I made some easy paper houses to take on my Vermont Getaway crafting weekend to give to the ladies that attended. Each house is about 2 x 2 inches so I could carry 20 of them to Vermont on the plane. This size also makes a very nice pattern that is easy to cut out from one 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper or card stock or cardboard. You can download this pattern at my Paper Glitter Glue Library. One other great feature of this pattern is that it shows you the basics of making a really easy little house so you can modify it and even make your own patterns.
- Easy Paper House Pattern PDF
- Cardboard – I use 8.5 x 11 inch pieces of cardboard
- Craft knife
- Tissue paper for windows (or download the Putz house windows and doors here)
How to make a house with the Easy Paper Houses Pattern
These instructions are based on the size I drew for the pattern which is 2 inches wide and deep and 3.25 inches high. Sometimes when you print a PDF, your printer alters the size a little bit to make it fit the page. Your measurements might be slightly different.
Copy your pattern onto cardstock
I always save the original and make a copy to work with. Below is the house pattern copied onto cardstock so I can trace the outline on my cardboard.
Cut your house pattern and cardboard piece to size before tracing the pattern
First cut your cardboard to the height of the house which is 3.25 inches. Then cut it to length – 8.5 inches.
Save the extra piece of cardboard (if you started with a piece of cardboard 11 inches long) to make the roof.
Make sure the tracing paper faces your cardboard
When you tape the pattern and the cardboard together with the tracing paper in the middle (if that is how you are transferring the pattern), make sure the tracing paper is facing your cardboard. That’s about the only thing you can mess up with this step.
Easy Paper House Pattern traced onto cardboard
Remember to score before you cut
Next I scored the fold lines and then make the few cuts necessary on this simple house pattern.
Cutting out windows and doors
Here is Howard Lamey’s method for cutting out accurate windows and doors by hand using a push pin to mark the corners of the windows and doors.
I always feel like I cheat when I say that I do not cut out windows and doors by hand. I justify this because I make a lot of houses and it makes cutting out the windows and doors SO much easier and precise. You could use a drill press as well, but the arbor press I bought online was smaller and cheaper from Harbor Freight Tools, I think.
If you cut the windows and door by hand only cut a few windows to make it easier on yourself.
So first I confessed about cutting out the windows, now I have to explain that I cut the windows on the wrong gable end. You want the glue tab to be at the back of the house, not the front. So the middle gable is the one where I should have cut out the windows and door. I’ll show you the problem it causes in the next photo.
Here is my tutorial on using an arbor press and dies to cut out windows and doors in your paper houses.
One important point about cutting out the doors – don’t cut all the way to the bottom of the house. You need the house to be intact at the very bottom to keep the house square. Otherwise it will bend at the doorway. See the strip of cardboard below the door? Try to leave about 3/8 inch at the bottom for structural integrity of your little house.
The glue tab should be in the back
Here’s one problem with cutting the windows and door where I did – the glue tab shows in the windows. I had to cut it down to hide it better.
Glue flaps on the gable ends OVER the rectangular roof flaps. This helps keep your paper house square and prevents the gable ends from bending inward.
Cover the windows with tissue paper or printed windows and doors
Since I had to make 20 houses I debated about what to do with the windows and the door. I finally decided to just cover them with tissue paper inside the house. There are light holes on the back and underneath. The houses are so small that they could be perched on a Christmas tree branch if you wanted and a small light bulb from the Christmas lights would fit underneath or on the back.
Another option for windows and doors is to copy the ones on the original Putz houses. Paul Race, who hosts the CardboardChristmas.com forums, has generously made printable PDFs of these windows and doors in various sizes. Find the size you like and cut the appropriate sized hole for the windows or door. I just didn’t have time to do all that for 20 little houses.
Glue on the roof
I didn’t include the roof in the pattern because I used the cardboard that I cut off when I cut out my basic rectangle piece. The house with the tab is 8.5 inches long. If your cardboard or card stock is 11 inches you have a rectangle 2.5 x 3.25 inches to make the roof. Perfect. So easy for making a large number of houses. Score it in the middle and adhere to the top of the little house.
Make the base with thicker cardboard
The base is thicker cardboard painted with one of my very favorite green colors – Tim Holtz Distress Paint Mowed Lawn.
Paint your houses with colors you love
All the colors are from Tim’s Distress Paints – Twisted Citron, Mustard Seed, Picked Raspberry, Tumbled Glass, Blueprint Sketch, Wilted Violet and Mermaid Lagoon. I think that’s all of them. Oh, I did paint one of them with Walnut Stain before I decided to go with more colorful options. I just love these colors.
What else can you do with the Easy Paper Houses Pattern?
- Make 25 for an Christmas Advent calendar
- Make an entire village of Holiday houses
- Give as gifts to your child’s teachers
- Attach to the top of a gift box to make the gift even more special
- Decorate a wreath with the little houses – Martha Stewart’s Christmas Wreath with Putz Houses
- Decorate a tree with the Easy Paper Houses – see here or here
- Make a neighborhood for your child to play with (they are fairly sturdy and easy to make so it’s ok if they get beat up – just make some new ones)
You can download the free “Easy Paper House” pattern at my Paper Glitter Glue library by signing up for my newsletter on the form below. I will not share your email with anyone.
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