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Treehouse Design + Architecture

{One of our favorite workshops this summer at HANDMAKERY!}

Ooolala… A parent perspective:  
“Jack loved every aspect of Ami’s art class at Handmakery this summer. Randy and I were very impressed with the classroom, materials, special guest visitors, kid’s excitement and motivation about their project, and, of course, the final product. He is so proud of his treehouse! Thanks, Ami. Jack will definitely be returning!!!”    -Juliet  Carbondale | CO

We loved all the creativity and inspiration that came from connecting our aspiring artists with local architects!  We also loved the time these little ones spent designing + planning because it helps the students understand the importance of thinking about and planning their sculpture + it also becomes a second piece of art!  Students were given the freedom to choose what kind of additions they wanted to add to their tree houses- we had hammocks, tire swings, rope ladders, little log hollows, hideaways, woodland creatures….imaginations ran WILD and excitement was abundant!

Local architects volunteered their inspiration in our Treehouse Design + Architecture Workshop pictured above!  Donna Riley from Donna Riley Architect was amazing, as she shared her passion for design and architecture at the beginning of the week + she brought in some of her very own fabulous models!   Then more inspiration as guest architect, Todd Kennedy with CCY Architects, shared models, plans, technology + his own sketchbook full of amazing drawings!!  We were so lucky to have guest architects, Carbondale locals, faces in our community share their expertise!  We all felt VERY inspired!


  • Assorted metal cans for trunk
  • Cardboard circles for levels (2)
  • Flat wood base
  • Wire hangers
  • Recycled paper to create trunk
  • Plaster strips
  • Tempra paint
  • Glue- Elmer’s + low temp hot glue
  • Papers- tissue, colored wax paper, collage papers, foam
  • Details- mosses, baskets, cardboard tubes, rope + sticks for rope ladders, netting for hammock, objects for tire swing, air dry clay for creatures that can be painted, the possibilities are endless!

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  • Invite in local architects, designers- both landscape and interior, builders, + to share models, plans, their passion + inspiration!
  • Preview and discuss examples of real tree houses!
  • Go BIG sketching tree houses and fill with lots of details!
  • Construct using assorted metal cans, cardboard circles for levels and wire hangers that have had the curved end clipped.
  • Use recycled paper to create a trunk base.
  • Plaster strips using warm water and layering, covering the base and middle section.
  • Let dry and paint or collage trunk.
  • Add tissue paper around edges of circle bases using glue and then add colored wax paper over metal hangers at top of tree.
  • Details- mosses, baskets, cardboard tubes, rope + sticks for rope ladders, netting for hammock, objects for tire swing, air dry clay for creatures +mushrooms + flowers  that can be painted, doors, windows, the possibilities are endless!


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NOTE: October 5th, HANDMAKERY will be in downtown Carbondale for Oktoberfest!  Can’t wait!

Ami Maes

Founder + Creative Director

HANDMAKERY: A Children’s Art Studio | Facebook | |

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