We are getting closer to Halloween…and miniature haunted houses! Both a good friend and one of my sisters goes crazy decorating for Halloween so I try to introduce at least one new Halloween house each year that they can add to their collection.
This year, in addition to a pattern I am still in the process of developing, I decided to add a haunted house designed by Lucy Foxworth and offered for free on her website Paper Glitter Glue. If you haven’t visited Lucy’s blog you are missing out. Lucy started making miniature houses as a fundraiser for various charities. She made this one, based upon an actual vintage home in a historic district in Upstate SC, for a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser.
Join along with me as I make the Habitat Spooky Halloween House. I will be scaling the Habitat Spooky Halloween House to fit with the Tim Holtz Village dies.
Originally, Lucy only offered her patterns in PDF format. I admired them, but with aluminum cans, I need either steel cut dies or the blade of my Cricut Maker to round the edges of the cans. Cutting out a PDF pattern with shears might have left the edges too sharp. Then in early 2019 Lucy took Jennifer Maker’s A Cut Above Design Course to learn how to make SVG patterns for her paper houses. Slowly, she has been converting her pdf files to SVGs, as well as introducing new patterns. After reading her blog post about taking the course I took it too, then launched this website.
This Is How I Made the Habitat Spooky Halloween House
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Habitat Spooky Halloween House Specific Materials
Favorite Materials Supply List
- Cardstock, Cardboard (Kraft Board), 30 point Chipboard, or Aluminum Can – your choice!
- Translucent Vellum or pictures to go in the windows.
- Glue – If using cardstock, I suggest Bearly Art Glue or Art Glitter Glue. For aluminum cans, I use Aleene’s The Ultimate Glue. For cardboard or chipboard houses, I like Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. I put it in a bottle with a thin metal tip.
- If using chipboard or kraft colored cardboard, start with a base of either Liquitex white gesso or black gesso as primer.
- Decorative papers (optional – for cardboard.)
- Multi-surface satin finish acrylic paints or Ranger Distress Inks or Distress Crayons (for cardboard or cardstock.) Both the FolkArt and the Craftsmart paint brands work equally well. If you use distress inks, make sure they dry thoroughly before handling the pieces or you will have stained fingers. I speak from experience.
- Glitter Gel Pens. I love these for coloring in small details. The company also carries another set with metallic, neon and fluorescent gel pens.
- Tim Holtz Texture Paste or Tim Holtz Distress Grit Paste to make brick or stone chimneys, walls or sidewalks. I actually prefer grit paste as it makes my stonework look rougher or more craggy than texture paste.
- Stencils to use with the texture or grit paste to make stone or brickwork. Be careful to buy or make stencils that fit the scale of your building. For brickwork I often use the Honey Bee Salvaged Bricks stencil or the Stretcher Bricks stencil I cut myself. For stonework I usually use either the Chimney Stone stencil I made myself, or the Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Mini Set #28 Stencils.
- Bone folder (optional, but strongly suggested) A bone folder helps you make sharp folds when you are using cardstock or cardboard. I have found it even helps with aluminum cans. I now use my bone folder to deepen score lines all the time.
- A Cutting Machine like a Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore
- A hand-held craft blade like an X-Acto knife or Cricut TrueControl Knife. I also have a hand-held knife called the Excel Knife. It is nice in that it uses the cheaper craft blades, but the blade doesn’t work its way loose like the blade in my X-Acto knife often does. You will also need a cutting mat or a glass media mat to cut on.
- Metal Edged Ruler with cork backing
- An Embossing Machine and folders.
Steps to Make the Habitat Spooky Halloween House
- Download the Habitat Spooky Halloween House pattern from the Paper Glitter Glue website
- Size the pattern
- Make any adjustments to the pattern
- Cut out the pattern – I use my Cricut Maker
- Texture the pieces (necessary if using aluminum cans.) I use my Sizzix Bigkick
- Glue on window frames, then attach vellum windows
- Assemble the house structure, including deviations to the order that Lucy glues together the Habitat Spooky Halloween House
- Make base and decorate as desired
How To Make The Habitat Spooky Halloween House
Download the Habitat Spooky Halloween House Pattern
First, download the Habitat Spooky Halloween House pattern from the Paper Glitter Glue website. Don’t forget to unzip it. The pattern is available as a SVG (scalable vector graphics) but Lucy also offers it as a PDF or a DXF file if you need them.
If you are using a Cricut machine, remember to change the solid score lines in Cricut Design Space from cut to score and attach them to their shapes before sending them through your cutting machine. Lucy has a post explaining how to do so on her website.
Size The Pattern
As a first step I always make a pattern in the size provided by the designer out of multiple colors of 65 lb cardstock. Since the cardstock comes in 8.5″ x 11″. set the material size in Cricut Design space to letter before cutting.
As a next step I line up my model with several Original Tim Holtz village houses. Though the Original Tim Holtz houses themselves aren’t perfectly to scale, your eye will tell you right away if the cottage fits in or not. In this case, I feel the house is too large.
If the building size is off, I take a picture of the model from the front, trying to be perfectly level. I import the picture into my photo editing software, delete the background, and set the picture to the same size as the cottage. I then start reducing (or increasing it), printing out the picture and propping it up between the Tim Holtz village cottages until I am happy with the size.
The Habitat Spooky Halloween House was one of the first patterns Lucy converted, and the program both of us use to make SVGs can sometimes be quirky. I found that the SVG files import into Cricut Design Space at a different size than Lucy’s PDF files. The PDF files are 95% of the size of the SVG files. I tried reducing the size of the files to 95% but still felt that the building was too large. A lot of this will be based upon YOUR taste. Ultimately, I liked 85% of the original SVG files.
Sometimes you may want to adjust the height of the building without adjusting the width. Or in this case I wanted to adjust the height and width of the house the same amount, but wanted to keep the window frames closer to the same width and only reduce the height 85%, and the doors even less. Play around with the sizing until you are satisfied. Then measure the house size you arrived at vs the house size you started with.
These are the measurements I decided on:
- Building pieces, roofs, shingles and fences: scale all to 85% of original
- Door and 3 small window frames: 95% original width, change height to 92% of original
- All other window frames: 98% original width, change height to 85% of original
Update: now that I finished the house, next time I may make the window frames 95% wide instead of 98%.
To scale the building pieces, roofs, shingles and fences, you can scale each of them separately, or instead drag them all together and highlight all of the items you want to change. When you want to scale both the height and width the same amount, make sure the little lock between the width and height bars is locked. Then multiply one of the measurements by the percentage you want to change. In this case I multiplied the width of 11.411 by .85 to get 9.699. Change the amount in the width bar to 9.699 to change the scale. Notice that the height will change by the same percentage.
For the door and 3 small window frames, I highlighted them all, UNLOCKED the lock, then multiplied the width of 2.15 by .98 to get 2.107 and height of 1.7 by .92 to get 1.564 and typed that in. This time the height changed more than the width. Repeat with the other windows, but multiply the width by .98 and the height by .85.
Once you think you have the sizing right, cut out the building again at this new size using the 65 lb cardstock. Test once again against your existing buildings.
Make Any Adjustments To The Pattern
Traditional Putz houses were popular in the late 1920s and 30s. To light them from inside, the backs usually had a large hole in them so that a light bulb could be inserted. Lucy followed that design with the Habitat Spooky Halloween House. I, on the other hand, started my collection with the Original Tim Holz Village Dies, where the light is inserted from the bottom. I wanted to to make a back that would look like a real building instead of one with a large hole. Luckily, this is easy in Design Space. I started with Lucy’s back piece and welded a rectangle to it to eliminate the hole.
I then sliced several rectangles out of it to make windows and doors. I wasn’t that careful to align them as it is a Halloween house!
I also was very confused by the piece below on the right until I finally realized Lucy provides it as an alternate roof to the front extension in case you don’t want a peaked roof. I did, so I deleted the piece.
Lastly, the cans I wanted to use were not wide enough to allow me to cut Lucy’s front in one piece, so I had to slice off one side and cut it from a separate can.
Cut Out the Pattern
Cut out all of your cardstock, cardboard or aluminum can pieces using the pattern. If you are using cardboard and don’t intend to paint or make crackle siding like in Lucy’s tutorial, you might want to cut out each piece a second time from decorative Halloween papers which you can then glue to the cardboard.
I really liked the look Lucy achieved with her crackle siding, but I couldn’t think of a way to get the same look with aluminum cans without painting them. I decided to use a Halloween themed can instead and texture it to make siding lines. Since cutting out the pieces, I have figured out a way to get the crackle look of the siding using aluminum cans. While I decided to continue with this building without siding, the next time I make one of Lucy’s siding houses I will actually cut the siding.
Texture The Pieces
I had planned on using just the Sizzix Notebook embossing folder by Tim Holtz to make siding-type lines on my house walls, but once I figured out how to make crackle siding I decided to go ahead and create the crackle look on my building, though I didn’t actually cut the siding strips.
First, I ran each of the body pieces through my BIGKick using the Sizzix Notebook embossing folder by Tim Holtz. Then, I ran them through again using the Crackle embossing folder by Darice, making sure that peaks of the crackle were on the outside of the building. Then, I rubbed side 6: Buff Nails, of the 7 Way Nail File and Buffer Block over those peaks. This gently rubbed some of the color off the cans, crating an aged look.
I used the Sizzix Collage embossing folder by Tim Holtz that comes in the set with the Notebook embossing folder to texture the window frames, doors and porch railings. Then I ran them through a second time sandwiched between two cutting pads. This flattens the impression made by the embossing folder but still leaves enough of an impression that it makes the window frames look aged. I used this same embossing folder to texture the roof shingles, running the through just once so they had a lot of texture.
Lastly, I used the Old Fashioned Bricks embossing folder for the chimney.
Glue On Window Frames, Then Attach Vellum Windows
Glue on all of the window frames and the back door. You can add them after you put the building together, but it is much easier to add while the walls are flat. The only door I didn’t glue on now was the front door. That one needs to be glued on after you attach the porch.
Use the 1/8″ double sided adhesive tape to attach the vellum window pieces to the inside of the building pieces. Once again, this is much easier while the walls are flat.
Assemble The House Structure – Including Deviations to the Order Lucy Glues Together the Habitat Spooky Halloween House
After making the building twice out of cardstock while sizing it, and having problems with the porches, I changed the order of how I glued the pieces together.
Fold along the score lines. Glue the tabs on the front and back pieces of the house together. Fold the angled front extension and glue the flaps down, but don’t glue it to the front of the building yet. Fold the porches and glue their tabs together. Lastly, determine the height you will glue the upper porch onto the building and cut your pillars to the size between the bottom and top porch. I cut mine to just shy of 1 3/4 inches. Fold and glue together.
I added a bottom insert piece into the bottom of the building as it squares and stiffens up the walls. I just made a rectangle with a circle cut out of it for the tealight.
Next, I glued the bottom porch onto the front of the building, aligning it with the corner. You should now glue on the front door. I forgot to do so and had a harder time adding it after I had attached the top porch.
Glue the front extension to the front of the house, pushing it up tight against the lower porch.
Add the main roof, centering the roof on the building. Lucy suggests test fitting it over the front extension and trimming it a little bit if you need to. I ended up needing to cut the notch in the roof overhang a bit deeper.
Glue on the triangle piece to the top of the front extension, then the extension roof.
Add the shingles to the roof. I shingled the back of the main roof first, then the extension roof, and lastly the front main roof. Shingle from the bottom edge of the roof up to the peak.
To finish the porch, glue the porch posts to the bottom porch, then glue the top porch on top of them. Don’t worry if it is perfectly level. This is a rickety Halloween house! You may want to intentionally make the posts crooked. Attach the railings.
Glue on the chimney.
Make Base and Decorate As Desired
For the Habitat Spooky Halloween House I start with a rectangle of aluminum 5 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches deep. I cut a small circle under where the cottage will sit, then texture the base using the Brick Wall embossing folder by Darice, and turn under 1/4 inch on each side. This allows me to string fairy lights under the bases of the different buildings in my village. I then used Lucy’s bat fence and various cutting dies with my BIGKick to decorate the base.
I add glitter tape to many of my Halloween embellishments to add extra sparkle.
Enjoy making the Habitat Spooky Halloween House! I would love to see your finished design. Please share a photo of it with me by emailing me at Jackie@acottageintheforest.com or tagging me (@acottageintheforest) on Instagram
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