Does anyone else convince their family, or at least the kids to do craft projects just because we feel too old to justify doing them without kids? I am completely guilty of this. I convinced (without much effort, I must say) the whole family to make paper houses together last night. The Prof even made one! The King said, ‘I don’t want to say this because you’ll remind me of it later, but this is more fun than watching a movie.’ High praise, indeed!
We used the pattern and accessories from Santa’s Post Bag (UK). They suggest making an advent calendar-town, which could be really cute, too. (Note: Santa’s Post Bag seems to be having some difficulty, but the site worked last night. There are more templates below, so try those if the site is down.) When made from card stock, the houses are sturdy enough for a 4 year old to play with them, but I don’t trust The Sage with them. Made at 100% size, they are a good size to use with matchbox cars or tiny dolls. Reduced to 80%, you can fit 2 on one page of card stock. I printed one of each template on card stock then cut them out. I then traced around them for each person’s house. The King (age 9) was able to cut them out, fold and glue with little help. He even used the exacto knife to cut out his tiny windows (as I nervously hoped we wouldn’t be going to the hospital). The Sage really enjoyed cutting and gluing onto his house that I cut and assembled. He thought making a house was pretty cool. Some of the accessories need tweaking. For example, the chimney needs flaps to help it attach to the house and I completely tossed the steps pattern and made my own (not recommended for sane people). We also made a separate roof (just measure, add 1/2 inch or so in both directions then cut and fold). Tracing paper or wax paper makes good windows. The wreaths were made by using a hole punch for the inside then cutting around it with scissors.
We have our houses sitting in the window and even though it is cloudy, The King’s is nicely lit because he made such a big window on the back. These could make a great centerpiece or place cards. They could also be used as Christmas ornaments (reduce them for this?). I have a vision of making some that reflect homes in China and India (some Wari painting on the outside, maybe), but have yet to think through this. I also want to make one that looks like our house.
This site lists lots of other templates for making paper houses from Martha Stewart (a little more complicated), another from Martha Stewart (less complicated) and Country Home. You can also print full color vehicles and town buildings (even an airplane) from Canon Europe. Finally, she lists a Japanese site with amazing, wonderful, absolutely terrific, full-color doll houses, pop-up cards, animals, etc. Yes, it is in Japanese, but all you have to do is click on the picture or long oval beside or below it that you want (you can preview it before printing, so just guess and look around). No translation required. So different, yet so much the same as the doll houses mom and I made from Coca-Cola boxes.
Space Station 42 has a very extensive list of buildings and structures you can print and assemble including historic buildings. I plan to print some of the farm buildings for The Sage. You can even make Neuschwanstein Castle!
Sticksite has templates for several different types of houses, including split-levels, houses with attached garages, etc. Last, but far from least is The Toy Maker (who also has some interesting books you may want to look at). She has many, many paper models (some in full color, some for you to color) you can print and assemble including otter paper dolls, cars, a panda palace, and many holiday items (even for Diwali).
We all had a great deal of fun with this project, even The Prof who doesn’t do many crafty things. These projects also provide great practice cutting, gluing carefully, following directions and turning a 2-d object into a 3-d object (of course The King insists that everything is 3-d because even paper has a thickness).