building a putz house

I am back to working on the little Putz houses I have planned for a Christmas display. I’m hoping this post will work as a sort of tutorial for walking you through making your own Putz house, if you are so inclined.

The pattern I am using is from the Little Glitter Houses site. This particular house is called the Peach Cottage Beach House.

origin

The site includes PDF files of printable patterns for the houses. Personally, I like to draw my own, based on theirs, so I can modify a couple of things. Sometimes a scan or print won’t be quite proportionally correct, or, as in this case, I want to add a built in base to the house. This pattern worked as I had modified it, but I later made one more adjustment to the roof, extending the pattern so the roof pieces met at the top of the house. A separate rectangle is cut later and glued to the assembled house to make a roof with an overhang.

This picture shows a master copy which I use to print the pattern I will cut. The masters are all marked “MASTER” in hot pink, which works as a great flag when I’m getting ready to affix the pattern to the card stock. Before I had marked all the masters in pink, I managed to cut one apart and had to redraw it. Bummer.

modified plans

After making a copy of the master pattern, I choose card stock for making the house. It has to have some weight and stiffness, but not so much that it feels like cardboard.

card stock

I adhere the pattern copy to the card stock with a few pieces of tape runner. Tiny pieces. In just a FEW places. They must be peeled apart later, so the fewer pieces of adhesive the better. It doesn’t take much to hold the pattern to the card stock. I prefer this way of cutting the pattern to other methods, such as transferring the pattern to the card stock. Seems easier to me and doesn’t leave any marks on the card stock. However, if your printer/copier will print card stock, you could make a copy right onto the card stock.

affix copy of pattern to card stock

The first thing to do is cut the holes…windows, doors, etc. If cut while the piece is still a whole, the card stock provides a lot of stability and makes the cutting of tiny pieces much easier.

cut out windows, doors, etc.

I use an X-acto knife to cut the pattern.

X-acto knife works great

This little Salem Ruler 4″x4″ acrylic square, available at sewexcited.com, is great for cutting the straight edges. The squares are also available in multiple sizes at most quilt shops. I find the four inch square easy to handle and it doesn’t take up much room on the desk top.

While cutting, of course, I have to hold the square securely with my left hand so it stays in place. For the sake of the picture, I was wielding a camera when this shot was taken.

cut straight edges

A self-healing cutting mat is worth every penny. This 12×18″ gray one is easy to maneuver as needed.

cutting pattern

I use a punch for the small holes in the tops of the chimney caps.

chimney top

This Putz house requires three window frames. After cutting the first one from the main pattern, I use the same pattern piece to cut the other two. I trace around it onto scraps of card stock, then *carefully* cut them using the X-acto knife and the acrylic square. The square helps keep everything straight. Be careful…slips can result in cuts of things other than card stock…like the tips of fingers, for instance…BTDT. Picture me with my left index finger clamped in my mouth, calling, “Wussew, I cud my fingew!” Thankfully, a bandaid took care of it.

window frames

Everything is cut and the pieces are ready to score.

all pattern pieces are cut

I find little disposable paper cups handy when crafting. I mix paint in them, as well as using them to corral all the little pieces of a pattern until I need them.

keeping track of all the little bits

To score the fold lines (dashed lines), I turn the X-acto knife over and use the back of the blade, again, holding the ruler down securely with my left hand. Some of you will have scoring tools for this job. I don’t have one, and this works fine for me.

score the pattern

If you look carefully at the chimney piece in the foreground, you can see the score lines. This piece will be folded on each line and the end pieces will be glued together.

scored chimney pattern

After all the pieces have been cut and scored, I discard the paper pattern. I can make more copies from the master as needed for other projects.

ready to fold

Crease all the fold lines. Now it’s time to glue the house together. I like to start at the base and work my way up. The roof pieces did not extend to the top of the roof on the original pattern. Which didn’t really matter as a rectangle is cut for the roof and glued to the top of the house so the roof has overhanging edges. But I modified the master pattern to make the roof meet at the top next time.

glued and ready to paint

The rectangle for the roof measures 5.5 inches by 2.5 inches. The porch roof is 1 inch x 2.5 inches, which is quite a bit smaller than the one called for on the original pattern on the Little Glitter Houses web site. I found it too large, so cut it down. Both roof pieces should be scored so they fold in half across the width.

Before adhering the roof to the house, paint the edges of the underside. I mix the paint half ‘n half with white glue. It’s a lot easier to paint this now than it is when adhered to the house.

paint on underside of roof

While the paint is wet, add the glitter.

applying glitter

I like to pour the glitter over a piece of paper. It’s easy to pick it up and funnel the leftovers back into the bottle.

underside of roof glittered

By the way, this is the glitter I am using for this project, though you can use any that you find appealing. I do have some vintage style glass glitter, but don’t want to use it as these houses may be handled by children.

glitter for Putz houses

Martha Stewart’s “carrara marble coarse glitter.” It says coarse, but it’s a rather fine glitter. It makes a beautiful sparkle on the Putz houses.

glitter for Putz houses

I paint and glitter the house one side at a time. I don’t wait for it to dry between sides. I’m just careful with handling.

paint and glitter the house

I took this picture without a flash so you could perhaps see the texture that the glitter gives the paint.

glitter gives the house texture as well as sparkle

I paint the window and door frames and the chimney in contrasting colors to the house. A pair of fine, needle-nosed, craft tweezers work great for moving these little bits of framing around. I found a pair on amazon.com and really like the way they work. Can’t do without them, now.

painted and glittered window frames, chimney, etc.

When gluing the door and window frames to the house, I put a little glue on the back of the frame and also around the window on the house. Let the glue set for a minute, then stick them together. The porch steps are made of foam core.

front steps and porch roof

This post is way too long. I’ll write another one in a few days to show how I make the base for the house. I’ll add some embellishments, too…maybe one of the little bottle brush trees my dear friend Mary sent to me. Aren’t they perfect?

little trees for my Putz houses

Here are links to some of my other tutorials for making Putz houses.

Making bases for Putz houses

Making fences for Putz houses

Making fence posts for Putz houses

Making Putz house ornaments from Christmas cards

~~Rhonda :)

20 Comments

  1. Posted December 11, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    good morning…a friend sent me the link to your blog…wow!…someone is actually using my patterns!…you’re doing a great job, too!…keep it up!…

    my very best regards…

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…

    Howard Leroy Lamey

  2. Posted December 11, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    ~Rhonda,

    Thanks for publishing these photos – don’t feel like your article’s too long, it will encourage the next person to try. Do you mind if Howard and I link to this article from our respective web pages?

    Have a “grace-filled” Christmas and a very Happy New Year,

    Paul Race
    http://www.BigIndoorTrains.com
    http://www.FamilyChristmasOnline.com

  3. Posted January 4, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    I wish I would have had the pattern for the houses in October…I will be ready now though for 2010..Thank you very much for sharing and all your work making it easy
    Nancy

  4. Janet
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    What a great posting!! I have wanted to try to make these for several years after purchasing several at a Christmas store in our area that were very costly. Your instructions and photos are so very well written and NOT too long. I bought my card stock yesterday to give me a project during the long, hot summer and already have my patterns from Paul Race where I discovered you. Thank you, thank you.

  5. Laura Barnes
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I recently found three patterns for putz houses on the Victoria Magazine website. They were quite easy to make and I made two for Halloween and used dimensional stickers for decoration and mounted on a piece of cardboar and put it under a glass cloche. I love them and like to look at them. Can’t wait for the grandchildren’s reaction to seeing my work. I used cardboard from a box had tried the cardboard from cereal box before with the patterns from which you used.

  6. Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Laura, thanks for letting me know about the Harvest House pattern on the Victoria Magazine website. Here’s the link for those of you who might like to give it a try. ~~Rhonda

    http://www.victoriamag.com/content.aspx?id=14113 Link no longer works. If anyone has the link for the Victoria Magazine Harvest House putz patterns, please let me know. I was unable to find it. (Dec. 13, 2014)

  7. Linda
    Posted November 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Thanx for the great tutorial! You instructions are very clear and user friendly.

  8. Posted November 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Such a wonderful tutorial, Rhonda. Thank You! (It looks like so much work to have put the tutorial together). I can’t wait to try paper houses this year.

  9. Beth
    Posted December 13, 2011 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much! I’ve been wanting to make these for such a long time, remembering them fondly from my Grandmother’s house years ago. Your directions and photos make the prospect seem very easy – and fun – to do!

  10. Posted May 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Do you have directions on how to make dormers?

  11. Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Trish, I apologize for not replying sooner. We haven’t had internet access for four days. Trouble with our provider. But I’m back! Thanks for a great question. I plan to put together a tutorial for dormers tomorrow. It may take me a few days to get it finished and loaded, but keep watching! ~~Rhonda :)

  12. Carol Pierce
    Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I have just been introduced to Putz houses! I’ve never seen them before and I am interested in making one. I have NO talent that does not involve cooking. These house are wonderful!!

  13. kim anderson
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    wonderful directions cant wait to try this. i am just starting putz houses am looking for patterns thanks kim

  14. Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Kim, thanks for leaving a comment. I hope you enjoy building Putz houses as much as I do. Here are my Pinterest Putz boards that you might enjoy.

    Putz house links to tutorials and some patterns:
    http://pinterest.com/reac/putz-little-glitter-house-tutorials/

    Pictures of Putz houses that appeal to me:
    http://pinterest.com/reac/putz-little-glitter-houses/

    I hope you enjoy perusing them. ~~Rhonda :)

  15. mama cindy
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Your directions and pictures are wonderful! I can’t wait to get started! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  16. robert
    Posted December 9, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Where can I purchase these prints just started making them

  17. Posted May 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    I have wanted to do these for a long tie, but until now, neverhelp others can give us. found a tutorial that I could follow. Thank you for all your efforts. Some of us need all the

  18. Posted May 4, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I have wanted to do these for a long tie, but until now, never found a tutorial I could follow. Thank you for all your efforts. Some of us need all the help others can provide.

  19. Sherrie Bratchee
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed these instructions. I always wondered where I could find some because the houses are hard to find. I remember
    these from my childhood.

  20. Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Sherrie, thank you for leaving a comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the post about making little glitter houses. They do bring back sweet memories, don’t they! ~~Rhonda

6 Trackbacks

  1. By ~~Rhonda on November 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    [...] Putz houses, also called “glitter houses,” are little houses that make up a Christmas village. Popular from the 1920s on, they can be made from cardboard, card stock, and even old Christmas cards. [...]

  2. By little glitter houses | Christmas Notebook on August 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

    [...] Click this link to see my tutorial for making a little glitter / putz house. [...]

  3. [...] A very simple model, but that’s the best way to start out when you’re crafting your first one. Here’s a link to a tutorial post on making little glitter houses. [...]

  4. [...] christmasnotebook.com via Bastelfrau on [...]

  5. [...] Christmas Notebook — A step by step guide to building a traditional putz house from a pattern [...]

  6. [...] friend Marsha Jane came to see me on Saturday. We built some Putz houses, talked about our high school graduating class (40th reunion last year), looked at grade school and [...]

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