See 5th picture from above.
Making the stairs
What a tree house would be if you can not climb it. so I decided to make some stairs using twigs and lap joints.
- Pick two long twigs, check to see if they are long enough to touch the ground from the deck.
- Create about 4-5 lap joint cuts and glue tiny pieces of twigs onto joints.
- Make two such stairs. Why??? Well we shall place one stair on deck should you want to climb higher to watch the sunset :)
Now the construction phase is over, lets get the finishing touches done.
Step 8: Finishing
I sprayed the PU liquid on to deck, house and the stairs and let it dry for 30 minutes (It depends on the type of PU liquid used). This step will protect the tree house from moisture or accidental water sprays.
Once everything is tried, cut small square pieces of pvc plastic sheet and glue them from inside to cover the windows and door. Let it dry for few minutes.
The kind of twigs I found had tiny dots over them and they look really beautiful after the PU spray.
Now that hard part is over it, its time to put everything together and move the tree house on to the tree.
Step 9: Placing the Tree House
Carefully place the deck on to the branches of tree such that the two v shaped support gets secured. Make sure that the deck is well balanced.
Now place the house on to desk. NOTE: I preferred not to glue the house onto deck so that I can put some light inside the house but it is totally upto you.
Place one of the stairs on to the ground and the other one on the deck.
Now you may adore your little creation. Notice the details.
I decided to stop at this moment for any further decoration but you may experiment with store bough fairy house accessories.
Now the optional but my favourite part, let it glow :)
Step 10: Light Up the House
There are several possibilities to light the house. I chose the very simple options, lets say I was on a budget :).
Remember the LED tea light I mentioned in the material list, I just placed that light inside the house. I can turn it on or off whenever I want.
Check out the video to see the lights in action.
Thank you for your time to read this ible. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did while making it.
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You are awesome.