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Project Tutorials >

Miniature Paper Glitter Houses and Putz Village ~ An Embellishment Tutorial


These petite paper glitter houses are so fun to make! Simply assemble, paint, add glitter, snow and trees, embellish with a few European miniatures and display proudly.  Place miniature putz houses in mantel displays, under trees, or tuck into a wreath or the boughs of a Christmas tree.  Create an embellished wooden tree to place in the city center.  Let's make a scene!

Finished pieces are small. The towers in the Villagio set are just over 3" tall and 5-1/4" tall.  Wooden tree measures 3-3/4" tall.  Yellow house measures 3-3/4" tall and aqua cottage measures 3-1/8" tall.


Supply List:

Miniature Paper Houses (5 house set) and/or Miniature Paper Villagio (9 building set)

Wooden Trees

Paper Bases (we used BASE-01 and BASE-04)

Clear Glass Glitter

True Snow or Glitter Snow

Miniature Bottle Brush Trees

Spun Cotton Mushrooms, Miniature Gifts, Felt Teddy Bears

Various Paints (colors we used are noted below in Step 2)

Paint Brushes (Flat Brush, Small Flat Brush, Liner Brush, Brush to use with glue)

Aleene's Tacky Glue

Cotton Swabs

Gloves (for handling glass glitter)

Step 1: Assemble Houses

To assemble houses, separate from sheet, fold along score lines and glue along tabs.  Let dry.  The Villagio set is comprised of single pieces for each house or tower.   The Houses set is comprised of 1-3 pieces per house.

Step 2: Paint Houses

Paint houses to your liking.  Let dry.  Use a flat brush on roofs and walls and a liner brush to paint window and door trim.  We painted roofs in brown, burgundy or red; walls in various colors, and trim around windows and doors in gold.  Customize your village with a specific color scheme or use our multi-color palette as inspiration.

Specific paints used: Below, top row L-R: Craft Smart Wine (roofs), Craft Smart Brown (roofs, tree base), FolkArt Mossy Meadow (bases), FolkArt Villa Green (bases), FolkArt Clover (trees), Martha Stewart Crafts Scottish Highlands (trees), FolkArt Cafe Aulait (paths on bases).  Below bottom row L-R: Martha Stewart Crafts Habanero (roofs, walls), Martha Stewart Crafts Mint Chip (walls), Craft Smart Blue Cloud (walls), Folk Art Cool Bisque (walls), Martha Stewart Crafts Jet Stream (walls), Craft Smart Corn Silk (walls), FolkArt Daybreak (walls), Martha Stewart Crafts Gold (window and door trim, tree star).

Step 3: Paint Bases

Paint bases to your liking.  Let dry.


Step 4: Assemble and Paint Wooden Trees

Apply a thin bead of glue along the groove of a tree half.  Slide the other half into the slot to make the tree 3D.  Use a cotton swab to clean up any glue that bulges out.  Let dry.

Paint the tree and let dry.  We painted green all over, gold on the star and brown on the base.  Use a liner brush to make downward dashes in a lighter color of green.  Let dry.

Paint note: Trees look equally good with a darker green with lighter dashes and lighter green with darker dashes, both shown below right.  Both trees use paints in "Clover" and "Scottish Highlands."


Step 5: Glue Houses to Bases

Associate houses with bases and determine placement.  Houses can be configured scores of ways and look good as one house per base or groups of houses clustered together.  Take tree placement into consideration and leave enough space to glue trees later. 

The red house below is placed toward the back of the base to allow for two bottle brush trees in front.  The three colorful houses are staggered and grouped together at center back of a larger base to allow for two bottle brush trees at the sides.

When pleased with placement, glue in place and let dry.

Step 6: Paint Paths

Use a liner brush to paint paths coming from houses' front doors.  Let dry.

Step 7: Glue Wooden Trees to Bases

Wooden trees look good standing alone on a base or as a large front yard tree when paired with a house.  Both styles are shown below right. 
Glue trees in place and let dry completely.

For the tree alone, we used BASE-04 which allows room for decoration later.


Step 8: Lightly Glitter Houses and Wooden Trees

Paint an even coat of watered-down glue on houses and wooden trees.  A 50/50 mix of water to glue allows for a nice consistency.  Wearing a glove, sparingly sprinkle clear glass glitter over glue.  The goal is to have a very subtle shimmer and texture, not to heavily coat everything.  Tap off excess glitter and let dry.

Paint glue on mushroom caps and wooden gifts.  Again work sparingly: the goal is a light frost.  Let dry.


Step 9: Add Bottle Brush Trees

Glue bottle brush trees in place.  Let dry.


Step 10: Apply Snow

Using a small flat brush, apply snow to roof tops, on and around bottle brush trees, at corners of houses, on window sills, and on paths.  A light dabbing motion will deposit the snow better than a brushing motion.  Apply snow to wooden trees on branch edges and on base under branches as though snow has fallen off the tree.  Let dry completely (up to 24 hrs.).


Step 11: Add Mushrooms and Decorative Elements

Trim wire stems off mushrooms and felt teddy bear. 

To decorate around a wooden tree: cluster gifts, mushrooms and a felt bear in each section of the tree.  When pleased with arrangement, glue in place and let dry. 

We especially like the look of 1 mushroom + 2 gifts and 1 mushroom + 1 gift + 1 bear, both shown below left.
Fold the legs of the bear to make him "sit" so he is more closely integrated with the other decorative elements.  A gift can "lay" across his lap slightly.

To decorate houses: Place mushrooms to your liking and glue in place.  Let dry.

Mushrooms look good when... color coordinated with the house, placed near the door, emerging from snow, and tucked up close to trees.


A Few Examples to Inspire:

The yellow house, below left, features asymmetrical mushroom placement: a 7mm and a 10mm yellow mushroom tucked behind one of the bottle brush trees.  A bright and festive house that suits many tastes.

The blue house, below center, features a wooden tree with two mushrooms: a 14mm aqua coordinates with the house and a 7mm yellow peeks out from between the tree and house.  A sweet minimalist cottage.

The ivory village cluster, below right, features houses with the same color walls but each with a different roof color.  7mm cranberry mushrooms coordinate with the roofs and the three bottle brush trees lend balance.  A tiny classic and one of our favorites!


Another village cluster, below left, features multi colored houses arranged in an arc with 7mm cranberry mushrooms tucked at the edges.  For this village set we added four bottle brush trees, 2 in Medium Green + 2 in Dark Green, for a denser grouping.  The back view, below center, illustrates how mixing tree colors can add interest.

The pale blue cottage, below right, is a good example of mixing soft and bright colors.  The walls, roof and base are subtle while the Medium Green Trees and lone 7mm yellow mushroom add a pop of color and balance.  A charming and vintage-style humble abode!


The Full Sets:

For this project we decorated one complete set of Miniature Paper Houses (5 houses) and one complete set of Miniature Paper Villagio (9 buildings: 2 towers + 7 houses).  They look good in their respective sets as well as displayed mixed together.

Here is the set of 5 houses (plus 1 wooden tree):


Here is the Villagio set (plus 1 wooden tree):


Tips and Notes:

Regarding Bases: BASE-01 is a 5" x 3" oval that works well for clustering houses  together in groups as well as a scene of 1 house + 1 wooden tree.  BASE-02 is a small 40mm circle that would be best suited for just the tiniest houses from the Villagio set if arranged individually with one bottle brush tree; other houses are too large for this base.  BASE-03 is a 40mm circle also suited to smaller houses from the Villagio set.  BASE-04 is a 65mm round base that fits the 5 Houses well individually with room for bottle brush trees and also accommodates Villagio houses both in smaller clusters and larger pieces individually.  It is also our preferred base for individual wooden trees.

Both True Snow and Glitter Snow are lovely -- the Glitter Snow has the most subtle multi-color shimmer that catches the light beautifully and looks vintage.  Add snow to roofs and trees as it would fall in nature.

As the windows are quite small and there is no hole to accommodate a light, we left windows open -- no cellophane, no velum, no other window treatment.  Some of the buildings are very tiny and lining miniature windows would likely prove frustrating.  It could be charming to paint the insides of the houses a golden yellow if desired, but wholly unnecessary as most of the interiors are shadowed. 

We like having a stand-alone wooden tree with gifts below for setting a village scene.  Houses can be arranged to feature the tree in the city center.

A unitized look would be stunning! Pick a minimal color palette and paint all houses a similar color for a cohesive look.



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