tutorial for making putz house bases

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.

little glitter house

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.

vintage Putz houses

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.

building a base for Putz houses

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.

building a Putz house 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″.

building a Putz house base

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.

building a Putz house base

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.

building a Putz house base

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.

building a Putz house base

Fold along all the scoring lines. Place a little white glue on the inside of the box, where the flap will rest.

building a Putz house base

Clothespins make great clamps for holding the flaps down until the glue dries.

building a Putz house base

When the glue is dry, remove the clothespins and put the top and bottom together to make a box. They should fit snugly.

building a Putz house base

building a Putz house base

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.

building a Putz house base

In this example, I cut the length all at one time, then cut the width.

building a Putz house base

building a Putz house base

After one piece of fill cardboard is cut, place it in the box to see if adjustments need to be made.

building a Putz house base

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.

building a Putz house base

Filled with pieces cut from corrugated cardboard, the base is strong and won’t sag under the weight of a house and embellishments.

building a Putz house base

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.

building a Putz house base

building a Putz house base

Now it’s ready for painting and glittering. Add a fence, if you like.

building a Putz house base

To make this fence, I used a hand-held, diamond-shaped punch.

small fence with posts

If you have some houses already made, you can try different ones until you find one that seems just right.

building a Putz house base

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.

fence with no posts

This is the same style fence, but with posts.

fence 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.

fence with no posts

I have a lot of churches and houses under construction. I’ll be busy making bases for a long time!

under construction

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.

~~Rhonda

13 Comments

  1. Posted February 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Your houses are so beautiful I love them. I have started making my our not as fancy as your. I have a stack needing to be cut out. You can see mine here http://hollydaycloset.blogspot.com/2012/01/cereal-box-to-houses.html
    Holly

  2. Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Holly, thanks for commenting! I checked out your houses. Love the happy colors! You did a great job! ~~Rhonda

  3. Posted March 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Rhonda! They are all so adorable!!! I see that you are making LOTS of Putz houses now. Are they all for Christmas decor at your house, or are you doing other things with them as well? I’ve never seen a Putz house in person, what are the “normal” sizes of the houses. From the sounds of it, they are pretty small??

  4. Posted March 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Kathy, yes, I am making a lot of them right now. I’m hoping to sell them on etsy.com. We shall see how that works out. :)

    Vintage Putz come in all sizes, but the most popular sizes are 3-4 inches tall and 4-5 inches wide. Thereabouts. Of course, new ones are made in all sizes! Depends on what the creator’s personal style is. Currently, I’m making houses that are 1″ to 1 1/2″ deep in the above average heights and widths. Many of the patterns I’ve made are based on pictures of vintage Putz houses.

  5. Posted March 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    WOW! They’re pretty tiny!!! The look so much bigger in the pictures! I’m sure you will do well on Etsy! They are too cute!!!

  6. Taka
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    You’re houses are adorable! Wouldn’t it be easier to use foam core for the bases? A lot less material and strong enough to support the weight of the houses and glues. You could glue a paper strip to cover the edge of the foam core, but still would take almost no time to build.

  7. Sallys
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    My mom threw away all of our litle houses when she found out they were made with asbestos. I am now inspired to make some replacements. The lights we use now are cooler and even have batteries, so they can go anywhere independently. Thanks for the details!!

    (I didn’t know they had such a funny name though, I guess I’m the putz.)

  8. Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Sally, I hope you will give it a try! I would love to see the finished product! ~~Rhonda

  9. Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Taka, I would use foam core for the bases instead of cardboard, if it were free. But I hate to buy something when free materials are at hand. But, yes, it certainly would work, if the edges could be covered. ~~Rhonda

  10. faye Mieczkowski
    Posted January 5, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    where can I buy cardboard to make houses

  11. Posted January 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Faye, I don’t know what stores are available around you, but I buy the white poster board at Wal-Mart. It is not much heavier in weight than the cardboard that makes a cereal box. Any store that sells office or art supplies should have poster board.

    Cereal and cracker boxes, etc., are good (and free) sources for the cardboard needed to make bases and houses. The printed side can be painted if you don’t want the product information to show.

    I do prefer the white poster board, though. It gives a clean surface and comes in sizes large enough that an entire pattern can be cut from one piece.

    I hope that helps! ~~Rhonda

  12. Debbie
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Is there any place you can take a class in making these houses?

    Is there a place on the www you can look to for decorating ideas? My frustration is in finding the trees, glitter, etc. for decorating.

  13. Posted July 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Debbie, I do not know where you could take a class for making little glitter houses. I have never heard of one. The houses are very popular, though, so there may be some classes out there.

    For decorating ideas, I just google “putz houses” or “little glitter houses” and save the pictures that inspire me. Here is my putz house Pinterest board. Maybe you will find some ideas you like there.

    http://www.pinterest.com/reac/putz-little-glitter-houses/

    And this board has links to a lot of online tutorials.

    http://www.pinterest.com/reac/putz-little-glitter-house-tutorials/

    This online site has miniature craft items (like deer and bottle brush trees) that are useful for embellishing putz houses.

    http://factorydirectcraft.com/index.php

    This one has miniature wreaths, though I make my own with pipecleaners.

    http://www.harveyshobbyhut.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=44

    I should put this info into a post!

    I hope that helps! ~~Rhonda

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*