Thursday, August 18, 2016

Decorative Antiqued Silver Houses - From Recycled Cardboard

Once, long ago, I made some teeny little silver house ornaments, using recycled cardboard.  These new ones are a bit bigger, with a fresh technique and several different uses.  And...antiqued!

They can still be used as ornaments, but they are also fun turned into fridge magnets...

...or greeting cards...

...or standing up anywhere: your mantel, a side table, even the kids' room, hee hee.

They are eco friendly and so fun to make.  For tools, all you need are scissors, a pencil and wire cutters.  Materials:

-cardboard scraps
-aluminum duct tape
-double-stick tape
-shoe polish
-craft wire

Ready?  Here comes the DIY!

Cut a little house from scrap cardboard.

Roughly cut out a tiny a cardboard door and some windows.  They don't need to be straight or the same size!  Lay down short strips of double stick tape, then stick down the doors and windows.

Cover the front with duct tape.

Trim away most of the extra tape.  Cut slits at the corners so you can fold down the excess in back.  It will probably look something like this:

You can cover the exposed cardboard with more tape - but only if you plan on seeing the back.

Lightly burnish down the tape around the cardboard cutouts, using something rounded like a pen cap (or just your finger.)

Now to etch in the details.  Use a blunt pencil or a ball-point pen - very sophisticated tools, eh?  Outline the raised door and windows first.  Then add cross-hatched windowpanes, a doorknob and roof tiles.  Maybe a few bricks on the chimney.

Remember, you are going for cute and rustic, not precision architectural drafting.  Mistakes are okay.

Make a wire smoke plume, to look something like this:

(For the detailed smoke plume tutorial, go here.)

Bend some curves in the wire stem, and tape it to the back of your chimney like so:

And that, my dears, is a super cool shiny silver house!   Adorable.

If you like, you can stop right there.  I actually love the shiny silver version as-is.

But wait, there's more.  The antiquing step is next, and it's so simple.  Just rub on some solid shoe polish, then buff it out until you have the amount of antique finish you like.  See the difference:

To make an attached stand, cover a scrap of cardboard with silver tape, then attach it to the house with more tape forming a hinge.  Here you can see the stand in the mirror:

Here's one more thought I just have to share: a wonderful gift idea.  Make a replica of a real house, and present it to the owner!  Wouldn't it be awesome for someone moving into a new home?  Or a senior who is moving to a smaller place?  Yes, it would.

To make a replica house, refer to a photo of the house front, and approximate the main features with your cardboard cut outs.  Then proceed as above for a custom mini house!

Well, that's the dealio!  Hope you like it.

Thanks for coming by, friends; see you another day.

P.S. If you made one, what would you do with your mini house?



  1. Too cute! I absolutely want to make some of them just for me! For Christmas decorating, I think...

    1. Thank you, Centi! I am happy with them, they are a little more intricate and real looking than the old version. Thanks for the sweet comment!

  2. OH my goodness Mich - these are adorable. Such a simple idea - absolutely brilliant!!!!! You're a genius!

  3. Mich, I am always in awe upon seeing your wondrous creations!!! Amazing houses! I would love to have one of these hanging on my Christmas tree and a magnet also comes into consideration! Love your housewarming gift idea!

  4. These are so adorable!!! I really like the addition of the shoe polish antiquing, it brings out all the sweet details.
    LOVE them!

  5. Mich, you are not a genius, you are evil! I'm trying so hard to edit my enormous hoard of crafty materials, so I can fit into my crappy little apartment (sorry for the negativity) and you come along with project after project that I cannot resist. Well, I realize that is my agenda, not yours, and I'm still immensely grateful for the wonderful projects you come up with. I've disposed of a number of interesting bits that I'd have loved to send to you (like tiny little plastic forks for spearing some kind of small tidbits that called out to be made into jewelry) but I know you find plenty of your own treasures. Anyway, from a long-time, fairly quiet follower, you are actually a genius (or maybe we're kindred spirits) and I need to say thanks. So, danke, merci, etc. from Kate in Oregon

    1. Well, you just made my week, month, year! Thank you, Kate, it's always so awesome to hear from the 'quiet' followers, and that is the kindest comment I've had in a month of Michaels coupons. Well, I'm very sorry to contribute to enabling your crafty habit, but at least in this case the project is flat so you can't say it will fill up your house. I am miserably bad at throwing things out: I have a basement full of 'someday' tidbits, plus some huge under-bed boxes where I hide my shame.

      So happy you got inspired by this one, I hope you make some! Love, Mich

  6. Oh Wow, These are so cute. I am glad to see how nicely you have photographed these cute silver houses. Perfect tutorial..

    1. Awww, thank you, my dear Kiran! And thanks for the compliment, I do like the photo with the monster. Rrawwwr!

  7. That's a great idea for a mantel decoration! A very sophisticated one!

    1. Hi, Zografia! That is nice to hear because I admire your decor sense. I am not usually working along sophisticated lines, normally I describe my style as goofy, eclectic or weird. But I am happy to take the compliment! Thanks for the sweet comment.

  8. Great project Mich and wonderful for all ages. A whole village would be fabulous! thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  9. this is really great idea!!! love their metallic look!! thanks for sharing