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.


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!


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