Though I’m not a parent myself, I hear all the time from friends that are parents that making your children happy is the most important thing in the world. Parents will go to the ends if the Earth to produce a smile on their child’s face. Well that is just what this one dad did, and I’d say it worked out pretty well. He decided that he wanted to go about renovating his little girl’s room. He wanted to make something that would be every little girl’s dream room. Once you see what he did, I think you’ll agree that he absolutely crushed it. He took an ordinary room and turned it into a magical place for his daughter to spend her free time. Her friends are definitely going to be seriously jealous of this one of a kind room. This guy deserves a dad of the year award for pulling off this masterpiece.
This is his daughter’s room before he started his work. Needless to say it’s pretty plain, and she was definitely not happy with it. She wouldn’t even pose for the picture!
Dad started out by sketching out what he wanted the tree to look like. As you can see, there is a big hole in the trunk for sitting and relaxing. I would be excited just from this picture!
He took some sculpting clay and made a scale model of the entire room, with the tree added to it. He baked the model in the oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit to harden the sculpture up. He also drew 1 inch grid lines along the floor.
He knew he was going to be working in here for months, so he set up a make shift work bench. Two simple saw horses and a piece of plywood did the job.
He drew lines on the floor that corresponded with the 1 inch lines he drew on the scale model. These help guide him to where the branches of the tree needed to go.
Drawing the silhouette on the wall came after that. This helped the process as the dad was able to attach the steel rebar directly to the lines on the wall.
3/8″ rebar from Home Depot and 1/8″ steel rod scraps were used to the make the frame of the tree. The dad over engineered the frame to be able to support three full-grown adults, even though it would only be used by children. He would stand on different parts of the frame while working to test the strength.
These metal rings will help form the shape of the branches. It was a pretty simple process. Insert one end of the metal into the vice, and pull down to add a curve. The process is repeated until a full circle is formed.
With the recommendation from his welding instructor, dad went out and bought a Miller 211 MIG welder for its ease of use. He put up a 30″ industrial fan in the window to suck the smoke out while he was working, he also wore a welding respirator.
With no idea how to weld, the man went and found a welding instructor who was offering classes for a few hundred dollars. This was a must for completing this project. He said the experience was extremely worth the money that was spent.
A close up of the steel skeleton frame for the tree. Dad fully admits that these are amateur welds, but they get the job done.
The skeleton of the tree is almost finished at this point. The creator says that he spent too much time making the skeleton absolutely perfect, which added quite a bit of time to the whole project. At this point he had about 100-120 hours into the build.
Dad attempted to use 1/4″ wire screen, but they were unsuccessful. So he switched things up and used expanded metal lathe instead. He also tried to use wire to attach the expanded metal lathe to the skeleton, that also proved problematic. He tried using zip ties which were much faster and easier to use than wire.
He thought that wrapping the branches in the skin would be a simple task, it proved difficult however.
Someone looks like she approves of the progress so far. This is nothing compared to how happy she will be with the finished product.
The builder wanted to install fairy windows and door, and have them light up. So he pre-wired the lights using 12V fiberglass waterproof landscaping lights. The tape covering the lights was the protect them from the concrete phase.
The mix that the dad used to create this concrete was 2 parts Portland Cement, 1 part water and 1 part polymer fluid. He also added 2oz of 1″ fiberglass shred to his mix. He applied to concrete with a trowel, just like you would during stucco application. Using silicone bark rollers and sculpting tools helped give the concrete the fine detail he wanted from the bark.
After several failed attempts to get the concrete mix to stick to the branches, the creator decided to go a different route. He came to the decision to use paper mache on the branches. When layered multiple times, it becomes a very strong and lightweight material. It is also very easy to apply.
The project is ready for painting! The dad had very little experience painting, so he just went with what he felt would look good. He had about 225 hours into the project by this point. This little girl better like this thing!
He started with a very dark coat of brown paint.
Small bottles of colored ink were $10 a piece, and dad didn’t really want to spend more than he had too. He had a pretty damn good idea to use Rit clothing dye. He bought a whole bunch for just $20! After mixing it with water, he had plenty of colors to choose from. He simply used a paintbrush to fill in the crevices of the tree.
Dad would take the kids on walks, and take pictures of trees on the way as a reference for the colors needed to make the tree look authentic.
To make the bark look even more authentic, he took dark ink washes and used them over the lighter ones. He then dry brushed over that when the paint had dried to give the bark a more crusty look.
Now it was time to paint the actual room. After spending so much time on that tree, this had to be a nice change of pace.
This is the rough blending of paint before the glazing was done.
Next, it was time to install the hardwood floors. The creator used a good insulating underlayment because his daughter’s room is above a part of the house that does not get much heat.
At the beginning of this project, the dad had drawn this line on the sub floor as a marker for where to cut the hardwood. The plan is to put squishy green carpet in front of the tree instead of the hardwood.
These retrofit doorknobs allow you to use stem knobs in standard holes.
Cutting the fairy windows came next. A little girls room wouldn’t be complete without a few of these.
To create the look of old glass, dad used a water-color paper.
Using water-color paint helped add the dirty brown look to the windows. When the light shows through the window, it will look dark and homey.
Deep set receptacle boxes were put into the wall so the transformers would fit right behind the switches. The transformers are each attached to a window light.
One of the fairy windows all hooked up. It looks great!
Using a Dremmel tool, he carved the details of the door into the wood, then just wood stained over the top.
It really does look like a fairy might walk out of this door any second.
Silk branches were used as the base layer of foliage.
More foliage and flowers were added after the base layer of foliage was applied.
Dad clipped off plastic fern branches to make sprigs for the branches of the tree.
There are 5 bird nests scattered throughout the tree, this one is the biggest.
Hand blown glass decorations were placed throughout the tree as well.
Even friendly butterflies make an appearance. This is going to be a dream bedroom for this little girl.
6 series of 50 standard Christmas lights were strung up through the branches. This place looks amazing!
The finished product. This place has been completely transformed from a very bland room into an incredible hangout spot!
This dad did an incredible job. Though this project took longer than any I would ever want to do.
I’d say she looks pretty happy in her new digs.
When this project was all said and done, the cost totaled to about $4,250 including the room renovations. The whole project took around 350 hours spread out over 18 months. That is seriously long time to spend renovating a room. When the end result is the happy look on your daughters face however, I don’t think he would trade that for anything.