Guest Designer Gerard Van Kerckhoven: Make Your Own Sears House

It is past time for me to share a pattern from another guest designer. I first became aware of Belgium designer Gerard Van Kerckhoven when he shared several of his designs in Facebook groups in which we are both members. Like me, Gerard is often inspired by pictures of actual buildings. For this design, Gerard used an ad for a 1916 Sears catalog home. Look at the price of the house!

I did a little research on the Sears houses myself. Sears would ship the entire house to you by railroad car, including nails and screws, paint and roof shingles, windows and doors, woodwork, staircases, and mantelpieces. Often times friends and family would come from all around to help the owner build it. Sears sold more than 70,000 mail-order homes between 1908 and 1940, and it has been estimated that about 70% of them are still standing today.

The house in the ad was offered from 1913 to 1933, and was named the Woodland in the 1923 catalog. Here is a picture of one of the Woodland houses still standing today.

(Photo: Charles Steck)

Gerard designs using CAD, so there is a bit of translation needed to make the patterns work for a Cricut or Silhouette machine. I made the score lines red, and changed Gerard’s base a bit. He had the house slotted into the base, which works great if you know what size cardstock you will always use, but I wanted to add more flexibility to use anything from medium cardstock to cardboard. I also made myself a roof over the dormer window. and sides for the steps, so I included those patterns.

I asked Gerard to write a little something about himself and his pattern:

Greetings from Belgium.

I am Gerard Van Kerckhoven and I live in Belgium, in the Province Antwerp, in the commune of Booischot. I am 79 years old. My profession was electro-technician.  About 7 years ago, I had problems in my back, and I had a medical operation. Because of that, I could no longer do heavy activities. I found on the internet the possibility of an “electronic cutter”. After searching for different brands, I decide to buy myself an “GCC-iCraft” -cutter. So, the crafting-adventure was started. In the beginning, I had to learn about the cut-files, cutting & assembling. My first items were made by files, bought via SVG-Cuts & Dreaming Tree.

After a while, I decided to draw my files myself. I was already a long-time user of CAD-software. And the cut-files were coming soon. During these 7 years, I made a lot of cardstock items: especially little houses, some building tools (cranes, bulldozer, etc.). Also real houses from our commune were made. So this was how I became interested in cardstock houses.

Gerard

Below is Gerard’s model of the Sears House, as well as of a castle he designed inspired by the “Hof Ter Laeken” at Booischot (Belgium).

This Is How You Make The Sears House

Size of the finished building as designed will be approximately 3 1/2″ W x 5 1/2″ D x 5″ H. I consider this an intermediate pattern.

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The Sears House Pattern Specific Materials

  • The free pattern for the Sears House from the A Cottage in the Forest Library. Design #71. Get the password for free by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

Favorite Materials Supply List

Steps to Make the Sears House

  • Download the Sears House pattern from A Cottage in the Forest library.
  • Import the Sears House pattern into your design software.
  • Cut out the pattern – I use my Cricut Maker. Texture if desired.
  • Fold the body of the house.
  • Glue on the window frames and doors. Attach vellum windows.
  • Make the Back Wall of the house
  • Glue together the body of the house.
  • Add the bottom insert.
  • Glue on the roof.
  • Attach the Front Porch Roof and Stairs
  • Make base and decorate as desired.

How To Make the Sears House

Download the Sears House Pattern

Download the Sears House pattern from A Cottage in the Forest Library. It is Design #71. Don’t forget to unzip it. The pattern is available in multiple formats – as a SVG (scalable vector graphics), DXF (drawing eXchange format), as a studio3 file for Silhouette, or as PDF file. I now include a 1″ square in with all of my SVG, DXF and Studio3 files. Scale the pattern so that the square is 1″ to make the building in the size it was designed. Of course the wonderful thing about SVG files is that you can easily scale them to make your building whatever size you would like.

Choose between whether you want a regular back with the light hole at the bottom of the building (this is the option I make below) or if you want to use the Putz Back, where the light hole is in the back of the building.

Import the Sears House Pattern into Design Software

As of this blog post, a Cricut Design Space update in 2021 broke the attached score and draw lines. You will need to go through the pattern in Design Space and change the score lines to Score and then attach them to their object. I am still designing so that if some day Design Space fixes their problem, score lines and drawings import as actual score lines and drawings attached to their object, though I have pretty much lost hope of that ever happening.

Here is a great tutorial from Jennifer Maker’s website on attaching score lines. I make all of my score lines red so that you can tell that they are intended to be score lines.

Cut out Your Pattern

Cut out all of your cardstock, Kraft Board or aluminum can pieces using my pattern. If you are using cardboard and don’t intend to glue glitter or decorative papers onto your house, I suggest visiting Lucy Foxworth’s blog at Paper Glitter Glue where Lucy explores multiple other ways to decorate your cardboard house.

Refer to the PDF I included with the SVG pattern for the name of each of the pieces you need to cut out. Texture your pieces using your embossing machine and texture folders if desired.

**Note: Gerard designed the house so most of the porch railings are attached to the buildings. This is fine if you want the railing the same color as the house or are going to paint your railings, but if you are using cardstock and want the railings a different color, you will want to cut them separately. I have included an alternative sides file where I detached the porch railings so that you can cut them separately. Since I used cardstock I used this alternative file for my model below.

Fold the Body of the House

Fold each of the body pieces towards the back or inside (mountain folds.) The Back and Back Side Wall have both mountain and valley folds. Do not fold on the score line at the bottom of each of the walls. That score line is used for placement.

Emboss, paint or otherwise decorate your walls. I made fake siding for my walls by scoring them with a bone folder and mini scoring board, but you can just use a ruler.

Glue on the Window Frames and Doors. Attach Vellum Windows.

Glue all window frames and the doors in place.

Glue the vellum in place if you are using it. 

Make the Back Wall of the House

Glue in the side wall of the back porch. Then attach the porch roof piece by gluing it on flat. The folded tabs of the roof piece will be used later to help hold the roof in place.

Glue Together the Body of the House

Glue the body together. When you glue the right side to the back, trap the back porch railing between the back and the side if you used the alternative sides file. Glue on the second back porch railing.

Glue on the front porch. Attach the front porch railing to the front of the porch.

Attach the foundation strips, using the score lines at the bottom of the walls as placement lines. I used one strip for the left side and back, and the other for the right side and front. Use your ruler or pliers to get a good sharp fold at the corner. Cut off any excess foundation.

Add the Bottom Insert

Check the fit of the bottom insert piece, adjusting any of the fold lines as necessary. You may need to trim the corners. Glue in the bottom insert piece now as it will help to help to stiffen and square the walls of the building. The notches in the bottom insert go under the wall where the front porch is glued to the building.

Glue On The Roof

Glue the dormer window and the chimney into the holes in the roof, pushing through from the bottom of the roof and gluing the tabs onto the underside of the roof.

Glue the roof together, then onto the house. Glue on the dormer roof. Shingle if desired.

Attach the Front Porch Roof and Stairs

Fold and glue together the front porch roof and the porch columns. While I used only two columns, I include four in case you want to use more. Either glue the columns inside the railings, or you can trim away the railings and glue to the columns.

Fold the stairs and glue them together. I filmed a video of how to make miniature stairs that can be found on my YouTube channel. **Note: if you really have trouble folding stairs, my friend Cheryl came up with a great alternative. She cuts little square wood dowels to size and glues them together to use instead.** Fold and glue together the front stair posts and glue them on either side of the stairs. Glue the narrow stairs below the back door.

Glue on the tops of the porch railings. They may need to be cut down a little bit to fit.

Make Base and Decorate As Desired

Enjoy making the Sears House! I would love to see your finished design. Please share a photo of it with me by emailing me at Jackie@acottageintheforest.com.

MAKER’S GALLERY FOR SEARS HOUSE

Sears House by Sheila Logan
Sears House by Ann Humphrey Woods

FREE CUT FILES & PATTERN FOR SEARS HOUSE

Download the Sears House Pattern

LIKE THIS DESIGN? PLEASE CONSIDER LEAVING A TIP TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT.

Get the password for the library with the free Sears House pattern and SVG/DXF/PDF/Studio3 files here by filling out this form:

If you have any trouble subscribing please contact me at jackie@acottageintheforest.com

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