I started by cutting bamboo skewers in half to use as my support sticks

Gathering a bundle of 5 stick together, I wrapped a thin piece of masking tape around one end.

Gently pulling apart the sticks at the opposite end caused the sticks to spiral at the tape joint

I found a small container to help me keep the sticks open & in a roundy shape, then I added drops of super glue to the crevices at the top.

After it dried, it looked a little something like this:

I repeated that process 5 more times for a total of 6 teepees

For the bases, I took some old CDs and primed them brown

In a small bag, I mixed up some insides of tea bags, sand, rocks & static grass. As I rolled it around in the bag to mix it up, the static grass starting forming it's own clumps.

I covered the bases with glue then sprinkled on the mix -- those grass clumps actually stuck quite well. I half expected them to roll off, but they're doing good.

For the hides covering the teepee, I used some cloth-like paper towel (Viva brand) cut to size

First, I removed the tape from the stick joints, painted them and then wrapped the joint with sewing thread. After soaking the paper towel in watered down PVA glue, I realized what I should have from the beginning: paper towel will expand when wet. :-P

So I had to go back and trim the hides anyway, but it worked out in the end.

For the hide color, I started with a flat tan color

Then dry brushed a much lighter tan, using a circular motion to keep it looking organic

Finally, I took a dark brown and randomly drew in lines for the hide seams

I sewed on a few extra details; this would have been easier if I had a shorter needle.

I finished off the teepees themselves with painted on decoration

I thought the teepees looked odd with nothing else around it, so I took some more paper towel and splotched on some sepia wash, rolled it up, and added some more sewing thread.

I also made some pots out of oven bake Sculpey, then painted them up:

Then added these extras to the bases

For some stand a lone extras for this village, I made a couple hide stretchers by making a wooden frame. To help with making right angles, I used some building blocks to rest against.

A few 45 degree angles with make the frames free standing

The hides were made from the same paper towel, except ripped instead of clean cut, then painted in much the same way as the teepees

Attaching the hide to the frame was a little tricky. I had to hold the hide in the vague center of the frame between 2 fingers on one hand, and then broke out my needle & thread again to poke through the hide and wrapping it around the frame.
I added some drops of CA glue every now & then to help keep the thread in place as I went along.

Lastly, I put together a fire pit. I started by gluing down a circle of rocks. I painted a lot of black on the inner sides of the stones to look sooty.

Then I took some pieces of a stick from the yard & attached it for the fire wood. Again, I sponged on some black paint to make them look burnt.

For the fire, I got some crystal clear silicone caulk and mixed up some with a transparent yellow, some with a transparent orange, and some with transparent red. Grabbing random gobs of the colors, I dabbed them onto the logs & lifted up creating peaks.

On the down side, the weight of the caulk while it was still wet caused all my peaks to sag & fall and left me with a lame looking blob monster

So I took a stick & refreshed my peaks, and then propped up the fire pit upside down on some paint bottles to keep it's shape as it cured

By the time morning came, the fire was happy & solid in an upright position

Here's some pictures of all the final pieces together


  1. Amazing detail on the tepee hides! You're a master mini painter.