Your Best Guide to Making Putz Houses - Delightful Little Paper Houses
What is a Putz House?
What is a Putz house? The name for Putz houses evolved from the German word "putzen" which means to clean or to decorate. And the name was acquired by little houses that were placed around the nativity scene for Christmas decorations in the early 1900s. Yes, these adorable little houses have been around for about 100 years. Designs and materials have varied dramatically over time. Below are reproductions of vintage Putz houses by Howard Lamey who posts on the Cardboard Christmas Forums. More about that incredible website later.
You may also see them called glitter houses or little cardboard houses or even paper houses.
How do you make Putz Houses?
Would you like to see more inspiration and instructions on making Putz or paper houses?
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First, here is a summary of how to make a Putz house or glitter house or little cardboard house
- Pick out a pattern for the little house that you want to make
- Cut out the pattern - by hand or with the help of an electronic cutting machine like a Cricut or a Silhouette
- Construct the house elements and the house - windows, bay windows, towers, shingles, doors, etc.
- Decorate the house - painting, glitter or other decor
- Make the base for your little house
- Glue your house to the base
- Complete the house with scenery - trees, fences, floral elements, more glitter - the fun stuff
Next, here is a comprehensive list of the tutorials on my blog, but after that I've listed the best places on the web to read about making little houses. As I find new information, I will update this post so you will have a list of the best information on where to learn how to make Putz houses.
Resources below are listed in order as you need them to make your Putz house:
- Tools you need
- How to make a pattern
- Free patterns on my blog
- How to make various bases for your houses
- Finally, some of the different texture effects I use on the glitter houses
- Where to find more information on making Putz houses
1. What are the Essential Tools for Making A Glitter House
I made a list of the 8 Essential Tools that you need to make your own paper house. I wrote it as a blog post as well as a list available free on the Paper Glitter Glue library. Just sign up for the newsletter and you will get instant access to the library and can download the list as well as all of the patterns and tutorials below.
In addition, I've got a list of My Favorite Supplies to making little houses here to help you.
2. Paper Glitter Glue Patterns and Tutorials for Making Putz Houses
Below are a number of patterns that you can find on my blog. There are at least 30 patterns for making little houses in the Paper Glitter Glue library. Just subscribe with the form below and you will get access to all of the free patterns.
First How to Make Patterns for Glitter and Putz Houses:
To make your own 3-D templates and PDF patterns including SVGs (scalable vector graphic files for automatic cutting machines) this is the course I recommend - A CUT ABOVE by JenniferMaker.
It is the only course I know of that specifically helps you make 3-D patterns which you can save as PDFs or SVGs. It is expensive, yes, but it helped me immensely. I wrote a blog post about taking the course here.
Easy Paper Houses - A great starter home for your Putz village
And here are instructions on how to make and simplify your own Putz house patterns and templates:
How to Draw a Steeple Pattern for Your Little Houses
Sometimes you need to make a steeple to fit a specific tower or roof on your little house. You'll find instructions in the post listed below.
Again, to make your own 3-D templates and patterns including SVGs (scalable vector graphic files for automatic cutting machines) this is the course I recommend - A CUT ABOVE by JenniferMaker.
3. Where do you find Free Little Cardboard House Patterns, Templates and Tutorials?
Based on number of pins in Pinterest this is my most popular pattern - this variation on the Irish Cottage.
You might like to make the Sea-Worn Beach House.
Here is another very popular pattern - the Christmas Farmhouse.
Here is another one of the everyone's favorite house - the Irish Stone Cottage.
The Red Roof Holiday Cottage is a fun house to make for the Holiday season.
Here is a cool Halloween houses - the2019 Habitat Halloween House. It can easily be modified for Christmas with brighter colors and less distressing.
This is one of my favorite patterns called the Stone House with 3 Gables. There are both printable PDF patterns and SVG patterns for this house.
Here's a Frosty version of the Stone House with 3 Gables.
12 Houses for Christmas - 12 Free PDF Patterns to make little Christmas Houses for a tree or a tiny village
13 Halloween Houses - Free Patterns for you to make cool little Halloween Houses
Note: All of these houses have SVG and PDF patterns.
And here is the blog post for the Abandoned Italianate Mansion which I also called the Faded Mansion.
The pattern to make this little Putz house is available in the Paper Glitter Glue library for free, of course. It's under the name of Faded Mansion. There are both PDF and SVG patterns for this house.
I made the Faded Mansion so you could decorate the house for any season.
Make a Tree Stump House as a variation on a Putz House
There are several variations of the Tree Stump House. The first one is a Flower Top Fairy Tree Stump house. You can read about how I made it as a guest post on Jennifer Maker's blog. But you can find the pattern in my library under Fairy Tree Stump Houses. There is also an Oak Leaf roof variation of this same pattern.
For the 13 days of Halloween challenge I made a simple tree stump house with fall leaves on the roof. That one is fun to make.
Here is one of the first tree stump houses I made for Easter.
And one my all time favorite houses that I made years ago - the Black Hat Inn.
4. How to Make a Base for a Putz House? How to Add Light to Your Putz House?
There are a number of ways to light up your little house. The most common way is through a light bulb in the hole in the back of the house. That's the traditional way for making Putz houses light up. But even in the 1930s people started cutting holes in the bottom of the houses so they could insert the bulb underneath. That's the way I make most of my houses with a hole in the base for lighting. However, I almost always include the hole in the back for tradition's sake.
How to Make Other Unique Bases for Your Little Houses
You don't always have to make a traditional base for your little houses. There are lots of options for making bases for Putz houses. One thing I love to do is make a book base for the house. And you can do a lot with ribbon rolls as well to make Tree Stumps as the base of the house or as a pedestal to put the house on.
You can also make stairs into the cardboard base for your little putz house. Here are a few examples of this kind of base.
5. What are Different Textures and Finish Effects for a Little Putz House
How to Make a Rusted Roof for Your House Tutorial
One of my very favorite ways to make a roof for a Putz house (particularly Halloween houses) is with metallic tape and alcohol ink to add a rusted patina to the roof.
How to add Different Textures and Finishes to Your Houses
Although these are not traditional techniques for Putz houses, you can make lots of different textures on your houses - bricks, stones, slate, or peeling crackled wood.
Want to make crackle paint for your miniature houses? This article shows you how to make your own crackle paint to decorate Putz houses or other paper crafts.
This house is the Sea Shack - you can read about making the miniature Sea Shack with the easy crackle paint siding here.
6. Additional Resources on the Web to Make Putz Houses
Many of the websites listed below are more traditional in the decor of the little houses with wonderful instructions. You will find them informative and seriously inspirational.
Where can I find Tutorials for Making Putz Houses?
Howard Lamey is an incredibly generous builder of Putz houses meaning that he shares his patterns and knowledge freely. His website is littleglitterhouses.com where you find instructions on how to make them. It’s not regularly updated, but the basics are incredible. When you go to Pinterest and search for Putz houses or glitter houses – you’ll see that many are made are by Howard or from one of his patterns.
The Cardboard Christmas forums are an absolute wealth of information for making putz houses. Paul Race generously hosts this site to share his love of Putz houses. And as a bonus, one of the original members is Howard Lamey who posts regularly and shares his knowledge and patterns there as well. You do not have to be a member to read ALL the posts there and to get access to all the patterns. You have to sign up if you want to be a member and ask questions or reply to posts. There is a nominal cost of $1/month which was initiated to prevent fake sign-ups. It is well worth it.
Here is an example of one of Howard's houses in the Ten Cent City Series on the Cardboard Christmas forum.
An additional website associated with the Cardboard Christmas Forums is the Papa Ted's Place where the incredible history of the little houses is preserved. Paul Race hosts both of these sites which is a real gift to the putz-makers of the world. Thank Paul for saving this site.
Rhonda of Christmas Notebook makes lovely glitter houses. She has many tutorials on her website demonstrating steps in making the houses. As of this writing, she regularly updates her website. She is very active making lots of beautiful Putz houses that she sells to raise funds for charity.
I stumbled upon Cassie Stephen’s blog by accident. She is an art teacher in Nashville, TN so the projects are beautifully artistic as you would expect. I am including her website because in one little party, she demonstrates the simplicity and appeal of making the little houses.
Even Facebook can help you find out about how to make Putz houses
Paper Houses and Paper Crafts Hosted by Paper Glitter Glue Private Facebook Group
I have a private Facebook group that you can join to ask questions and post photos about making your paper houses. Here is the link to Paper Houses and Paper Crafts Hosted by Paper Glitter Glue.
Glitter and Putz Houses - Another Private Facebook Group
Another group you can join is the Glitter and Putz Houses which I am a member of. Actually I inherited the administrator's position for this Facebook Group as well.
That's about it for now. I will keep this post updated so you can always find new information from my website here. I hope you find this information helpful in your putz house building journey. Let me know if you have any other sources you like to go to. Or let me know if you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them (assuming I know the answer, of course). Lucy
Your Best Guide to Making Putz Houses - Delightful Little Glitter Houses
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