Design team member of Alpha Stamps, lover of ephemera and junk.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Grandma's House, with tutorial

Who's making the rounds now at Alpha Stamps? It's Little Red Riding Hood! This month, I took a Votive House Shrine Kit and made it into Grandma's cottage in the woods. For the interior, I chose lovely scrapbook paper for Grandma-like wallpaper and flooring, and set to work. When I began to address the outside, the little house just begged to be made of stone. Once I covered the three walls included in the kit, I loved how it looked so much that I made a fourth wall of cardboard and completely enclosed the house.

This is the cutest little size! Here it is with a quarter for scale.

The front of the house is the wall I added. I made a small wooden door that opens up to reveal Little Red and that Big Bad Wolf, posing as Grandma. Watch out, Lil' Red!

Back of the house, with a vine growing up the wall:

I learned a lot while making this house, so I wrote up a tutorial on making the stones and the shingles. 

First, decorate the interior using scrapbook paper. It's hard to see now that all four walls are up, but I'm planning to put a battery operated tea light candle inside to light it up, and then Grandma's lovely wallpaper will be more visible. When covering the inside walls, make sure you don't put any paper where you'll need to glue; keep those tabs clean, or the house will not fit together well.

Next, paint the exterior. You don't have to have an even coat for this, as only a bit of the paint will show through as grout. Do make sure the mullions in the windows are painted nicely, though, as they will show.

Make your stones using the inside top of a cardboard egg carton. Brush on some ink and dry brush on some paint to get a mottled color and cover any words or graphics. As you can see, I didn't fully cover mine; some of the type will look just like part of the stone when cut out. Once the stones are on the house, you can use your dry brush with paint to dab out any areas that are obviously parts of words.

Assemble the walls, and start adding stones. I cut smaller, more uniform stones to go around the windows and door, and then filled in with larger stones. Clip any sharp corners so the stones look more organic. Cutting out and setting the stones was by far the most time-consuming part of this project. I now have a new-found respect for masons. Make sure when you cover the corners of the house that you wrap the stones around. You don't want that hard edge to show! The stones attach easily with white glue; I used Aleene's Tacky Glue for this project.

The roof shingles made of sandpaper and also adhered with white glue. I used a black ink pad to edge one side of a strip, and then cut several rectangles of approximately the same size. Start in the center of your bottom row and work outwards, and then stack the remaining rows, being sure to stagger the seams. Leave each row overlapping the edge of the roof, and trim to fit using small scissors once the roof is fully covered.
It always happens when I write up a tutorial: I take more photos than necessary at the beginning, and then get so involved with the project that I forget to take any during the end. This time was no exception. After I finished the roof of the three walled kit, I decided to add the fourth wall with a door. I had to remove all the stones on the sides of the walls adjoining the new wall so I could replace them with stones that wrapped the corners. I was not happy about that, but I'm glad I did it because it really does make a difference. (I know this because I originally thought I could get away with replacing only a couple of stones on each side. I was wrong about that.)
The door is a thin piece of wood I found in my husband's workshop and cut to size. The hinges and knocker came from Alpha Stamps and were altered to look like iron. Once the wall was done and the door was in place (the hinges were glued on with E6000), I used white glue to attach some moss around the bottom and some vines growing up the sides. The house seemed like it needed just one more little something, so I gave it an address: Number 8. Grandma's house.

For supplies, and to see this month's art kit, head on over to Alpha Stamps!


  1. Just amazing Kristin! Top of an egg carton for stones? Who knew? They came out just like stone. In one of your photos, it looks like you placed plastic (?) behind the windows...or did you use glass? Either way, this little house is fantastic. Thanks for the tutorial...great ideas:)

  2. Thank you! Actually, the windows don't have either plastic or glass behind them. Bugs could get in!

  3. beautiful work, thank you for the tutorial

  4. I love this tutorial; the stone work and wooden door DO make the difference!

  5. Wow. This little house is one of the cutest I've seen. I'm a miniaturist so I've seen a bunch! Your tutorial is wonderful. Thanks a million. I'll be trying this out soon.

  6. A-MA-ZING! I love this and hope to make one for myself. Great tips, and excellent use of the egg carton.

  7. this is the sweetest little house--nice work!

  8. I LOVE this, it is just too awesome!

  9. I came upon this post am was amaze by your egg carton stone wall. Tried creating it but cannot achieve the look like yours. How did you make the stone look so thick? Did you stack layers of the egg carton material together? Mine look so flat and thin, lol.

    1. I used a single layer for the stones. You have to use the heavy cardboard egg cartons, not the styrofoam kind. Could that be the trouble?

  10. Kristin,

    WOW! Brilliant! Thank you so much for the tutorial. I'm definitely going to try to make one of these for myself! Your house is stunning! Great job!

  11. I am buting a carton of eggs just to make some stones. This is one of the best money saving and wonderful looking odeas for stones i have ever seen. I have a river rocks mold, but they will not really work for a wall. This is fantastic!


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