Things You'll Need
- Castle design
- Balsa wood
- Circular saw
- Enamel paint
- Casting resin
Castles are majestic and often shrouded in mystery. The world of kings and queens and knights in shining armor has fascinated little girls and boys, and even many adults, for generations. With a little patience, and artistic imagination, you can build a toy castle that will transport your child to another time and place.
Cut a square block of wood for the base of your castle. Use a power circular saw. The wood block can be as big as you like, so long as you have plenty of room to build your castle and landscape on it. The thickness should be about 2 inches. The base will provide the surface for your castle and landscape, as well as make it easy for you to move the finished castle and landscape anywhere you want. Paint the wooden block a very dark brownish green. This will make it easier to blend your landscape to the base later.
Use photographs of a castle or purchase blueprints for a miniature from a hobby shop or online. You will use these to help you build your castle accurately. Study the plans and gather the materials you'll need. Find a comfortable workspace with plenty of room for your tools and materials.
Cut the basic pieces of your castle from balsa wood. It's lightweight enough to move easily but sturdy enough to hold together. Draw templates for the basic pieces of your castle onto plywood and use a handsaw to cut the pieces. Cut the pieces based on your drawings or blueprints, making adjustments as you go. You can use household objects or scrap pieces of junk to achieve the various-shaped abutments.
Build a hill on the wooden base. Use resin or clay to construct the hill. Give it a rough shape and texture. Make sure the top of the hill is wide enough to support your castle. Put notches into the hill to match the bottom of your main walls. Fill the notches with epoxy and seat the main walls of your castle into the mountain. Finish the mountain by giving it a realistic coat of green and brown paints. Add miniature shrubbery and hand-painted rocks made from clay to enhance the effect.
Build the interior of your castle next. Use plaster for the floor, leaving the surface rough. You can use plaster and a combination of gray and black paints to give the effect of a stone floor and rough stone walls. If you'd rather have a fancier castle, finish the walls with strips of stained, polished wood.
Finish the outside of your castle with paint and plaster to create the stone look. Fashion a drawbridge out of a scrap piece of wood, stain and paint it to achieve a weathered effect, and attach it to the front of the castle with two lengths of chain. An old necklace is perfect for the chains.
Compose your surrounding landscape. This is done with a combination of gray, black, green, and brown paints. You can add miniature shrubbery to strengthen the realism of the landscape's appearance. Plaster and paint will make mounds of stone. Create realistic water with a combination of clear casting resin and enamel paint. You'll want to find detailed instructions for using casting resin. It's expensive and can be dangerous to work with, but the final effect is stunning. You can buy the resin at hobby shops or online. The important thing is to use your imagination. Building a toy castle will put a smile on your child's face and bring you a sense of accomplishment as well.
Casting resin is toxic. Use with adult supervision.
Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.