tutorial / make leafed trees using armatures, part 2

The first part of this tutorial can be found here: tutorial / make leafed model trees using armatures, part 1

Part 1 explained how I use wired tree armatures to make the trunk and branches for Putz house trees. I also make trees from the stems of flowers I use for embellishing Putz houses. That’s a future tutorial.

In Part 2, I will show how I add leaves to summer trees. There are many ways to do this. If you google “trees for model railways,” you will find many videos on making model trees. The process in this post is the way I craft summer trees. I encourage you to take a look at other methods, as well as this one, and find the way that suits your own crafting style.

To make an armature tree, you will need these supplies, also listed in Part 1 of this tutorial.

When I craft a building, embellishment or a tree for putzing, I aim for the “impression” of the item, rather than an exact copy. I have learned it doesn’t have to be exact to be a creative and joyful object. Does it look like a tree without being an exact copy? Yes? We’re good to go! I’m not saying exact copies don’t express someone else’s creative abilities. There are many amazing artists online who make miniature, exact copies of buildings and natural features. You may be one of them. I am astounded when I see what they are creating. I subscribe to some of their feeds and have learned a lot from them. There’s room for everyone’s individual style. My style leans to the impressionistic side. Find your own style by crafting and crafting and crafting. Your personal likes and dislikes will guide you to a form or style that suits you.

I use this landscaping material for summer trees. I get it on Amazon, but it is available in hobby stores and online. It is used for model railway layouts. I have two kinds of landscaping material. This one is made of tiny bits of green material held together with very fine filament.

The product number for the kind I use, is 95064. The other package in the first picture below contains a different material made from sponge. It can’t be stretched over the branches. In the second picture below, the one on the right is made of clumps of sponge material. The sponge material can be pulled apart by hand. It’s great for making shrubs.

Sponge examples / The first example below shows sponge “shrubs” along the back of an autumn house. In the second picture, they are used along the side of a church. I think they make great shrubs. They are easy to pull apart into different shapes and sizes. I do use the sponge for making autumn trees because I haven’t found the stretchy kind in autumn colors. I’ll write a tutorial for autumn trees soon.

I cut a flap on the back of the box. As I work, I can pull out as much foliage material as I need, cutting it from the rest with scissors. This way, I can store the extra material in its packaging. Do not try to pull pieces of this product apart by hand. That exposes the tiny fibers that hold it together and causes extra trimming as you work. The cut piece from the package may be folded on itself. Open it up so it is one layer.

Cut some small shapes. Triangles fit well on the branches. After cutting them, stretch them in different directions to make the material thinner. Check the piece of foliage against the branch to be covered. If it doesn’t fit as it should, it can be bunched up to make it smaller, trimmed with scissors, or stretched a bit to make it larger. It should extend past the tip of the branch. Put hot glue on the part of the branch to be covered. It doesn’t take a lot. I apply foliage by starting at the bottom branches and working my way upto the top of the tree. Cover the tops of the branches before applying foliage to the bottoms of the branches.

My glue picture for the top of the branches was out of focus, so here’s one from the bottom of the branches. Avoid big globs of glue because they will have to be removed if they show when the tree is finished. That’s extra work you can avoid.

As you can see in these pictures, I am covering only the top half to two-thirds of each branch. We’ll fill in later.

Look closely at the first photo below. You will see the tiny filaments that hold the green material together. Don’t pull at them by hand. It will make the problem worse. Trim them with scissors. In the second photo, note the hot glue hairs and the tiny white wad of hot glue. Don’t pull at these either. Use the hot nozzle of the glue gun to melt glue strings. Remove the white wads of hot glue with scissors.

The bottom of the branch is done the same way the tops were done. Cut a small piece, stretch it to fit the space, and glue it to the bottom of the branch so it fits against the piece on top. It will be like a foliage-branch-foliage sandwich.

The branch in the left picture has been covered with foliage. In the right picture, all the branches have been sandwiched with foliage.

Now it’s time to fill in foliage gaps. I decided the branch in the middle needed a filler (first picture). I put the hot glue on the foliage already on the tree and attached a another clump of foliage on top of the glue (second picture).

In this shot, I wanted to cover the bare branch. In the right you can see that I added a clump of foliage to the branch. Check your tree for gaps and fill them as needed.

Another thing I check for are the ends of branches. I like to cover those, too, though leaving a few uncovered can make the tree look more natural. Clumps can be added to the main trunk if it looks too bare.

The next step is to fluff the foliage. I use needle-nose pliers to lightly pluck the tops and bottoms of the foliage. The picture on the right shows the fluffed tree.

The final step is to add the leaf litter. I use clear tacky glue for this step, but white glue works, too. I used white for the tutorial so you can see the glue. Dab the glue on the tops of the foliage. Sprinkle a good cover of tiny leaves over the glue.

Gently pat the leaves into the glue. Turn the tree upside down over a glitter tray or a sheet of paper. Tap the bottom of the cardboard to shake off the excess. Keep covering bare foliage with dabs of glue and the tiny leaves. I don’t glue leaves to the bottom of the branches, but that is certainly fine if it suits you to do so.

The finished tree. The tree can be pried off the cardboard with something flat, like a putty knife or a palette knife. When I attach a tree to the base of a putz house, I leave the tree base intact and cover the spaces between the roots with faux moss. If the parts between the roots are cut from the base, it is harder to make the tree secure. Leaving the tree base intact gives more area to secure the tree to the putz base.

If you have any questions about the process of making a leafed tree, please ask!

If you would like to see more of my Putz houses, as well as Christmas ornaments I have made from upcycled holiday cards, please visit my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

original size, honey yellow and blue, winter putz house

I haven’t made many winter houses lately. It’s fun to get back into that season. I used the same pattern (020824) for this house as the summer one I just finished. I added two windows above the door, and used a long chimney on the left side, rather than a small chimney on the roof.

This summer house was made recently from the same pattern.

The base is made from an upcycled Christmas card, featuring a winter’s eve village. Gold foil highlights the windows on the card. The base measures 6 1/4″ wide by 4 1/8″ deep. The house is 5 1/4″ tall as measured from the bottom of the base to the top of the chimney.

The house has a hole in the back that allows the use of a small LED light string for lighting the Putz.

A tiny snowman greets visitors and a handcrafted wreath hangs on each side of the house.

A puff of smoke is tucked into the chimney, and is easily removed if not needed.

If you would like to see more of my Putz houses, as well as Christmas ornaments I have made from upcycled holiday cards, please visit my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

tutorial / make leafed trees using armatures, part 1

I make leafed trees for summer and autumn putz houses.

To make an armature tree, you will need these supplies:

Armatures come in several sizes. I use the 3″ to 5″ sizes most often, and I purchase them on Amazon. A bag contains 28 armatures. In the picture, the two at the top are from the 3″ to 5″ bag. The two at the bottom are from a bag of 3/4″ to 2″ sizes. This bag contains 117 pieces. The armatures arrive flat, with the base connected. Pull the base off and connect it to the trunk of the tree.

The base and the tree trunk may have a gap.

To reduce the gap, I hold the trunk tightly with the pliers and bang it on the desk top .

If that doesn’t close the gap completely, no worries. We’ll add some hot glue later and that will cover the connection.

At this point, the tree is still flat. By the way, the pliers belonged to my mother for use in her crafting projects. She made floral arrangments and wreaths from dried flowers and seed pods she collected in the countryside. I think of her each time I use them. I know I inherited my creative crafting skills from Mom.

Using the pliers, begin to bend the tree into a pleasing shape. I strive to make the branches, other than the trunk, lie horizontally. That gives a place to lay the greenery. It also makes a better form for lining the branches with snow for winter houses.

NOTE / If making a tree for a particular house, it is helpful to have the house and base at hand. As you bend the armature, set the tree next to the house to decide which is the best way to bend the branches. If the tree sits right up against the house, the branches need to be shaped to fit that space. A tree close to a house will need to be flatter on the back than a tree that has plenty of room all the way around.

Anywhere a branch divides, the stems should be bent apart and moved to a horizontal position.

Bending every branch and twig gives the tree a more natural shape.

The same armature, the view from above. Note how even the larger branches are bent slightly.

At this point, I add some hot glue to form roots. Start about half way between the base and the first branch. Pull to a point at the edge of the base. I cover any gap between the tree and the base. I also use the nozzle to rub hot glue up and down the bottom half of the trunk. It adds texture and interest.

I use hot glue to beef up the spaces between branches on the lower part of the trunk. Get rid of hot glue strands by touching them with the hot nozzle of the glue gun or pick them off after the glue cools.

Using a dab of hot glue, glue the tree to a small scrap of cardboard. This makes the tree easier to handle while painting. Give the tree one coat of paint. Let it dry completely, then add a second coat. The paint I use is a mixture of acrylic paint, paint conditioner and very fine sand. I use it on my Putz houses to produce a vintage style texture. Plain acrylic paint will work fine on the tree, if you don’t want to mix textured paint.

While the second coat of paint is still wet, cover the tree with fine glitter. Of course, you can skip the glitter if you prefer.

Allow the tree to dry completely.

Note the details the hot glue adds. With this method, each tree will be unique.

The tree is ready for adding foliage.

The tutorial for adding foliage to the finished armature can be found here:

tutorial / make leafed trees using armatures, part 2

If you would like to see more of my Putz houses, as well as Christmas ornaments I have made from upcycled holiday cards, please visit my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda  πŸ™‚

summer cottage with a vine

I drew the pattern for this house in February of this year (2024). When I tested the pattern with a paper mockup, I found about five things that needed to be changed. Never skip the mockup on a new pattern!

After adjusting the pattern, I ended up with this house. If I didn’t add a vine, I could add two windows above the front door. Other alternate versions would be to add two chimneys, or make a tall chimney for the left side of the house, deleting the windows on that side. The bumpout could be left off the front for a different version of this pattern. A house can be placed on a foam core foundation, which lifts it enough to add extra steps to the front door. This pattern could have a roof over the front door to make a porch. Use your imagination to make different houses from the same pattern.

Getting started. The house is assembled and ready for landscaping. I use hot glue to assemble my Putz houses.

In progress. I love the new system for organizing my flower embellishments. I was able to pick the boxes I might use and see at a glance what was available for the Putz house. When done, it was easy to sort the leftovers back into the proper boxes and put them back in the flower drawer.

The greeting card used to make the base features a porch swing, pillows and books in shades of blue and yellow. The perfect setting for an early cup of coffee or for book reading on a breezy summer afternoon. Check out my tutorial for making a putz base from a greeting card.

A hole in the back allows the use of a small LED light string for lighting this and other glitter houses in your glitter house village.

I added a vining rose to this house. The yellow roses were so perfect with the yellow of the bumpout on the front of the house. The fence was painted with the same yellow used on the bumpout, but I lightened it with some white to make a slightly paler shade.

The fence is made from wooden coffee stir sticks. Here is a link to my tutorial on making wooden picket fences. Picket fence tutorial

A wide step leads up to the front door.

A puff of smoke is included in case your summer evening turns chilly. It is tucked into the chimney and is easily removed if not needed.

You can see my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda  πŸ™‚

organizing flower supplies

I used the past two days to sort and organize my stock of little flowers. I had previously sorted them by color. There were eight sections. I found that it was good to have them sorted, but the individual colors were too jumbled to use efficiently.

After I started the project, I thought to take a picture. The right half of the drawer shows what it looked like when I just sorted by colors. I had divided the flowers into eight colors, dividing the sections with foam core I cut to fit the drawer. I found, as I worked with them on projects, that I wasted time sorting through a particular color because it was so jumbled. Lots of stuff in plastic bags. Some in little plastic containers, some loose in the section. I decided to make small boxes to sort the flowers into smaller sections.

I made the little boxes from white poster board. I decided to make them 3″ square. I measured the depth of the drawer to see how high the sides of the boxes should be. The drawer is 2.5″ deep. I cut the boxes so they would be 2 1/4″ deep to make sure they would clear the opening.

Once I had all the sections sorted into smaller bits, I sorted them by ROYGBIV. I started at the bottom of the left side with red, moved into pink, then coral, orange, yellow, green (only one box of green!), blue, turquoise, dark blue, then, multi-colored mixes.

I had four boxes of white embellishments and no room in the flower drawer. I have two small drawers above the flower drawer that hold pip stems and larger flowers that I don’t need often. I put the white boxes in the left hand drawer.

I divided the pip stem drawers with boxes I made from foam core with a poster board bottom. I cut them to fit the width snugly so they wouldn’t slide up and down the drawer. I put them together with hot glue. Because I didn’t make enough boxes to fill the drawer, I can move the boxes so I have various size spaces between them.

In this drawer you can see the two sizes of pips I like to use. The top and bottom sections have mini pip stems. Those are my favorite. They are harder to find than the usual size.

I use pip stems to create budding spring trees.

I use these mini pink pips on green stems a lot.

The pip stems also work as spring vines. This one twines over the roof of a spring barn.

They also work well to vine over an Irish cottage.

It took some time to organize, but the effort will be well worth it when I make spring and summer Putz houses. Besides, organizing things is my favorite. Can you tell!?

You can see my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

a new garden

Our previous home had a large yard, with almost four acres to play with. We let a one-acre wooded area grow up in the back. Over the course of 25 years, we planted a lot of trees, shrubs and flowers in the rest of the yard. A favorite activity was “walking the yard” to see what was blooming. Our older son and his family now live in that house. Now they’re the ones walking the yard to keep up with what’s happening.

Here are a few pictures of our previous garden.

Heavy on the daylilies. We collected about 400 different varieties of daylilies over the years. Our favorites were moved to our new home, but we don’t have the amount we had previously.

Hostas were another plant we collected. We have moved many of those to our new home. Native to northeastern Asia, these are a nonnative we plan to keep.

I love Russian sage, but that won’t make the trip from the previous garden. We’ll plant penstemons, blue star, liatris and other native spikey plants instead.

We’ve been in our new home for two and a half years. It’s a brand new start. Part of the half acre yard has very poor soil. It needs some attention. Compost, chips and native plants will be added as we’re able.

We are planning an eco friendly yard, with native trees, shrubs and plants that support native wildlife. We want to support everything from insects and birds to small animals. There are some nonnatives in the yard that we would like to replace with natives. The rule of thumb for native to nonnative ratio in a suburban environment is 70% native and no more than 30% nonnative. The more natives used, the better. I’ve already mentioned some nonnatives that we moved from the previous garden. Included are some “family” plants. My grandmother’s lilac, daffodils from Russell’s family farm, etc. We want to keep those, but most other nonnatives in our current yard will be replaced eventually.

If you’ve researched anything about planting native, you probably know that, if you can plant only one tree in your yard to support wildlife, it should be an oak tree. Oaks support more wildlife than any other native tree. We are blessed with ten large oak trees in our yard. Our home backs onto ten acres of a neighbor’s property that has been planted with many oak trees. We’re off to a good start.

Russell has planted elderberries, hazelnuts, and beautyberry shrubs, and choke cherry, dogwood, and redbud trees. We have a pussy willow and a buttonbush shrub on order.

Last week, we decided where we want a wide pathway for walking the yard. We began putting that together. I took plastic tape off cardboard boxes. Russell spread the boxes on the path and topped them with chips. With that decided, we now have a good idea where flower beds and shrubs should be planted.

We plan to have an open space off the screened porch, but the rest of the backyard, we hope, will eventually be completely planted with native shrubs and flowers, with some foot paths for access.

It’s going to be an adventure! ~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

get ready to celebrate the fourth of july

Here is a sweet little Putz house to celebrate Independence Day! It is listed in my Etsy shop.

All proceeds from my shop support the work of Kenya Mercy Ministries dot org. KMM works with children and their families who live in the largest urban slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

This is pattern 091523. The house features a large tree, a handcrafted, wooden picket fence, an American flag and its own fireworks display! The base measures 6 1/4″ wide by 4 1/2″ deep. The Putz, without the fireworks, is 5″ tall as measured from the bottom of the base to the top of the chimney. With the fireworks it is 9 1/2″ high.

The base is made from an upcycled greeting card, featuring two children with an alpaca and an American flag. So cute!

A hole in the back allows the use of a small LED light string for lighting this and other glitter houses in your glitter house village.

The fireworks fit into clear tubes on the back and are removable for storage. The short tubes are glued to the back. The longer tubes protect the fireworks when they are in storage. When the house is displayed, the long tubes can be stored on the back of the house, by placing them on the fireworks pick. They won’t show from the front.

The yard is enclosed by a white, handcrafted, wooden, picket fence. I make the picket fences from wooden, coffee stir sticks.

A large summer tree shades the front yard. It is made from a tree armature, artificial moss, and tiny leaves. I paint the armature brown and dust it with glitter. When the paint is dry, I add the moss and a sprinkle of tiny leaves.

In the yard, you see the Star-Spangled Banner waving in the breeze. The little round window above the door is covered with a flattened, metal bead cap.

The view from above.

The Independence Day house comes with a puff of smoke, just in case it rains. You know Grandma will say, “Sure!”, when you ask if you can roast your hotdogs in her fireplace.

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing! ~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

has spring found you?

We have been enjoying daffodils and other spring flowers for a month or so. Today DH picked a sprig of lilac for me. A tiny bouquet that smells so good!

We’ve lived in our new home for 2 1/2 years. The yard has a long way to go before we can enjoy the number of spring flowers we had at the previous house. Fortunately, we live only two miles north of the other house, and our older son and his family live there now. They have been bringing over bouquets of spring flowers for me to enjoy. This one includes redbud blossoms (purple), quince (coral), a variety of daffodils and a beautiful pink tulip.

Winston always wants to check out fresh flowers. He sometimes thinks they are a snack for him. This bouquet included various daffodils, honesty plant (purple), lilac, and Virginia bluebells (blue).

Winston and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset last night. This is looking from the window in my craft room.

The color lasted twenty minutes or longer. It was beautiful!

I am currently working on a Fourth of July Putz house. I will post pictures of it in a few days. The little house is done, but the yard needs to be landscaped. And there will be fireworks!

I hope you have a happy and blessed Easter! ~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

craft storage / picket fence supplies

One of my favorite storage systems are small, three-drawer, plastic containers. They work well to contain supplies that are needed only for one particular project. 

These drawers are stored in the island in the middle of the craft room. I can turn in my desk chair, grab a drawer, and turn back to my desk without getting up.

This is the side of the island that faces my desk. The island has been redesigned since I took this picture. I’ll have to take new pictures. I didn’t like the three feet on the end.

The other side faces the counter and drawers at the back of the craft room. I keep things here I don’t need as often as the items on the other side. This side is now filled with cubby baskets.

“Fence Strips” is a drawer that contains items for fences made from poster board strips. I cut strips 11″ long by 3/4″ wide from white poster board. Eleven inches fits my drawer. I draw a line down the middle. When I want a fence, I choose the decorative scissor I want for that putz house and cut the strip evenly along the pencil line. The box on the bottom has strips I’ve cut and some leftover painted strips. Maybe I’ll use them some day. Maybe I won’t. The box is my container. My limit. When the box gets too full, I save my faves and throw the others out. The box on the top, which is the right side of the drawer, has the marked strips, ready for the next fence I need. The scissors are my favorite “fence scissors.” I have other decorative scissors, but these are my fence scissors. Stored at point of use. Always where I need them.

The drawer marked “Post and Board Fence” are supplies for making the kinds of fences that are common on farms. The drawer holds finished fences, popsicle sticks, craft matchsticks, and containers of precut posts.

“Fence Posts, Railroad Tracks, Wood Stars” holds the different kinds of posts I use at the corners and the ends of some fences. Because there’s extra room, it also acquired train tracks and wood stars (not sure why the stars were stored there). The stars were moved to my “diorama ornament” supplies, which is a large drawer under the counter in the craft room. This fence drawer has round and square sticks, different widths, etc. When I need to cut some, I cut enough to have on hand for a while.

NOTE: This is a good place to give you my hint for labeling these drawers. I need to change the title of this drawer, now that the stars are stored elsewhere. I put a sticky note, or a piece of colored paper, on the inside of the drawer and hold it in place with a bit of tape, if needed. The colored paper provides a background that makes the label easy to read. I write with black marker on the front (outside) of the drawer. When the label needs to be changed, I wipe it clean with hand sanitizer and a Mr. Clean eraser. So easy. When dry, the drawer (or a tote or other plastic container) can be given a new name.

The “Picket Fences” drawer is full of completed fences that are waiting for Putz houses that need them. I store these in 7″ by 3″ plastic bags. When making fences, I usually make six sections of each fence style I am constructing. Two sections are usually enough to fence a Putz house.

“Picket Fence Supplies” is just that. Items I need to make more picket fences. I don’t store the tools I use, like wire cutters, glue, etc., in the drawer. Just the items the fence is actually made of. Stir sticks, containers of different kinds of pickets, stacks of cut “boards.”

“Steps and Paths” doesn’t have anything to do with fences, but this last drawer holds the materials I use to make steps and walkways. Balsa wood strips, worn out emory boards I used as sandpaper, cardboard of different thicknesses, etc.

It is so convenient to pull one drawer and take it to my craft desk. I have all the supplies needed for the project I am working on. If I am making new fences, I pull the fence supplies drawer. If I need fence posts, I pull that drawer. When done, the supplies go back into the drawer and the drawer goes back into the drawer container where it belongs. The drawers keep all the supplies contained and cleanup is easy when I’m done with the project. They are neatly stored away till next time they are needed.

It is a relief to me to have everything in a “home.” I know where needed items are. I can reach them easily. I can put them away just as easily. It makes my crafting time much more productive than when I can’t remember where I left a tool or where a particular needed embellishment has been stored. Easy to access storage means I can spend more time on crafting and less time on searching. It’s a work in progress, but it just keeps getting better and better. My sister’s fifth grade teacher said, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, till your good is better and your better’s best.” I’ve never forgotten. Thank you, Miss Varner!

My tutorial for making picket fences can be found here.

Join me on my putzing craft page on Facebook.

You can see my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda πŸ™‚

tutorial / making picket fences for Putz houses / 2024

I have written a few posts about making fences for Putz houses, but as time goes by, experience lends a hand. This post contains instructions for my latest method. I find this method easy and fairly quick, considering it involves many small pieces. I can make a five-inch section of fencing in about twenty minutes. It takes two or three sections to fence a Putz house, depending on the size of the base. I rarely make bases over 4″x6.” Larger bases would require more sections, of course.

Fences can be made in many styles. Search the internet or Pinterest for “picket fence” to see pictures of different kinds of fences. I found inspiration for most of these styles online.

Here are a few pictures of finished Putz houses with picket fences that I made.
I love the style pictured below. Combining two kinds of pickets makes a very interesting fence.

The fence can include fence posts or not. Your choice.

Think outside the box. A fence doesn’t need to enclose the entire putz.
PS, I’ve always thought of this pattern as an old barn that has been renovated into a beautiful home.

This is the greeting card used for the base of the above barn. It inspired my wonky fence.


Supplies you will need to follow this tutorial.

  • Cutting mat, with measurement marks.
  • X-ACTO knife or other craft knife.
  • White glue. I use tacky glue.
  • Syringe with blunt tip needle to apply the glue.
  • Coffee stir sticks.
  • Small wire cutters to cut points on the ends of pickets.
  • Hot glue gun This is my favorite glue gun. I love the cordless feature.
  • Needle-nose tweezers.
  • Palette knife for lifting the glued down fence section from the mat. An offset handle is helpful.
  • Sandpaper. I use nail files, with two different grits. When they are worn out, I use them to cut steps for the houses.
  • Safety glasses are a good idea. The little pickets can fly all over as they are cut.

The coffee stir sticks I use are 7.5″ long. A longer stick gives you more pickets. The ends can be cut off to make rounded pickets. I cut the pickets with a wire cutter. The wire cutter easily cuts points on the picket tip, if a pointed picket is needed. The rest of the stir stick can be cut into the size of picket needed.

To make the horizontal boards to hold the pickets, I begin by marking a score line down the long edge of the stick. Recut the line a few times to go all the way through. Cut slowly to maintain control. I cut them freehand, but it could be done with a metal or acrylic ruler as a guide to keep the lines straight..

When cutting by hand, which I do, the boards won’t all look the same, but I like the varied look for these fences. They are crafted one section at a time, not in a cookie-cutter style.

Below, I have cut a sliver off one side for use as a board. The boards are the thinnest sticks to the left. I then cut pickets from the wider sticks, after cutting off the board. This will make uneven pickets, but I like the look. To make pickets that are all the same width, cut them from a stir stick, without cutting any boards off the edge.

I attach the boards to the mat with a small dot of hot glue on the ends of the boards. I set the boards about an 1/4″ apart. The hot glue holds them in place and makes it easier to place the pickets on the board.

I use a syringe with a blunt tip needle to apply white glue to the horizontal bars.
Note the container of pickets. When I am making them, I do a lot at a time, so I don’t need to make more pickets every time I need to make a fence. This task is fodder for binging TV.

When applying the pickets, I use the rule lines on the mat to make the pattern even all the way across. This is necessary, so the design being laid down will be even on two or more sections. If you have uneven designs, the sections may not match from one side of the putz to the other.

Below, the sections on each side have seven pickets each. The ends will be trimmed. When the sides are placed, they should be lined up so the front pieces, when glued down at the corners, will be straight across the front.

See the picture below. These pickets are not set at a regular interval. My mistake. I should have set the first two pickets as I did, then gone to the next 1″ mark to set two more, lined up as the first ones were. Then I could go back to insert the middle two pickets. It would be okay to eyeball the middle pickets, because the pickets on either side will be the same, all along the length of the section. Setting pickets at measured intervals keeps the design consistant all along the section. Eyeballing the space between each set of pickets, as I did below, means the design slowly shifted to the left, out of sinc with other sections of the same fence.

The shift is obvious in the picture below. I had two problems. First, the pickets were not all the same width. If aware of that, it isn’t a problem, as it is easy to adjust them as the section is made. Second, I neglected to line the pickets with each inch mark before setting in the middle two pickets.

When applying the pickets to the boards, line up the tops of the pickets, not the bottoms. Each picket doesn’t have to be cut the same length as the other pickets. When the glue is dry, the bottom can be cut with a large pair of scissors to make it even.

The bottoms of the fence sections have been cut even in the picture below.

At this point, the sections need to be left alone until the glue is completely dry.

The top section below has wet glue. The one below is almost dry.

When the section is completely dry, I use a palette knife to gently wiggle and lift the fence off the mat to lift the hot glue I used at each end of the board to hold the boards to the mat. The fence may be damaged if the fence section is removed without first loosing the hot glue. If white glue was applied to the boards, thick enough to run onto the mat while affixing pickets, those places will have to be lifted free, too.

Gently run the palette knife under the fence section. Jiggle and slide it when glue is encountered. I can see that, in this picture, I was in a hurry to remove the section. I should have waited until the white glue was complety dry. Dry glue is much more stable than wet glue.

Backside. All the glue is completely dry.

Front side. The one on the left is trimmed at the bottom. The one on the right isn’t trimmed yet.

When painting the pickets, I prefer an old, damaged, stiff, bristly brush. About 1/2″ wide. The stiffness and the bristles help the paint get into all the nooks and crannies. I paint each section with one coat of paint on both sides, let it dry completely and then add a second coat of paint to each side of the fence section. I immediately add the glitter, then leave the sections to dry completely before tidying up the paint job. See before and after below.

Needle nose tweezers come in handy for cleaning up the fence paint. I insert them in each space of the fence, and rock the tweezers back and forth to clear the excess paint. Do the same from the other side of the fence. Each space, all the way down the section.

The fence is complete. I use hot glue to hold it to the base. This house has a porch which I cut from a paint stirring stick. The stepping stones are painted onto the base.

This is the above house completed. A fence can add a wonderful detail to a Putz house.

You can see more of my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda