Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bunnies in the Garden - Springtime Putz House

Springtime Windmill Putz House - the Miller's Place

Please join my on my new blog - where this project is included with more already added. Thank you. I hope to see you there.

Springtime Little Glitter house - Bunnies in the Garden
Bunnies in the Garden Springtime at the Miller's Place - Spring season putz house

I am always experimenting with different shapes for glitter houses or Putz houses. I made a house 2 years ago based on the shape of Candy Corn because I had never seen a house based on this concept. Below is my favorite. It sits on a round base where the top that comes off to put treats inside. My first attempt at polymer candy decorates the base.

Candy Corn Glitter house
The Candy Corn house from Halloween 2015

Later, I wondered if this shape could be modified into a different house - what about a windmill? Since Spring is on the way, I modified the house to look Springy with bunnies in the garden. That also fits with the theme of this week's Simon Says Stamp Challenge "In My Garden" though the bunnies are in the Miller's garden.  That is the house at the top of the page - Bunnies in the Garden, Springtime at the Miller's place.

Making the Bunnies in the Garden Springtime at the Miller's Place House

There are number of fun things about making this cardboard house - the overall shape, the stone surface, the rotating windmill blades, the roof, and the bunnies in the garden.

Here is a summary of the steps for making the house:
  1. Make the shape of the house
  2. Paint the house, stencil the stone surface
  3. Glue the house together and adhere the roof and shingles
  4. Make the base
  5. Glue the house to the base and make the border

There are number of fun things about making this cardboard house - the overall shape, the stone surface, the rotating windmill blades, the roof, and the bunnies in the garden. I'll start with the overall shape.

Cardboard cutouts for the Miller's Place house. See how the roof is scored so it will bend around the curve at the top.

1. Make the shape of the house

The overall shape makes a unique house that works pretty well as a windmill, though I think the windmill blades need to be larger. When you cut out a house like this it is very important to make sure that the front and back curves match. If you don't, then wonkiness rears its mismatched head. I managed to cut these out so they are very symmetrical and the roof fits on nicely.

I only cut out one window on the front because I didn't want a window behind the windmill blades. Also, the door was made separately and glued on. If you don't have to cut out a door so that light shines through it, don't cut it out. The cardboard house becomes a little less structurally sound if you have a cut at the bottom of the house. I always include the hole in the back as a tribute to old fashioned Putz houses that used the hole for lighting.

2. Paint the house and stencil the stone surface

Stone stenciled on the back of the Putz Windmill house
You can see the first stones that I drew which bled through. I thought they looked pretty good for contrast. For some reason I always stencil better on the back than the front.  I always try to paint the glued seam to disguise it as seen on the right side.

The cardboard was painted with white gesso as the first layer then gesso mixed with Antique Linen Distress Paint and sand for the second layer. The sand gives the house a lovely texture that is perfect to mimic a stone surface.

I made this stone surface just as I did the Stone Stenciled Clock House. Before gluing the house together, I used the Tim Holtz mini stone stencil by Stampers Anonymous to stencil the surface with various shades of brown and grey. I used the Distress Oxides - Walnut Stain, Frayed Burlap and Hickory Smoke. I did try to draw some stones first with Distress pens, but they didn't look right so I painted over them. The paint bled through the gesso which I left because I kind of liked the effect. There were some places where I didn't stencil effectively and you couldn't see the distinction between the individual stones so I painted more obvious mortar lines with Antique Linen distress paint.

3. Glue the house together and adhere the roof and shingles

Side view of the Miller's Place Putz house roof shingles
Staggered rooftop pieces were painted and distressed, then glued to the roof. 

Side view of the Miller's Place Putz house roof shingles and the bunny border
Side view of the Miller's Place Putz house showing the bunny border and the  roof shingles

After the stenciling, the house was glued together where the tab is located in the back. In order to make the roof curve to fit the pattern, the underside of the cardboard was scored in parallel lines to make it more flexible. Then I used my thumbs  to bend the cardboard in a U-shape to fit the shape of the house. I applied liberal amounts of Aileen's Fast Grab glue to the edge of the house and situated the roof piece on the house. Finally I used painter's tape to hold the roof in place while the glue dried. After the house was glued together, I glued the window shape on the window opening and glued the door on.

The roof shingles were made from the Tim Holtz rooftop die. I painted the roof pieces with hickory smoke and distressed with various brown distress oxides. I started at the bottom of the roof and layered each level of shingles until I got to the curved top of the roof. I curved the last couple of layers, then left a small gap until they levels almost touched. Then I curved a piece of a painted cardboard on the top as the ridge cap.

Miller's place putz house windmill blades rotating on a brad in the center
Miller's Place Windmill rotates on a brad in the center.  A small Idea-ology gear  provides a stable base for the brad.

If you want a windmill to rotate, make a small hole in top part of the house where you want the windmill to be centered. Also make sure the front roof edge doesn't extend past the edge of the house so the windmill blades can rotate. And finally you need to realize that if you have a moving part on your little house, children will play with it. They will probably play with the house no matter what, but a moving part makes it even more compelling to a child. I used a small brad that was long enough to go through the layers of cardboard to allow the windmill to rotate.

4. Make the base 

Six layers of corrugated cardboard were glued together with hot glue. To cover the rough cardboard edges, torn strips of white scrap paper were glued on with collage medium. The base for this house is small about 4" x 3" because this is an experimental seasonal house. It does have a square cut on in the center large enough for an LED light to fit inside to light up the window. 

I painted the base with Mowed Lawn Distress Paint because I love this green. It is so perfect for a Springtime house.

5. Glue the house to the base and make the border

The house was then glued in place with the Fast Grab glue. I dyed some moss with Mowed Lawn Distress Spray stain and glued that around the house. Another really fun part was making the bunnies in the garden. I made border using an old Martha Stewart edge punch by punching 3 strips and gluing them together. The grass around the bunnies was painted Mowed Lawn green and then adhered to the sides of the base.

And that's it - the Bunnies in the Garden Springtime Putz House - a fun project for this time of year. I will be sharing this project with the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge "In My Garden". I hope you enjoyed reading about the process and can take some inspiration from it.

What do you think about the Candy Corn shape as a windmill house? I will be posting 2 more Candy Corn houses in about a week so you can compare the designs. Thank you for reading.


  1. What a fabulous project, this is amazing and I love how you've created such fantastic detail and texture on the walls and roof! Thank you so much for sharing and for playing along with us over on the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog... x

  2. I am so intrigued by your creations. How can I follow you? I don't see the option, only email subscription.

    1. Anne, I am trying to start a new blog on the same topics so I haven't worked on getting followers on this blog. I post about once a week if you are interested and want to stop by. I will let you know when I get my new blog going. I love making little houses and am happy to share what I learn. Thank you for your comments.

  3. Lucy you are a genius! What fabulous work on these projects! Hugs!