This is what the tree house in the magazine looks like.
It was pretty time consuming to print out, tape together and cut out the templates before tracing them on to cardboard and then cutting those all out, but in the end the project was worth it. We also realized pretty quickly that we couldn't just make one for Iris so we planned to cut out enough tree house pieces to make one for Eloise, as well. As luck would have it, our nine year old neighbor girl showed up at our door looking for something to do just as I started cutting out the cardboard, so we had an extra pair of hands to help.
Since no one in our family is known for their patience, the girls decided pretty quickly not to painstakingly paint the canopy green, or paint anything else for that matter. A few scribbles with the crayons and markers did the trick. They also drew designs on to the cardboard as well as specific decorations for each floor, depending on what was intended to use that space. Iris included some "carpeting" on hers, which you can see in the second picture (the first two photos are hers).
You may notice that I added some late reinforcements to both of the tree houses. I missed a step in the process, which was to add the reinforcement strips right away. Oops.
These next two are photos of Eloise's tree house. The blue tape is supposed to be a rope, I think because we didn't have the paper towel tubes to make the "stairs" that the pattern called for. We also didn't put a wall in on the base level or a base at all (because I was too lazy).
I had suggested gluing things like shells, glass baubles, or small rocks to them as well as making cool furniture out of cardboard or sticks, but so far we haven't done so. Hmmm. Maybe I should have made myself one of these?
The other thing I did differently from the plan is I used a hot glue gun and really reinforced every slit where the pieces fit together. The hot glue worked really well, though that made it pretty much impossible for the girls to glue them themselves. I am happy to let them use the glue gun, but the danger factor combined with needing to work fast and sometimes precisely made it a job a bit too tough for small hands.
From the start of printing the patterns to the end of gluing the cardboard pieces together I would say it took about three hours (for two tree houses). Not a quick project, but certainly a fun one! The bonus was that although I chose to buy new, clean bardboard boxes (for just under $5 total) this project could be done for next to nothing. Free if you already have glue, cardboard and ink in your printer (which I ran out of).