- Ideas & How-Tos
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These indestructible houses, buildings and trees can be built in a day and provide years of playtime fun - indoors or out.
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Set a miter saw to cut 45-degree angles and mark centerlines at the ends of a 4"x4". Make cuts to form the roofs of the houses. Then cut the houses at 90 degrees 6" from the peaks of the roofs.
From the remaining 4"x4", cut 10" and 12" lengths to make the other buildings. Sand all the blocks with 120-grit sandpaper to soften any sharp edges and smooth the surfaces.
To keep your hands away from the blade, avoid cutting short stock on your miter saw. If you want to make several houses, cut 12" sections of 4"x4", make 45-degree cuts to form the roofs, and then cut the 12" piece in half.
Use painter's tape to mask off the roof. Then cut and apply squares of tape evenly spaced and stacked to create the windows. Add a longer piece to form the door. Spray-paint the main house color and let dry. (You can also use a brush-on exterior latex if you have leftover paint available.)
Peel off the painter's tape. Then apply a tape mask around the bare wood and paint the roof, windows, and door black. Let dry. Repeat for the remaining houses and other buildings.
Cut the 1"x2" pine into 12" lengths for the tree trunks; cut the 1"x6" pine board into 6" lengths for the treetops.
On the 1"x6" pieces, draw diagonal lines between the corners to find the centers. Using a compass, draw a 5-1/4"-diameter circle. Use a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade to cut out the circle shapes for the treetops.
Soften all the faces and edges of both the tree trunks and tops with 120-grit sandpaper. Then glue the trunks to the treetops and hold them in place with two brads as the glue dries.
Mask off the tree trunks with painter's tape, spray the treetops green, and let dry. If you'll "plant" your trees by driving them into the ground instead of resting them on the flat bottom of the trunk, protect the bare wood of the trunks by masking off the treetops and spraying the trunks with a clear finish to protect them and make the ends easier to clean.