Kyle Makes A Cardboard Treehouse

Recently I’ve run into this situation several times: I know I’m supposed to make something (because I’ve got to put something up on the blog), but I have no idea what to make. I look at the list of ideas that I keep on hand for such occasions, but none of them really jumps out at me.

So I grab some cardboard, fire up the hot glue gun, and just start messing around.

I ran into this situation again recently. Even after gathering all my supplies, I wasn’t sure what to make. So I got on Pinterest and started looking at stuff that I’d pinned in the past.

One of the things I came across was a post about awesome treehouses. I hadn’t pinned it as something to make… I just thought the treehouses were cool. But when I saw it that day, I thought “I’ll make a cardboard treehouse!”

And so I did.

Typically with a treehouse, you build a house around the tree . Since I was making the whole thing from scratch, I did it the other way around . First, I built the house. Then later, I’d add in the tree.

I wanted to exaggerate the shape of the house to look more wonky, so I made the top of the house wider than the bottom. I started out cutting the basic shape out of a single piece of cardboard.

Next I glued the sides together and started adding details.

To be honest, this part was pretty simple. In fact, the entire thing was pretty simple. People tend to look at the finished product and go “Wow, I have no idea how you would even make something like that!” But in all honesty, it’s just layering things. I cut out a window shape for one side, a door side for the other, and then started adding thin strips of cardboard for the siding. Bit by bit, the whole effect started to come together.

Once I finished the sides, I started working on the tree. I had a big sturdy cardboard tube to use as the base for the tree. Around that I added layers of cardboard to give the tree trunk its shape.

To mask the obvious stair-stepping of the layers, and to give the tree a little more texture, I added strips of wood to give the appearance of rough tree bark.

Next I got to work on the branches. Normally, treehouses are built to accommodate the organic shape of the tree – so it’s not uncommon for a treehouse to have a limb coming out of the wall, or through the roof. I wanted to replicate that, so I started cutting holes in the house and adding limbs out of them.

At this point the tree limbs were just straight cardboard tubes, which looked really unnatural. So I started bending the tree branches and adding offshoots. I also started working on the roof.

As you can see, it looks pretty rough. But the more layers I added, the better the thing looked overall.

After adding the bark texture to all the branches and the shingles to the roof, this thing was looking pretty good. But it needed one more thing to make it feel homey.

A swing!

I really like how this turned out. It may be my favorite cardboard creation so far. Which just goes to show, inspiration is overrated . I didn’t know WHAT I was going to make when I started…. I just knew that I had to make something. So I got to work, started cutting and gluing stuff, and ended up with this.

That said, I’m always looking for more ideas for future cardboard creations. Do you have any good ones? Leave them in the comments below!

P.S. Yesterday I sent out the groundbreaking, historic, first-ever edition of my newsletter. If you missed out, I’ll be sending another one next week! It’s where I share inspiration, tips for makers, and whatever other cool creative stuff I come across. Wanna be on the list? Sign up here . It’s totally free, and totally awesome.

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