Dreaming of a Tree House

   by Andrew Prekker for Build A Dream (2014)

I'll explain how I built my project by taking each component in my creation, and explaining how I made it from start to finish.

The waterfall.
Supplies: Elmer's glue, blue Window Effects glue, hot glue, paint, wire, Styrofoam rod, sea sponge, triple thick glaze, and plastic shrink wrap.
I took an empty milk carton, and squeezed strips of Elmer's glue, and a blue Window Effects glue (on the carton), to create the waterfall. When the glue was done drying, I peeled it off the carton, and hot glued aluminum wire on the back. I then stuck the wires from the waterfall into the base of the island. Once the waterfall was firmly in place, I used scrap pieces of the Styrofoam rod, the sea sponge, and some plastic shrink wrap, to create the cascading mist on the waterfall. I glazed the river top part of the waterfall to give it a shiny watery look.

The tree house.
Supplies: tempered hardboard, nylon thread, wire, paint, pen ink, Krazy glue, hot glue, square basswood dowels, wooden mannequin, mannequin's box, canvas board, Mystery Build box, liquid coffee, and the contest rules pamphlet.
Starting with the wooden mannequin's box packaging, I cut the box into two square parts, to create the houses on the tree house, and then painted them brown. I created support beams by cutting the wooden dowels and gluing them into the larger tree house. The roofs of the buildings were built using the corners of the Mystery Build box, and the shingles were made out of the contest rules pamphlet. The canvas board was used as the flooring in the inside of the larger tree house. Using an electric table saw, I cut the tempered hardboard into the shape of the deck, and cut a square hole for the ladder. The fencing on the deck was created by Krazy gluing wire onto the hardboard, and then wrapping and gluing the thread around the wires. I then created a moving telescope using the wooden mannequin's leg, arm, hot glue, and metallic paint.

The tree.
Supplies: Styrofoam rod, Van Aken clay, wire, hot glue, paint, packing peanuts, cardstock paper, scrap paper.
The tree's trunk was made out of the Styrofoam rod, and covered in Van Aken modeling clay. (and painting the clay brown). I made the branches of the tree by sticking wire into the Styrofoam rod, and covering the wire in the modeling clay. The leaves were built by cutting paper and scrap paper (from the box, canvas board, etc.) into squares, painting them, and gluing them onto packing peanuts. I then stuck the covered peanuts onto the wires of the tree branches.

The island.
Supplies: Van Aken clay, Van Gogh ear, Mystery Build box, canvas cloth, wire mesh, packing peanuts, plaster cloth wrap, wire, hot glue, Elmer's glue, and the aluminum wire (spool).
I first cut out the top of the island out of the Mystery Build box. Then I threaded packing peanuts through aluminum wire, and hot glued the peanut mounds on the bottom of the cardboard cutout. I also used the wire mesh to help keep the peanut threads in place. I then covered the wire mesh in plaster cloth wrap, and painted the bottom of the island brown. Adding the canvas cloth for a grassy texture, I hot glued the cloth in, and painted it a grassy green. I then put cardboard scraps in a blender, and added water. I blended the cardboard into fine chunks (added brown paint), and squeezed the water out with my hands. The cardboard chunks were still damp so I baked them in the oven for twenty minutes. Once they were baked and dry I blended them again, and created an even finer dirt¯. I used Elmer's glue and covered the plaster cloth bottom of the island, and then added the cardboard dirt. To create the grass, I melted the Van Aken clay and added green paint. While the clay was still soft I put it into a cake icing bag, and used an icing tip that creates a grass texture, and piped the clay on. The tree roots were made out of wire and Van Aken clay.

The staircase.
Supplies: aluminum rod, Van Aken clay, paper, paint, and hot glue.
The staircase was pretty simple, I used the cardstock paper and bent it into stairs. Then I hot glued the paper onto the aluminum rod. Using the Van Aken clay, I filled in the sides of the staircase, and painted everything brown.

The well.
Supplies: paper, paint, marker ink, aluminum wire, Krazy glue, cardboard, nylon thread, hot glue, and the wooden mannequin.
I first glued paper into a circular shape, to make the body of the well. I painted the well gray, and then used a marker to draw the bricks. The roof is made of cardboard, and is held up by wire. The crank handle is also made of wire. The well bucket was cut from the arm of the wooden mannequin, and painted metallic; while the handle of the bucket is made of wire.

The bedroom/cave.
Supplies: canvas board, paint, plaster cloth, canvas cloth, paper, cardboard, ink, hot glue, Krazy glue, tempered hardboard, packing peanuts, and triple thick glaze.
The bedroom was constructed by cutting three walls from the canvas board, using an electric table saw; the floor was also cut, using the tempered hardboard. I hot glued the walls and the floor together. The bed was made by hot gluing two small pieces of the square wooden dowels together, then covered in plaster cloth. The same was done to build the dresser. I then painted the dresser, and added painted canvas cloth to the bed (to make the blanket), along with a plaster cloth pillow. The clock was made by two layers of cardboard, ink, marker, and glaze. The arrows and numbers I painted on with a pin. The skateboard was made with cardboard, hot glue (as the wheels), and paint. The slippers were made from cardboard, paper, paint, and crazy glue. And finally the picture hanging on the wall was simply paper and paint. I then hot glued the bedroom onto the cardboard lake, and used packing peanuts and plaster cloth to create the cave.

The tire swing.
Supplies: nylon thread, paint, Krazy glue, wood disc, and carboard.
The swing was simply made by gluing cardboard to a wooden disc, cutting out a donut shape, painting it all black, and then hanging it by nylon thread.

The fireman's pole.
Supplies: round wood dowel, hot glue, and metallic paint.
The fireman's pole was built out of the round wood dowel, first cut into the right length. Then painted in a silver metallic paint, and hot glued in place.

The ladder.
Supplies: 12¯ x .375 wood dowel, krazy glue, aluminum wire, and paint.
The ladder was built by cutting the wood dowel into fourths horizontally and then Krazy gluing pieces of wire in-between. The ladder was then painted brown.

The bridge.
Supplies: cardboard, paint, aluminum wire, nylon thread, and Krazy glue.
The bridge was made by bending cardboard from the box and hot gluing it to the ground. I then krazy glued wire on top, followed by string. And then painted brown.

The lake:
Supplies: Mystery Build box, paint, and triple thick glaze.
The lake was relatively simple. I cut out a lake shape out of the Mystery Build box, and painted the lake¯ different shades of blue. Once the paint was dry I added bands of hot glue (near the waterfall) to create the ripples in the water, and then glazed the whole lake.

Liquids and glues used:
Krazy glue, hot glue, Elmer's glue, spray-on glue, window effects glue, coffee, water, paint, ink, marker, pen, spray-on metallic paint, and triple thick glaze.

Each year for the Mystery Build contest, I try to push myself and add a challenge in my project to complete. This year I decided to add some sort of 'gravity defying' element in my creation. And since this year's theme was 'Build a Dream' I immediately knew it would be easy to incorporate this challenge.
My inspiration came from a sleeping dream and a literal 'hopes and aspirations' dream. The 'hopes and aspirations' part, is about a boy who hopes of owning a grand tree house, where he can explore, and quench his thirst for adventure. The sleeping dream is represented by the Boy's bedroom, where he wakes up in his dream to a fantasy world; and by the island that seemingly floats over a lake.
Before building my project I first sketched up some ideas I liked, and naturally a story emerged in the process. So hopefully this small story will help you understand my motive and the project some more. So here goes nothing!
This story starts with a little boy, who loves exploring and going on adventures. What he has always wanted, was a tree house, but to his sadness has no way to get one. And so, while eagerly awaiting the day, he dreams of what adventures he could have in store for him. After falling heavily asleep, he awakes in his dream world. No longer does the bedroom door lead out into the hallway, but out of the mouth of a cave; into a dangerous world of adventures. A rickety old wooden staircase teeters perilously close to a raging waterfall, and onto a floating island. And upon a tall tree is the most amazing tree house he has ever hoped for. With a countless number of things to do, he plays for many hours, in the tree house, on the swing, and even in the water. Until the morning comes and he is called back to his bedroom to wake up in reality.