Tropical Themed Family Crafts: make the journey

Magnetic Island, Queensland

IslandCabanaCraft is taking a short break


Note from shop owner Hello from Clare in the tropics.
I'm taking a short break. Stay safe.

Note from shop owner

Last updated on 24 Nov, 2020

Hello from Clare in the tropics.
I'm taking a short break. Stay safe.


Contact shop owner



Average item review
5 out of 5 stars

About IslandCabanaCraft

Sales 85
On Etsy since 2018

Tiny tropical island adventures- make the journey!

If you could, would you take your family for a walk along a tropical island beach? We live on that island, on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, where we make tropical theme miniature crafts to bring you here; any cold, rainy day you like.

We know the heart- sink of stepping over a floor full of unloved toys. Kids do love to collect things;why not channel them away from unimaginative, cold-hard plastic, and encourage their instinct to gather natural objects and play with them? And it needn't be expensive. Our craft kits fire the imagination.

Then there’s the problem of too much screen time- yours, too! The addiction…It’s great for kids to have play dates; and couples to have date nights. But we think families should have play nights.

We don't make toys . Our tiny houses and accessories blend today's fine IT graphics with analogue indoor and outdoor play and craft. Sure, they have educational benefits: improving concentration, three dimensional thinking, fine motor control, manual dexterity and task co-operation. But mostly? They’re just fun. We follow sustainable principles and let nature tell the story. We forage, beachcomb, sew and craft small items in wood and mosaics. And we love to show you the tropical plants and wildlife inspiring our crafts. We've created a miniature world to warm winters around the world. Just add imagination!

Who are we?
I’m Clare Hayler, and this is my uber-talented husband, Maurice Hayler. In 2014 we moved from the sprawling city of Sydney to tiny tropical Magnetic Island. It’s full of creative people. We have a small island school and a vibrant, intergenerational community which has totally framed our vision for Island Cabana. There’s one thing we know for sure: kids are never happier than when they’re playing with people they love. This means you: parents and grandparents; aunts and uncles; brothers, sisters and close family friends.
I had a possibly mis-spent youth as a doctor working with families and in medical education. I maybe should have gone to art school like my brother. Anyway, I’m now compulsively creative. Maurice transitioned from a career as an architect to specialising in graphics. We love living and working together in paradise, injecting joy into Island Cabana.

Our island creations
During our tourist season we have a small craft market on the beach: this is where we began designing our range, talking to families for feedback. I gradually built up a stash of found treasures from nature; from the beach, the bush, and our own garden (a collection of drought- defying palms and eucalypts.) We live in the dry tropics, so there is a dry “winter” when nature can be harvested and preserved. (Unlike the wet tropics where it rains all year round). We began to build our range of of kits that would make up into unique tropical dollhouses and accessories.
It’s not all about beachcombing and bushwalks and sewing and woodworking. A lot of time is spent designing and producing the original computer graphics that underpin our work. Our first craft series was our Dollhouse- in- a- Shoebox Series, where great graphics transform your throw-away box into a treasured island playhouse. Then we developed our flat-pack tent series, made from cotton and wood. There’s a wonderful lack of formality in the tropics- including a lack of walls! But a playhouse needs some sense of enclosure, so we craft our tents with a flexible footprint. You can set one up as a compact single-room tabletop in your apartment. Or open it right up to add additional rooms for expansive outdoor play. All possible with exactly the same tent.
I love to create exquisite miniature accessories from the island, and you’ll always find something new and exciting. But I also want you to think from the ground up- literally. Wherever you live in the world, you’ll find something quirky to furnish your playhouse and make it your own. Don’t just think washed beach glass jewels or the nuts and twigs of fairy houses. Squashed and rusted bottle tops from car parks decorate our safari tents as barrels, totems, on mirrors and pirate-inspired décor. (Sterilized, as you'd expect with my background). Be inspired by the lifestyle photos we create for you in our listings.
And, we craft in the international children’s playscale (1:16-18), so the completed craft is compatible with all the stuff kids already have: collectable superheroes, Sylvanian Families, Calico Critters, Le Toy Van, Lundby, etc. You can craft and play the same day.
You don’t have to wait until your next annual holiday to play in the tropics with your kids. Visit Island Cabana!

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on 04 May, 2018
Frequently asked questions
Custom and personalised orders

We are not currently offering custom orders on items. All our work is produced in small batches and we will post in advance each new release. If you like something but it's sold out, you're welcome to convo us for an estimate of when it might be back in stock.

Sizing details

We make a variety of items . They're handmade so the sizing may vary slightly . Please look at the photos and read our listings right through. We go to a lot of trouble to professionally photograph and describe the production process so you have a good idea of what you’re buying. The only surprise you should get is a happy one!

Care instructions

We make unique craft items intended for family- time construction and supervised play. They are not toys intended for rough/ unsupervised play and should never be purchased for children under three years as our work contains small parts.
We’re aiming to take kids to a place of no plastic; of found objects and exotic themes. We don’t want them to be disappointed by breakages, so please take care to select items suited to your family’s level of play. We give guidelines with each listing to help you here. We're a whole lot tougher than cheap plastic, but if you do have a breakage you should be able to fix it with common household bonding glues.

Gift wrapping and packaging

We live and work on the Great Barrier Reef and we have a commitment to sustainability.
Our dry tropical climate allows us harvest and preserve some materials which would otherwise go to green waste.
We also upcycle many found objects into our work. Everything is cleaned then sterilized by exposure to extreme level natural UV radiation- the dry tropical sun. We then apply a preservative/fixative before packaging our work for protection before the wet season arrives.
To safely travel the world our works need to be carefully packaged for you but we are conscious of reducing our footprint. We use recycled materials whenever possible. So if you receive pages from our local telephone book or newspapers enjoy the read!