I have had a few questions about making bases for the little glitter houses, so I decided to post a tutorial explaining how I do it. Here is an example of a house I made on a base. This is actually a model of the house my son and DDIL lived in before they moved. At the time, I didn’t know they’d be moving the following year, so am glad I made this house and gave it to my DDIL for Christmas.
Here are three vintage houses that the above DDIL gave me for Christmas one year. You can see that two of them have bases that are about 1/2″ tall. The white house has a flat piece of cardboard with a very simple fence as its base.
The bases for my little glitter houses are made from thin, not corrugated, cardboard. I use poster board, cardboard from cracker/cereal boxes, cardboard sheets from packaging (like those that sometimes come in new shirts or bed linens), greeting cards, etc., to make boxes for the bases.
Before you start, decide how large your base should be. I find 4×6 to be a good size for many of the houses I make, but if a Putz house is very small or extra large, the base may need to be adjusted in size to fit. An easy way to do this is to set the building on a piece of paper, arranging the trees and embellishments you want to use. Keep in mind that you may want to put a fence around part or all of the base.
Mark the size for the finished base. Remove the building and the embellishments. Measure the size of the base. Add 1″ to the length and to the width for the 1/2″ sides of the base. On this particular base, the length measured 6 7/8″. I rounded up to 7″.
Cut two pieces of cardboard the size of the finished base, plus an additional one inch on the length and the width of each piece. Trim about 1/32 of an inch off one long side and one short side of one of the pieces. This will be the bottom of the box that will make up the base. The thicker the cardboard, the larger this sliver needs to be. Cutting the bottom of the box a bit smaller insures the top of the box will fit over the bottom.
Score a line 1/2″ from the edge of each side of both pieces of cardboard. I use the back of my X-Acto knife to do the scoring, but you can use anything you have on hand that will do the job.
When the scoring is done, cut into the cardboard pieces on the long sides, just to the other scoring line. This creates flaps for the box.
Fold along all the scoring lines. Place a little white glue on the inside of the box, where the flap will rest.
Clothespins make great clamps for holding the flaps down until the glue dries.
When the glue is dry, remove the clothespins and put the top and bottom together to make a box. They should fit snugly.
I fill the base with corrugated cardboard from shipping boxes to make it strong and to give the house more stability. Use the bottom of the box to determine the size of the cardboard fillers. Measure the cardboard just a bit smaller than the box bottom.
In this example, I cut the length all at one time, then cut the width.
After one piece of fill cardboard is cut, place it in the box to see if adjustments need to be made.
Layer fill cardboard until it comes to the top of the sides. For a box with 1/2″ sides, I find four pieces cut from a box like an amazon.com shipping box to be just the right height to fill the base. A little glue between each layer doesn’t hurt. If the cardboard is a bit short in one direction, alternate the pieces to meet one end, then the other, as they are layered.
Filled with pieces cut from corrugated cardboard, the base is strong and won’t sag under the weight of a house and embellishments.
There will be a gap between the sides of the top of the box and the bottom. Draw a line of glue in there and hold the side tight until the glue holds it without gaping. If you like, you can bind the box with large rubber bands to hold everything together until dry.
Now it’s ready for painting and glittering. Add a fence, if you like.
To make this fence, I used a hand-held, diamond-shaped punch.
If you have some houses already made, you can try different ones until you find one that seems just right.
To make this fence with no posts, I used a hand-held, rectangular-shaped punch. I cut the cardboard 1/2″ wide, then drew a pencil line 1/8″ from the edge as a guide for placing the punch. Next time, I’m using thinner cardboard. This was hard to punch.
This is the same style fence, but with posts.
This fence was cut from thin cardboard, using a wavy patterned scissor. I cut the cardboard 1/2″ wide, then trimmed the edge. Worked great.
I have a lot of churches and houses under construction. I’ll be busy making bases for a long time!
Fencing and other details are the stuff of other posts. I’ll try to get to that soon.
If you have any questions about constructing bases for your Putz or little glitter houses, please ask. I’m happy to help if I can.
Here are links to some of my other tutorials for making Putz houses.