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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S

Friday, December 15, 2017

BUILDING GLITTER HOUSES FOR YOUR TREE OR FOR A CHRISTMAS DISPLAY!






  This comes from www.bigindoortrains.com .  Make a few or many, maybee enough for your very own Christmas village.  Enjoy!

Building a Glitterhouse

The house shown in the photo is a good starting product for learning to build "putz" houses.

What You Will Need

If you are going to build vintage-style 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. Please keep some corrogated cardboard on hand, too - it makes the best bases. In addition, for this project you'll need:
  • A sharp mat knife or Xacto knife (or both)
  • A stiff metal ruler
  • Elmer's white Glue-All. A glue stick would also come in handy.
  • Clear glitter. I use the “Sulyn” brand.
  • Several sheets of acid-free white bond paper
  • Flat white paint (flat latex interior wall paint is good) to prime the building (and give it the chalky feel of the original)
  • Acrylic paint in the colors you plan to use for the house.
  • Other accessories, such as bottle brush trees, that you plan to use to finish the house.

Note:: Our article on What You Need to Build Glitterhouses lists many other materials and tools that will help you work more quickly and effectively.

Printing the Plans



Double-click on this image to see a higher resolution pattern.Double-click on this image to see a higher resolution pattern.




Double-click on the plans above to see the large versions. You should be able to print the big version at the size you need either of the following ways.

  • If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, click the following links to see the PDF versions: Select the print option, tell it to "auto rotate and center" or whatever else you need to make it go to Landscape mode. Don't select the "scale to page" or "shrink to fit" option. Print.
  • If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer or for some reason that doesn't work, open the big GIF versions by clicking on the reduced plans above. Choose the "file, page setup" from your browser. When the page setup menu comes up, select "landscape mode." If you CAN choose to NOT scale the picture, do so. This may mean that part of the page gets clipped on your printer, but the plan should sprint to the right size. If they don't you should be able to tweak the size either in the print program or in any graphic program you have on your printer.

If neither of those work, contact Paul and ask him for help - that's his department. :-)

Building the Base


Click for bigger photo.


 
The base is a rectangular "box" that is decorated before the house and trees are installed. For this project, it should be about 4 1/4" square, and about 1/2" high.

Note: For this project, Howard cut the base and fence pieces out at the same time. The fence pieces are made from card stock such as posterboard or cereal box cardboard. If you wish, you may use different materials for the fence, including miniature wooden snow fence from the craft store or a rustic rail fence you make from twigs.
Cut And Glue The Base - Usually the best method is to make a base from layers of corrugated cardboard glued together in a sandwich. You then wrap and glue a strip of thin poster-board or cereal-box cardboard all around it to camouflage the rough edges of the corrugated cardboard.




Click for bigger photo. Click for bigger photo.




Wrap the Base - When the base is built, you then cover it with white bond paper just like you would wrap a gift, except that all surfaces of the paper cover must be glued down to the box. A glue stick works great for this.




The finish coat of paper is glued down everywhere so it becomes a part of the surface and recreates the pasteboard finish of the original glitterhouses. Click for bigger photo. Click for bigger photo





Note: More details about building bases are provided in our article: Building Glitterhouse Bases
Attach the Fence - When the glue on the base has dried, glue the fence pieces to the base.
Prime the Base - When all the glue has dried, paint the base with the flat white paint. This provides an even finish that will hold the acrylic paint and glitter. If the fence is made of card stock, prime it, too.

Prepping the Structure Pieces

The house, roof, chimney, and chimney cap need to be cut from thicker cardboard, such as the cardboard from the back of a writing tablet.





Click for bigger photo




  1. Carefully transfer patterns of all pieces to the cardboard building stock. A .05 mm lead mechanical pencil and a “C-Through” brand ruler make this accurate and easy.
  2. Put new blades in the mat knife or X-acto knife (or both) that you will be using.
  3. Score the fold lines before you begin cutting out the parts (although you may do the roof later, if you wish, after you've checked the overhang). Use the metal ruler or other steel edge as a guide.
  4. Still using a steel-edged ruler as a guide, cut out the shapes. Watch your fingers.
  5. Double-check the roof size. The most important thing is that it has an overhang on all sides just like a real house. After you determine where the peak of the roof should be, score the crease.
  6. Cut the door and window frames from thinner stock, such as posterboard or cereal box cardboard.

Assembling and Painting the House

  1. Using Elmer's white Glue-All or a similar product, assemble the house, glue on the roof, chimney with chimney cap, trim details plus door and window frames. I would do this in steps so that you are not trying to hold, tape, or clamp a lot of small pieces at one time. 


Click for bigger photo.


White glue works best if you apply a thin coat to each mating surface and wait a few moments for the glue to become tacky. Do not glue the house to the base until you have applied the glitter (below).
Note: Sometimes I add a sub-base to the house. This could be in the form of 1/4"-inch square pieces of balsa wood or strips of corrugated cardboard glued around the inside bottom edge of the house wall where it meets the base. This gives you a larger gluing surface for mounting the house to the base.




This sub-base made of corrugated cardboard provides a little more strength to the house and gives a better surface for gluing to the base.  Click for bigger photo.The house and base have now been primed with a flat interior wall paint that provides a consistent surface for the next coat.  Click for bigger photo.




  1. Prime the house, including trim, with flat white wall paint. Don’t skip this step; it gives you a uniform surface for painting.
  2. Paint the house in your choice of colors. I use acrylics from the Wal-Mart craft department. For anything that is painted gold, silver or bronze, I use “Testors” brand model paint.



Note Howard's signature 'Dr. Seuss' color choices and white paint 'globs.'  Having exaggerated colors and patterns is important because the clear glitter actually tones things down a little.  Click for bigger photo.




  1. Paint the base and fence. A white base with random swirls and dabs of very light pastel blue and pink are a good choice. Paint the fence a color that ties in with the rest of the house but is dark enough to contrast with the base. I suggest you not use yellows, beiges or greens in the snow.


    Click for bigger photo.




  1. Add clear glitter to the house and the base. Brush on a thin, but even coat of undiluted white glue and sprinkle on the glitter. Don’t try to do the entire house or base at once. White glue starts to film-over and dry quickly so just do a wall or a section at a time. The glue dries clear so don’t judge the final look until the glue is dry.
  2. Glue the window covering material on the inside of the house. I use colored velum or colored “cellophane type” material. Red seems to be the traditional color but you can use any color you like.
  3. Glue the finished house to the finished base. Fill in any gaps between the house and the base with white glue and sprinkle on more glitter.



For this structure, Howard chose a bottle brush and a small Christmas tree ornament shaped like a snow man. Click for bigger photo.


 

Adding Additional Scenery


Add yard accessories such as a small figurine and a bottle-brush tree.
I like to use miniature Christmas tree ornaments such as a Santa, deer and snowmen. You may even choose to make you own accessories.
[Editor's note: I have seen cheap party favors and cake decorations that were also suitable - it's okay if your accessories look a little "tacky." For trees, some folks cut apart a loofah sponge and dip it into deep blue-green paint, wring it out, and let it dry to simulate the lichen-like organic material used on some of the original houses. - Paul]
When everything is glued together and the glue has dried, touch up any place that the glitter hasn't covered evenly.


Conclusion

You can see that, when you get to the gluing, painting, and glittering stages, there's a lot of "hurry up and wait." That's one reason many people who build modern putz house recreations work on two or three houses at the same time - you can work on the second house while the glue is setting on the first one, and so on.




If you are paying attention, you'll notice that the snowman from the photo of the finished project house above has traded places with the santa from the house from our title photo (center), and a new plastic snowman is now guarding our project house.  In the meantime, Santa has moved to a house we haven't seen yet in this article. I hope this just means that Howard doesn't have his accessories glued down yet, and that they're not playing 'musical houses' on their own. What this photo is supposed to show is that Howard doesn't exactly build these one at a time.   Click for bigger photo.

Click for bigger photo.


 

Bonus: Church Conversion Plans


When you're done with your first house, and thinking about the next project, here's an idea. Many glitterhouse sets had seven houses (often identical except for colors and accessories) and a church. If you want your glitterhouse collection to represent that tradition, you can use the plans below in addition to the plans and directions above to convert your next putz house into a church.

 



Click to see the full-sized plan.




As always you have two options for downloading and printing the plan:
If you do build a church, you'll find a stained glass window pattern you can use on Paul Race's Free Large Scale Signs and Graphics web page.
Also, if you find yourself looking for the old-fashioned celophane with gold windowframes printed on it, you'll find many choices at Papa Ted's Reproduction Parts page.
The following photos show the steps in building a church the same basic way you build the little glitterhouse above. Note that in this version of the project, Howard changed the shape of the windows and added two, but the basic process is the same.

Cut and score the building pieces according to the directions above.



 
Click for bigger photo.


 
Assemble the base and other sub-assemblies according to the directions above.



Click for bigger photo.




  Put the sub-assemblies together to check the fit. Once you are satisfied that they will look right together, prime the subassemblies with flat white paint, paint the subassemblies, glue the windows in place, and glue the subassemblies together.




Click for bigger photo.



  Finish with glitter and accessories according to the directions above.




Click for bigger photo.

 

CHRISTMAS IN SWITZERLAND!!!





    Imagine a white robed angel whose face is delicately hidden by a veil, held in place by a jeweled crown, walking into your families Christmas gift exchange. The glow of the candles on the tree enshroud his form with a beautiful orange glow, as he enters and hands out presents from the basket held by his child helpers. A bit different from a traditional American Santa stories, this Swiss traditional story of the Christkindli is a well-known tradition in Switzerland. Most Swiss children eagerly await the arrival of the Christ Child in his reindeer drawn sleigh to come bearing gifts for everyone.







 

    For the week preceding Christmas, kids in Switzerland dress up and visit others bearing small gifts. Bell ringing competitions between villages to call people to midnight mass have become common traditions, as have the gathering after the service for families to share giant homemade donuts (ringli) and hot chocolate.
    Because Switzerland's traditions stem mainly from 4 different cultures, Switzerland offers a wide variety of traditions and celebrations at Christmas time. Aside from native Swiss influences, Swiss Christmas times are also influenced by German, Italian, and French customs and traditions. Gifts are given by some on Christmas Eve, and by others on New Year's Day. Though many celebrate gifts brought by Christkindli, others believe the generous spirits of St. Nicholas or Father Christmas and his wife Lucy to be responsible for the gifts. The manger scene still holds significant symbolism and importance in heralding the arrival of Christ, but the Christmas tree is also an icon. Carols are sung by Sternsingers dressed as the Three Kings in 4 languages. It seems that Switzerland has remained neutral even in holiday spirit.









 
    Other holiday celebrations in Switzerland include the Chlaujagen Festival or the Feast of St. Nicholas, it is celebrated on December 6th. A procession of lifetrager parade down the street wearing huge illuminated lanterns shaped like Bishop's mitres on their heads. Regardless of which tradition a Swiss family follows, it would seem that Switzerland has the Christmas spirit. I imagine, Christmas in Switzerland must be quite romantic and fairy tale like. As the German speaking Swiss say, "Frohliche Weihnachten"!, or "Merry Christmas"!

CHRISTMAS IN CHINA!



   Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world. Both Hong Kong and Macau designate Christmas as a public holiday on December 25. Both are former colonies of Western powers with (nominal) Christian cultural heritage. But in China, December 25 is not a legal holiday. The one percent of Chinese citizens who consider themselves Christians unofficially, and usually privately, observe Christmas. But with the world becoming a global village, Christmas has now become a festive occasion for an increasing number of Chinese as well. It is worth noting how commercial Christmas decorations, signs, and other symbolic items have become increasingly prevalent during the month of December in large urban centers of mainland China, reflecting a cultural interest in this Western phenomenon, and, sometimes, as part of retail marketing schemes. Arrival of winter marks the celebration of Christmas in China. People decorate their homes with dazzling Christmas lights, beautiful Christmas tree and mouth watering Christmas recipes.




   In Chinese Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Sheng Dan Kuai Le or 圣诞快乐' in Mandarin and 'Seng Dan Fai Lok or 聖誕快樂' in Cantonese. 
   In China, Santa is known as 'Sheng dan lao ren' (Traditional: 聖誕老人, Simplified: 圣诞老人; means Old Christmas Man). Christmas trees are called "trees of light" and are also decorated with paper chains, paper flowers, and paper lanterns. Children hang up muslin stockings in hopes that Dun Che Lao Ren (China's Santa) will visit and fill them with presents. Stores have men dressed as Santa Claus handing out candy and waitresses with Santa hats. The booming commercialism which has spread outward from Beijing has been called a Chinese phenomenon. It started out as a friendly gesture or business ploy aimed at Christian visitors.
   Giving gifts is an integral part of the Christmas celebrations, and it is no exception in China. People exchange beautiful Christmas gifts with each other. These Christmas gift are the ideal way to express your love and care to the loved ones. Christmas celebrations signify spreading and happiness to the loved ones. In China, people begin their Christmas celebrations with beautiful Christmas decorations. Christmas




decorations usually incorporate lighting houses, using beautiful paper lanterns, paper flowers and lanterns. Another major highlight of Christmas celebrations are the local festivals in China. People participate in this festival. According to Chinese tradition, people go to Church. In China, the most important winter festival is Spring Festival. During this festival, children are gifted new clothes, mouth-watering meal, small toys and firecracker. Worshipping ancestors is the major part of this festival.
   Although Christianity is unofficial in China, there are an estimated 10 million baptized Christians (about 1 percent of the population) who celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas time. The popularity of midnight mass has grown so swiftly over the past few years that most Catholic churches can not hold the numbers who come out Christmas Eve. While Christmas Day is not a public holiday, Christmas celebrations are becoming more popular in China itself. Particularly in urban areas, one can find





Christmas trees, lights, and other decorations on the streets and in department stores. Attendance at Christmas Eve mass has also become more popular in recent years. With each passing year, the Chinese public is becoming more conscious about the significance of Christmas, and more and more people are beginning to participate and immerse themselves in the spirit of Christmas celebrations.

PEPPERMINT STICK WHITE CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOWS!

This simple, tastey treat comes to us from www.icingdesignsonline.blogspot.com.  Sometimes the simplest of thing give us the greatest pleasure.

 

Peppermint Stick White Chocolate Marshmallows!


Marshmallows are so versatile! There is always something you can do with them. Each year I love to make cookie platters for Christmas and I always include our marshmallow snowmen and another kind of dipped marshmallow! This year we tried something new and stuck a marshmallow on a peppermint stick and then dipped it in white chocolate and sprinkled with course sugar! This is actually extra tasty because as the peppermint stick sits in the marshmallow it infuses the peppermint taste into it! These would be really cute for a Christmas or holiday dessert table, all lined up! Hope you enjoy!






HOW TO MAKE 3D PAPER SNOWFLAKES!

This comes from www.wikihow.com .  These are really a neat looking idea to hang on your tree or at your annual holiday Christmas party.  Make alot or a little.



Make a 3D Paper Snowflake


This is a little more complicated than a two-dimensional paper snowflake, but it looks beautiful and is a suitable craft for children adept with scissors and patient in making crafts. It will produce a 6-armed three-dimensional snowflake decoration that makes a perfect tree decoration or window-hanger.