|Written by Howard Lamey (with a little help from Paul Race)
for Big Indoor TrainsTM
Note from Editor: Howard Lamey, in Jacksonville, Florida, has an artist's eye for proportion and charm. He also has the good taste to be one of my readers. I met Howard online when he told me he had used a stained glass pattern from our Free Graphics Resource Page pattern on a vintage-style cardboard church he had built. Howard has retired from a full-time job in advertising that included designing window displays for a major retailer. Now he has turned those artistic talents to designing and building vintage-style cardboard buildings for his family and friends. When I saw the Halloween house featured in this article, I begged him to tell us how he did it, and now we have the chance to share with you. Since this article was published, we have added many more articles on building small cardboard holiday houses, and Howard keeps sending me new photos and plans faster than I can get them published, so stay tuned.
Building a Vintage-Style Cardboard Halloween HousePaul has asked me to tell you how I made the building that shows in the title photo. It's a "family-friendly" Halloween house that will eventually be part of a village for my grandchildren.
What You Will NeedIf you are going to build cardboard houses, stop throwing away used, clean cardboard yesterday. Save cereal boxes, the backs of writing tablets, anything flat, firm and clean, that you can save. This pattern doesn't require any corrugated cardboard, but it wouldn't hurt to keep some of that on hand, too. In addition, for this project you'll need:
Printing the Plan
Double-click on the plan above to see a blow-up. You should be able to print the big version at the size you need.
If neither of those work, contact Paul and ask him for help - that's his department. :-)
Building the BaseThe base is a rectangular "box" that is decorated before the house and trees are installed. It should be about 4" x 6 1/2" x 1/2".
Prepping the Structure Pieces
Assembling and Painting the House
Prepping the Scenery
The fence is made from ¼-inch hardware cloth. Cut and fold it to the shape you need and paint it black.
If you can get loom pegs from the craft store, you can paint the lower part black, then paint the round tops orange and put tiny jack-o-lantern features on them.
For trees I used floral picks that have a branch-like structure that provides a dead tree look. The little "barbs" on the end of the branches are even acceptable for a Halloween house. If the floral picks you use aren't black, brown or gray, you may have to spray them. You'll also have to cut the trunk to the appropriate length, probably with a pair of wire cutters. Eventually you make holes in the base and glue the trunks into the holes. Note: If you want to make freestanding "dead trees" from floral picks, please check out our cleverly titled article "Winter Trees from Floral Picks".
When everything is glued together and the glue has dried, add little touches of frost on the roof, chimney, fence, and base. I use clear glitter sprinkled over Elmer’s Glue-All.
Concluding ThoughtsHere's a day shot, a night shot and a pix of my "photo studio"...
Since making these houses, I have added a yellow moon with a witch on a broom silhouette...the moon is mounted on a black bamboo skewer and is stuck in the base behind the chimney...it added a lot to the scene...
Using With Trains - A few months after I built this, Paul sent me a Hawthorne Village "Nightmare Before ChristmasTM" locomotive and a few cars. He wanted to give readers a sense of how this and the other Spook HillTM buildings would look with a commercial Halloween train. (This train and others are described on Paul's Halloween Trains web pages. Except for the holiday paint job, this train is actually an On30 model compatible with Bachmann's On30 trains, which were designed to look good with Christmas villages. Most HO trains would be a little smaller, and most Lionel trains would be a little bigger, so this should give you a pretty good idea of whether it will work with your train set.
Update for April, 2008This building was so popular that we have has started a whole collection called Spook HillTM. These cardboard vintage-style Halloween building project are perfect for giving your mantle, or your HO, On30, S, or O-gauge railroad a special bit of Halloween cheer. The link to the right will take you to the first of a series that Howard has already developed. We guarantee these projects to be entirely unique. In fact, I don't think there's another resource like this anywhere on the Internet, and that's a pretty big place.
Now For a Little Business
Now that I'm in "retirement," this hobby has become a sort of avocation for me. Several folks have commissioned me to build specific houses for them. I've put up my own site, LittleGlitterHouses.com. So if you'd like me to "bid" on a cardboard house for you, or if you have any questions at all, please visit my site or use this link, and Paul will forward your information to me.
Also, if you have a similar project you'd like to share with your fellow readers and hobbyists, we'd love to add it to our site, and we'll be sure to give you full credit for your contribution.
Other Articles about Glitterhouse include:
Other Putz House Resources:
Other Articles that Discuss Putzes and Christmas Villages of the mid-20th Century:
Note: Big Indoor Trains(tm), Big Train Store(tm), Family Garden Trains(tm), Big Christmas Trains(tm), Garden Train Store(tm), and Trains and Towns(tm) are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically
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