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

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Light-up Christmas House, with Tutorial

Christmas is coming! Inspired by vintage Putz houses, I made this little house using Alpha Stamps' new Glitter House Template collage sheet and lots of other fun Christmas supplies (also from Alpha Stamps, of course!) This house has an LED light inside, and a working streetlight on the corner. Here it is in daylight:

And here it is in the dark, with both the inside light and the street light lit. When the lights are on, you can see the Christmas tree inside the front window.
These little houses are so fun and easy to make! Here's how I made this one.

Cut apart the template and adhere it temporarily with spray adhesive to the backside of sturdy double sided scrapbook paper. For this project, I used a very light coat of Aleene's Spray Tacky Glue. Once the house was cut out, I removed the template. Using a ruler and x-acto knife, cut around the outside edge of the template, and the doors and windows. Use a bone folder to score along the tab lines and the dotted fold lines, and then carefully remove the template from the scrapbook paper.

Fold along the scored tab and fold lines, and begin to glue the house together. I glued the top of the house down first, then the sides, and then folded up and glued the bottom. It really helps to cut out the bottom of the floor (noted on the template), so you can get your hands up into the house and hold down those glued edges until they dry. Once the house is assembled, you can replace the cut out part and complete the floor. In this next photo (using different paper from the final project), the top part of the house is glued down, and the tabs on the side are folded and glued. Just tuck them in and hold for a few minutes while the glue sets, and then finish up with the floor.

Now for the roof. I used corrugated cardboard for my roof, so I gently peeled off the top layer of paper to expose the ribs within. Once the cardboard is stripped, adhere the template, and then cut and score the roof. Glue it to the top of the house. I used a rubber band to hold the roof in place until the glue was set.

This is my first time to use Snow-tex, but definitely not my last! I just couldn't wait to try it out, so I did a little test area on the roof, using an old paintbrush. Notice I taped around the edge of the lid of the box with masking tape; I didn't want to get any snow on the sides. (In case you're wondering, yes, I always work like this. My desk is a mess!)

Glue the chimney to the roof using Tacky Glue. Don't worry that the chimney doesn't sit flat on the corrugated cardboard; Snow-tex will cover that up.

Next, I put a string of tiny pearls around the door and all of the windows except the large one in front. I found that it helped to cut the string into tinier segments, especially when going around a curve. For the rounded windows, I cut the strands so that I was only gluing on two pearls at a time. Here, Santa stands guard while you check out those pearly windows. The snow you see on the window panes was added using an embroidery needle. I found the popsicle stick to be too large for applying small amounts of the Snow-tex.

I made the chimney cap a bit smaller than the one on the template so it didn't hang over the chimney, but I did cut the hole in it so I could add some smoke, which was made with a little bit of cotton pulled off a cotton ball.  In this next photo, I was determining placement of the house, the Santa, and the trees on the box lid.

I drew around all the elements on the top to help give me a guide of where to punch holes out for the wiring of the streetlight and the LED light within the house. Once I knew where things were going to go, I punched out the holes. The larger hole for the LED light was made with scissor tips, and the smaller streetlight hole was made with a large needle. These holes don't have to be pretty; they will be covered in the final project.

To keep the lights stable on top, I used a bit of Apoxie Sculpt to secure them underneath the lid. 

Now it's time to add the snow. To keep the front doorstep from being buried, I sat the house up on a piece of cardboard cut to the same size as the floor. This will make the house look like it's on a little hill. Now, fill in the snow! I used a popsicle stick for the larger areas, like the ground, and a toothpick for some of the smaller areas, like the tops of the windows and around the Santa. As I mentioned before, the tiny bits of snow on the window panes were applied with a needle.

The trees were a little taller than I needed, so I used wire clippers to cut their wooden bases off. Once I applied all the snow on the ground, I used Aleene's Tacky Glue around the bottoms of the trees and set them into place. Push them into that snow, so they'll be nice and stable.

To make the wreath in the front window, I used a hole reinforcement label and some green yarn. I wrapped the yarn around the circle several times, adding some tacky glue when necessary. Red seed beads were then glued on to resemble holly berries. An upside down candy cane made the perfect wreath hanger.

Before assembly, I painted the box with cream and white stripes, and glued on some 7/8" lace around the rim of the top. The batteries for the lights are now hidden within the box. Look around back: someone has built a snowman!

The great thing about these templates is how flexible they are. You can make whatever sort of houses you wish. How about a haunted house next October? Meanwhile, happy little Christmas house! For a complete list of supplies, click here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cigar Box Mini

I really love old cigar boxes, so when the November kit from Alpha Stamps came out, I couldn't wait to start; they are now carrying so many new cigar box themed collage sheets, plus tons of coordinating scrapbook papers. I made a mini cigar box! Here's a photo of it with some of my actual sized boxes.
Isn't it so cute? The tiny masonite cigar box I used is just the right size to hold a gift card, and the Turquoise Mini Cigar Boxes collage sheet is designed to perfectly fit this box.

Here's a little tip if you're going to be covering a box: before you adhere the paper to the top, reinforce the hinged area with some tape. This will help keep that joint strong when the lid is opened and closed.

I added images from some of the other collage sheets to the top and sides of the box. Here's the finished outside, with the red "seal" broken:

The interior is lined with a lovely houndstooth pattern, and features a 3D cigar-themed sticker.

This little box would make a perfect gift box for a cigar aficionado. But I'd like to just display it, so I chose a few images from the Cigar Box Secrets scrapbook paper, cut them out, and mounted them on a little foam core base, cut just to fit inside the box. They stand up nicely, but are easy to remove should I decide to use the box to hold a gift card later.

In this next photo, you can see the three pieces after I first completed them. I liked the way they looked inside the box, but just couldn't be happy with that lady in the back. She blends in too much with the background, and it's hard to see her and tell that she's actually 3D.

I used some colored pencils to give her face and hair a little more definition, and then used some Copic Markers to color in the halo in the background. What a difference! Now she shows up so much better.

It looks to me like these lovely ladies are all waiting for a parade.
For a complete list of supplies, click here.
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