Animal Crossing: New Horizons – How to unlock everything and other helpful hints

Where are my tools? How do I emote? When the heck will Tom Nook open up that new building!?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons sparks a lot of questions that it doesn’t do a great job to answer.

That’s what we are here for! Here are some of the most common questions asked about progress in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

How do I upgrade my inventory space?

You have to buy inventory space with Nook Miles from the Nook Stop. You can buy one at the beginning of the game, shortly after the stop becomes available, and it costs 5000 Nook Miles. You can buy the second after the Resident Services tent becomes a Resident Services building and it costs 8000 miles. Each upgrade expands your pocket inventory space by four.

How do I make complex designs?

Buy the Pro Editor at the Nook Stop for 800 miles. It will let you create designs in the editor that have a higher overall pixel resolution.

How do I open a museum?

Give Tom Nook five creatures and he will call Blathers, the Owl to come to your island. You’ll have to choose where his tent goes and then wait a day for it to open. If you cannot make progress in this quest, note that some quests can only be completed by the primary account holder on your Switch.

Once he has set up shop, give him another 15 unique critters or fossils and he will offer to upgrade his tent to a museum, which once again will take a few days to build.

How do I increase the space of my house?

House size upgrades, including extra rooms, are always locked behind Tom Nook’s loan debt. Each time you pay him off, you can ask him to take out another loan to begin construction on your house. After which you will have to wait a day before the space expands.

How do I get stone, clay, iron nuggets, and gold nuggets?

These resources are dropped from rocks around your and other’s island. They will drop when you hit them with an axe or a shovel, and more will drop the quicker you strike. To best harvest resources, stand at the corner of a rock. Then dig one hole to each side of you, facing away from the rock. These holes will prevent you from moving back when striking, allowing you to harvest eight rock resources at once.

How do I remove rocks?

Eat a fruit before you strike a rock and it will crumble, leaving a single solitary resource behind. This cuts you off from a source of resources but might be necessary if a rock is in the way of an important structure. Rocks will regenerate in a few days, popping up in random spots on your island.

How do I unlock the fishing rod and net?

You will obtain recipes for the fishing rod and net after you complete Tom Nook’s DIY tutorial. You can then buy them from the shop or craft them yourself.

How do I unlock the slingshot?

The slingshot recipe is purchasable in the shop after you obtain your first tools. It costs 300 bells.

How do I unlock the axe?

The flimsy axe recipe is unlocked after you give at least two creatures to Tom Nook during the open the museum quest.

How do I unlock the watering can?

The flimsy watering can recipe is unlocked after you give at least two creatures to Tom Nook during the open the museum quest. You’ll also get some flower seeds.

How do I unlock the shovel and vaulting pole?

Once Blathers has moved into your island, speak to him and he will reward you with the recipe for the flimsy shovel. Start digging up those fossils!

He will also give you the recipe for the vaulting pole. This will let you cross rivers and has infinite uses, unlike your other tools.

How do I unlock the ladder?

The ladder is actually a “late game” tool, that requires you to complete several quests. You will need to progress through Tom Nook’s tasks until you are eventually asked to build your first bridge. This happens after you invite three villagers to live at your island. You can find other villagers are mystery islands.

Tom Nook will say one of the recipes needed to build these villagers new homes will require flowers which bloom at higher elevations on your island. He will give you the ladder recipe which will let you scale cliffs.

A note about traversal

It’s a bit annoying to constantly have to go into your inventory and switch to a vaulting pole or ladder whenever you want to traverse to new parts of your island. If you want to expedite the process, drop poles or ladders near common traversal points. You can pike them up, use them, and put them down again making them makeshift bridges or inclines.

How do I upgrade my tools?

Once you have paid off your first debt to Tom Nook you can buy recipes for better tools in the Nook Stop for 3000 miles. These tools all last longer, and some have extra benefits, like extra range on the upgraded net, the ability to water multiple flowers at once with the upgraded watering can, and the ability to chop down trees with the metal axe.

How do I unlock the quick swap tool ring?

After you pay off your initial debt, you can buy it in the Nook Stop for 800 miles.

How do I chop down trees?

As I said before, chopping down trees can be done with a metal axe. Doing so will leave a stump behind, and in fact this is the only reason you should ever chop down a tree. Stumps are needed for certain types of bugs to show up.

Otherwise, you should dig up trees. Eat a fruit and equip your shovel. Then dig right in. The tree will come up whole, and you can plant it somewhere else or even sell it. This makes you a bit of extra money, making it the most worthwhile tree removal option.

How do I grow trees?

Dig a hole and drop either a tree sapling or a fruit in it and in a few days a new tree will bloom. Note, that there needs to be space on all sides of a growing tree for it to reach full size, so don’t pack them too tightly together.

Why aren’t my villagers’ new houses being built?

There are two possibilities here. First of all, when Tom Nook asks you to build three houses by kitting them out with furniture, you need to be sure you haven’t put your outdoor furniture too far away from the core house. In addition, you have to check the order lists for furniture after you have submitted all three internal and external items to get the go ahead for a villager to move in. Finally, you need to have all three of these houses ready before even one villager will move in. They will move in one at a time during the following days.

How do I unlock Nook Miles +?

The micro-goals of Nook Miles + are unlocked after you pay off your initial debt to Tom Nook for 5000 Nook Miles.

How do I unlock new hairstyles and colors?

After you pay off your initial debt to Tom Nook, you can buy these in the Nook Stop for 3000 miles each.

How do I open up the item shop?

To open up Nook’s Cranny, speak to Timmy after paying off your initial debt to Tom Nook. He will ask for 30 pieces of each type of wood and 30 iron nuggets. Give them to him, choose a place for the store, and it will open in a couple days.

How do I open the clothing shop?

After you build Nook’s Cranny, Mable will start showing up to randomly sell you clothes. If you buy at least 5000 bells worth of clothes and then talk to her on the nest day she is available, she will give you a kit to open up the tailors. Choose where it goes and it will open in a few days.

How do I build bridges and inclines?

After you have built your initial bridge, invited three villagers to your island, and upgraded Resident Services, Tom Nook will help you build bridges and inclines over the island. You can only have one construction project open at once and they all cost several hundred thousand bells, but anyone on the island can donate to make construction go faster.

How do I move buildings around?

This is another service that Tom Nook offers after you upgrade Resident Services into a building.

How do I change the music?

Same as above.

When does Isabelle move in?

Same as above… again.

How do I unlock terraforming?

To unlock terraforming you have to “beat the game” i.e., get to the end of the main quest line. To do this, you need to upgrade Resident Services into a building and talk to Tom Nook and Isabelle. You will hatch a plan to get K.K. Slider to perform a concert at your island.

To do this you will need an island rating of at least three stars. To up your island rating, ask Isabelle for advice and do whatever she says. You will need to invite at least seven villagers to move in, plant a ton of trees and flowers, and produce a lot of outdoor furniture to effectively raise your island rating. Once you hit three stars you can have the concert and once it is done, you will unlock terraforming. You can unlock new terraforming patterns and capabilities in the Nook Stop. Also, you will have completed all the quests the game has to offer! Now it’s your island to do what you want with.

How do I go to Photopia?

Every so often, Harvey will visit your island. Talk to him and he will invite you over to his island. This island is Photopia, basically a sandbox to let you take whatever pictures you want.

How do I avoid getting stung by wasps?

Run away and enter any building. Then the wasps will scatter. You can also run away and switch to your net to try and catch them, but this is risky.

How do I find tarantula island?

When visiting mystery islands, there is a chance you will happen upon tarantula island which, you guessed it, is swarming with tarantulas. Each one you catch is worth a pretty penny on the market, but get bit once and you’ll be sent back home.

How do I emote?

To emote, or react, you need to learn reactions. To do so, talk with your villagers every day as you complete your quests. Eventually, one will run up to you and gift you reactions as a reward. You can then emote by pressing the right trigger.

How do I craft medicine?

Talk to a villager after getting stung by wasps. Then they will teach you the medicine recipe which will save you a few bells when you get stung in the future.

How do I get more recipes?

You can unlock more DIY recipes in many ways. Some you can just buy at the Nook Stop or item shop. Some you will find in message bottles which spawn on your island once a day. Some will be found in presents you shoot down from balloon packages. Finally, if you find a villager is working at their own DIY stop, talk to them and they will give you the recipe for whatever they were crafting.

That’s all the tips we have for you today. If you have any other questions you need to ask, leave them below in the comments.