This post gives you a new video plus an outline to how I made the fake bark on my two Tree Stump houses pictured below. The one on the left is a wooden dollhouse that I covered in fake bark and the one on the right is a cardboard box that I covered in fake bark. Both are very sturdy and will stand up to regular wear and tear of play.
I've given you the supplies list plus detailed the steps below but please view the video right here, I think it'll be helpful as I give tips along the way that I learned from trial and error.
cardboard boxes or a large can
cheap tin foil *do not get the non-stick kind, that will not work
wide masking tape
paper towel with *no print or pattern* on it. Cascades 100% recycled paper towel works best
paint. Whatever color you want. I used acrylic craft paint in dark brown and nutmeg
*optional* minwax (I used red oak)
if you use minwax then you will also need a matte sealer. I used a spray on and that worked great.
I do go over briefly each step I took to get the box ready for the bark and also briefly how I did the wooden floors. These steps added time that you might not be interested in. If you'd rather skip all the steps and get right to the bark tutorial then fast forward the video to 12:07. Click here to view the video
prepare the box or can. Cut out windows and doors, paint the interior and add in floors. Glue the house to a base. Any size will do just be
sure to make is larger than the house so the *tree roots* will have something to sit on.
add tinfoil to the exterior and shape the tinfoil around all windows and doors, use hot glue to stick it to whatever surface you are applying the tinfoil to. * you can skip this step if desired. it depends on how much texture and depth you want.
cover the tinfoil completely with masking tape.
prepare your paper towel. I tore off a good pile then ripped the pile in 2 to make them an easier size to work with.
prepare the glue and water in a large bowl. Mix the 2 until you have the consistency of pancake batter. You don't want it too runny and you don't want it too thick. You can use flour and water but I prefer glue and water. I don't like the finish of the flour and water when it's dry.
take a piece of paper towel and run it over top the glue and water, one side will be wet. Fold the towel in half, dry sides together and then pull the excess glue and water off. This step will saturate both sides of the paper. Unfold the paper and drape it over the surface you want to cover. Make wrinkles in the paper as you lay it and make sure to work out all air bubbles and also over lap the edges. Do this step over and over until the surface is covered. Let the house completely dry over night or if it's a sunny day let it dry outside. If you used cheap paper towel then most likely a good amount of glue will pool at the bottom as it dries. You should have something to catch this excess such as wax paper.
paint the bark in the color of your choice. Let dry. One solid color will not look good so add highlights with a lighter paint and shadow in the crevices with a darker paint.
If you use a brown you can cover the surface after it's painted with a minwax stain. A stain will fill in all areas that paint will miss. If you use stain then make sure to follow the directions and also seal the stain in with a matte sealer. I used a spray on acrylic matte sealer and that worked just fine. You can add paint after the sealer is on as well.
Bark color takes some work. If you don't like what you see just wait for it to dry and try another paint.
Decorate with fake vines or flowers and enjoy your new home!
My niece also used this newer method to turn an old plain wooden dollhouse into a fairy house. We took stage by stage photos right here and the finished fairy house is here, it's so fantastic!