Island Designer and Terraforming Unlock Walkthrough | ACNH - Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)


This is a guide for all needed Island Upgrades to unlock the Island Designer app in Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH). Here you can see what upgrades you can make and how to unlock them.

Island Upgrades Walkthrough

This walkthrough explains how to unlock each upgrade for your Island, from each Facility to the Island Designer app. Click one of the links below to jump to a section in the walkthrough.

Walkthrough Chart

Click to Jump Ahead!
1. Unlock the Museum
2. Pay back the first loan (5,000 Miles)
3. Unlock Nook's Cranny
4. Upgrade Resident Services
5. Make the Campsite
6. Raise the Island's Star Rating
7. K.K. Slider's Show and Unlocking Island Designer

How to Use the Island Designer App

Unlocking Island Designer at a Glance

Days 1-6 (Click to Enlarge)

Island DesignerEnlarge

Days 7-12 (Click to Enlarge)

Island Designer 2Enlarge

Completing the first day

This guide will cover the steps you should take after getting your Nook Phone on the first day. Each section will list the required steps, leading up to unlocking the Island Designer. To learn everything you should do when just beginning, see the guide below.

Beginner's Guide to Animal Crossing New Horizons

Build the Museum (1st Day)

Before Unlocking the Museum
  1. Make a Fishing Rod and Net at Resident Services
  2. Hand 5 critters over to Tom Nook
  3. Decide where the museum will be built
  4. Make 15 more donations for an even bigger museum

1. Make a Fishing Rod and Net at Resident Services

Fishing Pole
Once the payback of your first loan begins, the first thing you'll want to do is make a Flimsy Fishing Pole and Flimsy Net. Both of these recipes can be obtained by inspecting the DIY workbench at Resident Services and taking part in the DIY tutorial. Get the recipes for free and make the tools right away.

Both of these tools can be made with 5 branches, which you have probably picked up by now.

How to Get DIY Crafting Recipes | List of Recipes

2. Hand 5 critters over to Tom Nook


What do you receive for each critter you hand over?

Item Number Reward
1st Critter Critterpedia
2nd Critter Flimsy Axe and Wooden Furniture Recipes
3rd Critter Flower Seeds (Random Type)
4th Critter Flimsy Watering Can Recipe
5th Critter Museum Unlocked
After choosing a location, the museum will be open from the next day.

After giving a total of five bugs or fish to Nook, he will call his old friend Blathers, who will then come to the island to set up a pre-museum tent. You will get an item or recipe each time you show him one of these, so first go out and get the five critters you want to show him, and don't sell them!

3. Decide where the museum will be built


The building will be finished the following day

You will need to give five creatures (bugs and fish) to Tom Nook, at which point you will be able to choose the location of the museum. After you do this, Blathers will come to your island on the next day, so start saving up things to donate!

How to Unlock the Museum

The Museum Expands after 15 donations

After Blather's tent is set up and he comes to your island, he will ask you to make 15 donations (bugs/fish/fossils). Upon doing so, he will stop taking donations for that day, and the museum will undergo construction on the next day. On the day after that, the bigger museum will be completed.

Pay off 5,000 Miles (1st Day)

Repaying your loan
  1. Get 5,000 Nook Miles and pay them to Tom Nook

5000 Miles Loan

In return for setting you up on the island, Tom Nook asks for 5,000 Miles as payment. Gathering 5,000 Miles is very easy if you do Mileage Program Activities, so you should be able to do this pretty fast. Press ZL and check activities to see all of the different things you can do to gain miles. Picking weeds, fishing, and catching bugs will help set you on the right path.

Read the guide below for the most effecient methods to gain Miles.

How to Get Nook Miles Fast

Once you finish paying the 5,000 Nook Miles, be sure and ask Tom Nook to upgrade your house right away. This will give you access to Nook Miles exclusive items, which can be purchased from the Nook Stop terminal.

Build Nook's Cranny (2nd Day)

Building Nook's Cranny
  1. Gather 30 of each of the required materials
  2. Decide on where the shop will be built

Nintendo Direct - Nooks Cranny

Gathering Materials

To build Nook's Cranny, you need to gather

and hand them over to Timmy. In order to get these, you will need to hit trees with an axe, and rocks with a shovel (or axe), which will allow you to farm materials once per day. This means that you are also going to need to gather the necessary materials for the tools!

Build a shovel

Tour Rocks.png

Just like in the image above, digging two holes behind you is a way to prevent knockback when hitting the rocks. This will allow you to get all 8 materials from rocks, so we highly recommend first picking up a shovel, allowing you to dig the holes before mining precious materials.

How to Get the Flimsy Shovel | Flimsy Shovel Recipe

Sources of Materials (Can be farmed once per day)

Source of Material Material
Trees (Including Fruit Trees) ・Softwood
(3 of these materials)
Rocks ・Stones
・Iron Nuggets
(8 of these materials)
Very rarely, you will come across a Gold Nugget

Decide on a location

Nooks Cranny Construction.jpg

After you have finally gotten all of the materials from above, you will be able to choose the shop's location. Anywhere open is fine, but since you'll be going there a lot, try and pick a spot near your own house! Talk to Timmy again after to complete the preparations.

To see more details on how to build Nook's Cranny, see the article below.

How to Unlock Nook's Cranny and Upgrade It

Upgrade Resident Services (~8th Day)

Before getting new villagers
  1. Select where you would like the bridge to be built
  2. Choose where the villagers will live, and build their furniture
  3. After more villagers come, Resident Services will be upgraded

Build a Bridge

Bridge Location

To build a Bridge, you first need to talk to Tom Nook after the shop has been built to get the Bridge Construction Kit.

After you get the DIY recipe, you need to gather these materials:

After you've made the kit, you need to find a place to build the Bridge use the kit from your inventory to place it.

How to Build a Bridge

Make Furniture for the Housing Kits

Housing Kit Furniture

After you've placed the bridge (it doesn't need to have been built), you can get 3 Housing Kits and the DIY recipes needed to make their Interior and Exterior Furniture.

Once you've placed the Housing Kit, you can check which items you need for the house to be built.

Note 1: After building all 3, you get 50x Simple Wooden Fencing.

Note 2: You need all 3 residents to move in to upgrade Resident Services.

Note 3: Only one resident will move in per day, so you will need to wait at least 3 days.

How to Get Furniture and Materials for House Kits

Example of Needed Items

The DIY recipes you get depends on the fruits and flowers on your island, but here's an example of what the Housing Kits require.

Plot 1 Housing Kit
Interior Items Pear Wardrobe
Pear Bed
Exterior Items Hay Bed
Swinging Bench

The Furniture needed for Housing Kit 1 would change depending on your local fruit.

Plot 2 Housing Kit
Interior Items Wooden-Block Stereo
Wooden-Block Table
Tulip Wreath
Exterior Items Natural Garden Chair
Natural Garden Table

The Flower Wreath needed for Housing Kit 2 will use the flowers growing on top of the cliffs on your island, so you'll need to make the Ladder to get them. You get the recipe for the Ladder when you get asked to place the Housing Kits.

How to Climb Cliffs

Plot 3 Housing Kit
Interior Items Wooden Simple Bed
Wooden Chair
Classic Pitcher
Exterior Items Log Garden Lounge
Log Stool
Water Pump

New Villagers will come to the Island

New Resident.jpg

In the days following the setup of the Housing Kits, new Villagers will come to the island each day, culminating in the upgrade of Resident Services.

First day One new Villager will move in
Second day A second new Villager will move in
Third day A third new Villager will move in
Fourth day The construction of the new Resident Services building will begin
Fifth day The new Resident Services building will open

At this point, the player will need to wait for the completion of this process to continue with upgrading the island. You can continue with other quests in the meantime, such as paying off your house loans and upgrading your house. Otherwise, it's possible to skip this process by changing the in-game Date and Time.

How to Change the Date and Time

Resident Services will be Upgraded

Resident Services Upgrade

After all 3 new residents move in, Nook will announce that the Resident Services will be upgraded from a tent to a building.

The day after, the building will be under construction and you'll be unable to enter, but the day after that, the Resident Services will open for business!

See our guide below for what services become available after you uprade the Resident Services.

What Can You Do At Resident Services?

Make the Campsite (~10th Day)


How to Build the Campsite

  1. Make the Campsite Construction Kit
  2. Place the Campsite
  3. Animals will start visiting
  4. Invite an Animal to live on your island
  5. Talk to Tom Nook for a new Housing Kit
  6. Place the Housing Kit

After expanding Resident Services, you'll be able to set a goal of raising the island's star rating in order to bring in K.K. Slider, a famous musician, for a live performance. First, you'll need to gather the required materials to build a campsite.

Where to find KK Slider

Materials needed to build the campsite

Required Materials/Amount
Wood IconWood (15) Softwood IconSoftwood (15) Hardwood IconHardwood (15) Iron Nugget IconIron Nugget (15)

Invite Visitors to Stay!

A day after building the campsite, a visitor will come by to check it out. Talk to them and invite them to live on the island, then speak with Tom Nook about building their house.

The following day, that visitor will come to live on your island, so at least a day will need to pass before moving onto the next step.

How to Make the Campsite and How to Use an amiibo

Raise the Island's Star Rating (~11th Day)

How to Raise the Island's Star Rating

Requirement Best Method
1. Reach 8 Villagers Invite more Villagers to your island
2. Increase the number of Facilities Open the Museum and the Tailor Shop
3. Improve the scenery Place fencing and furniture
4. Improve the natural beauty Plant fruits trees and flowers
5. Make the island beautiful Clean up the weeds and garbage
6. Add landscape developments Build bridges and slopes around the island

The items above will help you increase your star rating. The exact amount of how many of these things you need to do is a bit tough to say, but putting in the effort to get each of these done should be enough for a 3-Star evaluation.

How to Raise Your Island's Star Rating

Increasing the number of villagers

Invite to Island.jpg

The first step is to make sure you have a total of 8 Villagers. Including yourself, there should already be 6 Villagers on the island, so adding just 2 more Villagers will reach the goal.

To add the final 2 Villagers, you'll need to talk to Tom Nook and select Let's talk about infrastructure. -> Sell land. This will allow you to purchase a new Housing Kit to set up anywhere on the island for 10,000 Bells. Fronting this cash might seem like a hassle, but as you'll receive 1,000 Miles as a reward when a new Villager moves in, it's well worth it. Note that unlike the first 3 Housing Kits, you won't need to gather Furniture for any future Housing Kits.

If you've already got a ton of Nook Miles, you could also just try going on Mystery Tours and inviting the visitors you find there.

How to Get More Villagers

Increase the number of facilities


In order to raise the ranking of the island, it's absolutely necessary to have all of the Facilities built. Be sure that you haven't missed out on building the Museum and Able Sisters Tailor Shop up to this point. If you are unsure of how to unlock these facilites, see the links below.

Improve the Scenery


By placing fencing and furniture around the island, you can add to the scenery. It's difficult to define exactly what constitutes an improvement, but from our experiments, simply placing the 50 pieces of Simple wooden fencing which Tom Nook gives you for free, and around 10 pieces of Furniture around the island, was sufficient to reach a 3-Star Rating.

Improve the Natural Beauty


Increasing the number of flowers and fruit trees on your island will add to its natural beauty. If you don't have friends to give you the fruit you don't already have, we recommend going on a Mystery Tour to collect some!

Mystery Island Tours and Nook Miles Ticket Guide

Make the Island Beautiful


Pick up trash and pluck weeds to restore your island's beauty. If you're fond of Time Travel (changing the date), you may find Weeds growing around the island after skipping far into the future. It might take a while, but it's time to overcome your reservations and pluck those weeds like there's no tomorrow.

Add Landscape Developments


By building bridges or slopes, you can further develop your island. You can request Tom Nook to make these structures at Resident Services, but keep in mind that they come at a high price. When focusing on these improvements, be sure to save up money while you complete other activities.

How to Get Bells (Money) Fast

K.K. Slider's Show and Unlocking Island Designer

K.K. Slider Show

If you raise the reputation of the island, you will be able host K.K. Slider's show.

  1. Raise the island image to ★★★☆☆ and talk to Isabelle
  2. A message from K.K. Slider will arrive
  3. The day after, you will be able to host K.K. Slider shows
  4. After hosting the first show, K.K. Slider shows will be held every Saturday

Achieve an Island Ranking of 3 Stars

After reaching a Star Rating of 3 Stars, a message will arrive from K.K. Slider, and he will do a live performance sometime after the next day. After hosting the first show, K.K. Slider shows will be held every Saturday.

Where to find KK Slider and Request Songs

Get Island Designer after the Credits

While listening to K.K. Slider's performance, the credits will roll, and this is, in a sense, the end of the New Horizons story. After the credits end, you will be able to get the Island Designer app, allowing you to make big changes to the island's landscape.

Related Links


All Tips & Tricks

Beginner Guides
Beginner's Guide to Animal Crossing New Horizons Unchangeable Features
Choosing a Hemisphere Best Island Layouts
What Should You Choose to Bring to the Island? Picking an Island Name
Best Tent Location How to Cross the River and Water
How to Get Furniture and Materials for House Kits How to Climb Cliffs
Gameplay Basics
What Happens When You Eat Fruit? How to Get Rid of a Bee Sting
What Happens When You Faint? When Does a New Day Start?
How to Use the Camera How to Use the Rescue Service
How to Add Best Friends How to Get the Nook Shopping App
Wind and Weather -
Tips and Tricks
Things to Do Every Day All Island Shops and Facilities Upgrades
New Horizons 100% Checklist Time Traveling Guide
How to Increase Inventory Space How to Get Presents from Balloons
Max Villagers and How to Get New Villagers to Move In How to Kick Out Villagers
How to Get Specific Villagers You Want How to Raise Your Island's Star Rating
Infinite Tarantula Island Art Guide | List of Artworks and Fakes
List of All K.K. Slider Songs -
Money, Miles and Shopping
Nook Mileage Program Activities & Rewards List Nook Miles+ Challenges and Rewards
Nook Stop Explained Spending Nook Miles
How to Get Nook Miles Fast How to Make Money Bags (Bell Bags)
How to Get Bells (Money) Fast Money Rock and How to Hit the Rock 8 Times
How to Grow Money Trees from Glowing Spots How to Get Bank Interest
Should You Use the Drop-Off Box? How to Get the Royal Crown
House and Storage
How to Pay Off Your Loan and Upgrade Your Tent and House How to Move Your House
How to Store Furniture and Other Items Designing Your House - How to Use Storage and Decorating Mode
How to Raise Your Happy Home Academy (HHA) Rank Feng Shui Color and Effect Guide
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches | Catching Cockroaches How to Get Moving Wallpaper
How to Get Moving Flooring List of Roof Colors
Reimagine Your Character
How To Make A Passport | Passport Title List Changing Hair and Face
How to Get / Fix Bedhead -
Reshape Your Island
How Close Can You Plant Trees? How to Chop Wood and Pull Up Trees
How to Get Palm Trees on Your Island How to Build a Bridge
How to Build Slopes, Stairs and Inclines How to Break Rocks
How to Change the Island Tune How to Use Island Designer
List of NookPhone Apps Mystery Island Tour and Nook Miles Ticket Guide
How to Unlock Reactions How to Send Letters and Postcards
Wish on a Shooting Star to Get Star Fragments Lost Item Guide
Party Play | Playing on One Switch Online Play
What Can You Do Online? -
System Info
System Requirements List of Controls
Maintenance | How to Fix an Error How to Delete Save Data
How to Add or Delete Players Can You Transfer Data From Pocket Camp?
amiibo Compatibility NookLink Features
The Language Setting How to Pre-Load


7 Anonymous2 months

i missed the dream suite, and the fortune teller, even crazy redd. will they not be here in the game?

6 Anonymous2 months

>>5 I should say it wouldn't matter, unless you're a stickler for order and you want to segregate. But then again, that's just me, we play according to our own.

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