Make Your Own Fish & Chips Shop

Fish & Chips Pinterest Pin

Perhaps it was the year I spent living in England when I was a teenager, but I am extraordinarily fond of fish & chips. So when a customer reached out to me, explaining that their family owns a fish & chips shop in Dublin and that they wanted a replica to join their existing Lemax village, I was up for the challenge. This replica was demanding as it is a different scale than I usually work with and really reached the maximum size I could make with aluminum cans. I actually offered to make it from cardboard instead of cans but they liked the uniqueness of the aluminum cans (thank goodness, as I can’t paint.)

Of course I also had in the back of my mind that I could scale and simplify the pattern a bit, and offer it here when I was done. While the building itself is a fairly basic rectangle, it does give me the opportunity to introduce some new elements like exploring different ways to make shop signs, printing and drawing on vellum, and joining together two story buildings of different material or textures. And of course, the picnic tables with patio umbrellas are just the cutest embellishment.

Below is the custom order fish & chips shop I finished, as well as pictures of the real building.

Borza Fish & Chips and actual building in Dublin
Borza Fish & Chips and actual building in Dublin

If you aren’t fond of fish, this building and the embellishments work well for many other fast food restaurants too. Change the sign and it could easily be a burger joint, or a deli, or a taqueria. Let your imagination run wild!

This post will focus on making the building. Next week’s post will include the embellishments including the picnic benches with patio umbrellas, planters, and litter cans.

This Is How You Make the Fish & Chips Shop

Size of the finished building as designed will be approximately 4 1/4″ W x 2 1/4″ D x 3 1/4″ H. These measurements do not include the size of the base.


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Fish & Chips Shop Pattern Specific Materials

Favorite Materials Supply List

Steps to Make the Fish & Chips Shop

  • Download the Fish & Chips Shop pattern from A Cottage in the Forest library
  • Import the Fish & Chips Shop pattern into your design software
  • Make the shop sign
  • Cut out the pattern – I use my Cricut Maker
  • Texture the pieces (necessary if using aluminum cans.) I use my Sizzix Bigkick
  • Attach the top and bottom story
  • Glue on window and door trim
  • Make and attach the vellum windows
  • Assemble the house structure
  • Attach the bottom insert and roof
  • Attach chimneys and shop sign
  • Make base and decorate as desired

How To Make The Fish & Chips Shop

Download the Fish & Chips Shop Pattern

Download the Fish & Chips Shop pattern from A Cottage in the Forest Library. It is Design #2. 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 Fish & Chips Shop Pattern into Design Software

For the moment, just focus on the FishnChips.svg and, FishnChips_Bottom_Insert.svg files, importing them into your design software. Leave the vellum window pieces for later.

If you are using a Cricut machine, remember to change the solid scorelines in Cricut Design Space from cut to score and attach them to their shapes before sending them through your cutting machine. Here is a great tutorial from Jennifer Maker’s website on attaching score lines. The score lines are the set of lines included with many of the building shapes. There are eight building sides, 3 roof pieces, two chimneys, and one bottom insert (optional) where you need to change the score lines and attach them.

I included the bottom insert piece as you may need it to stiffen up the sides at the bottom of the building depending upon what material you are using. While it probably isn’t necessary if you are cutting out of cardboard, it is needed with the aluminum cans and cardstock. This tends to happen whenever any wall is more than a few inches wide. Use heavy cardstock or a thicker aluminum can.

Make the Shop Sign

First, you have to decide how you want to make your Shop Sign. I realize that exploring all of the ways to make signs is a separate blog post on its own, but here are a few options I have employed at times:

  • Print and Cut in Cricut Design Space

Follow this link to open the sign file in Cricut Design Space. If this is the first time you have followed a link, you will see the following screen:

Click on the green box that says “Open”, and then if necessary, on the box that says “Open Design Space Desktop Application.” Once opened, save under a different name to your own projects.

Now you can change any of the elements on the sign, including the fonts, colors and words. If you want to fill in the the outline of the letters, change the text from draw to cut. Once you are finished, highlight all of the elements and press “Flatten” in the bottom right corner of the screen. Then “Make It” to print and cut.

Fish & Chips Design Space Sign

The problem with this method is Print and Cut only works with very light colored paper or cardstock. If you want a dark background, you either will need to cut out the sign by hand after you print, or you will need to use a different method.

  • Use Draw and Cut in Cricut Design Space

Follow this link to open the sign file in Cricut Design Space as explained above. Once opened, save under a different name to your own projects. Now you can change any of the elements on the sign, including the fonts, colors and words. Make sure all of the elements besides the outline are set to draw, then attach all of the elements together before clicking “Make It.” This time you can use colored cardstock if you would like. As the print ends up very small, I used the Cricut Extra-Fine (.03) pens. While the basic pen set is great, if you think you will want to make many multi-color signs, get the 30 Cricut Extra-Fine pen set. For very small print, sans serif fonts work the best. I sometimes use this method to draw and cut on sticker paper instead of cardstock, then attach the sticker to my cut out aluminum piece.

  • Print and Cut the included PDF File

With this method you are stuck using the sign I provided.

  • Use the Sign Shape Included in the SVG to Design Your Own Sign

You will want to use this method if you have a Silhouette or Brother Machine.

Cut Out the Pattern

Cut out all of your cardstock, cardboard or aluminum can pieces using my pattern. Once again, if you are using cardboard and don’t intend to glue glitter onto your house, I suggest visiting Lucy Foxworth’s blog at Paper Glitter Glue where Lucy explores multiple ways to paint and texture your cardboard house.

Texture The Pieces

If desired, texture each of the house shapes using your embossing machine and texture folders. I did not texture the window and door trim, but I did run them through my machine sandwiched between cutting pads to flatten them. I used the Darice Checkered Squares embossing folder for the bottom wall, and the Kwan Crafts Brick Wall Plastic Embossing Folder for the upper wall and roof. I love the Old Fashioned Bricks Embossing Folder I have in my machine below which I often use to texture my chimneys.

If you are making your Fish & Chips Shop out of cardboard, this is when you would either glue on your decorative papers or paint each of your pieces. Once your paint is dry, apply a layer of clear glue and glitter if you are making a traditional glitter house.

Attach the Top and Bottom Story

Glue the top story of each wall onto the bottom story, using the score lines on the bottom story to align the pieces.

Glue On Window And Door Trim

Use the correct glue for your medium to glue on all of the window and door trim. You can add them after you put the building together, but it is much easier to add while the walls are flat. Do not glue the front doors together yet.

Make and Attach the Vellum Windows

Once again, I provide a Design Space Print and Cut file here for the signs in the front windows. This allows you to change any of the elements on the sign, including the font, colors, words and graphic. Once opened, save under a different name to your own projects.

Make your changes, highlight all of the elements and press “Flatten” in the bottom right corner of the screen. Then “Make It” to print and cut. Test print and cut on printer paper first to make sure your alignment is correct before printing on vellum. You can try printing on regular vellum, but I have found that the Laser/ Inkjet Vellum Paper gives me a better result with both brighter colors and no smudging. Since it costs almost twice the price of regular vellum, I reserve it for when I am going to print on it and use regular vellum the rest of the time.

If you do not use Design Space you will need to design your own front window signs using the shape I included, or print out my window from the PDF.

Cut and Print Vellum for Fish & Chips Building

Now upload the FishnChips_Vellum.svg file into Design Space and import it into the same file. Find each of the windows that has the crosshatching and change the lines from cut to draw, then attach to its window outline as in the picture below. This will draw lines on your vellum to represent the trim around the small window panes. You want to use a pen color that matches the larger trim you already cut for around the edges of the windows.

Since I used white, I needed to use a white pen. The easiest to use is the Recollections Opaque Marker for Michael’s as it fits perfectly into the Cricut clamp A holder. Unfortunately, the lines it draws are quite thick. A much better choice is the Sakura Gelly Roll Pens. It requires an adapter for your Cricut Pen holder.

Hide any windows you don’t want to cut now (like the front windows you already Print & Cut, and click “Make it” to draw and/or cut the rest. This will include cutting a thin strip of red vellum.

Draw on vellum Fish & Chips Building

Use glue or 1/8″ double sided adhesive tape to attach the vellum window pieces to the inside of the building pieces. Again, this is much easier while the walls are flat. If you use glue don’t use too much it as it can bleed into your window space and ruin the look. You may want to sandwich your vellum between the two front door pieces, or you can tape the vellum on the inside of the door instead if you prefer. Lastly, you will use glue or a bit of double sided adhesive tape on each side to attach the thin strip of red vellum at the top of the front windows so it sits behind your other vellum.

Sign and date the inside of your work now. When I use a bottom insert, I sign the insert. Fold along the score lines.

Tape Vellum onto Fish & Chips Building

Assemble The House Structure

Glue the tabs on the front and back pieces of the shop together. Glue the tabs of the four roof pieces together too. I use plastic binder clips to hold the pieces together while the glue dries.

Glue together body and roof of Fish & Chips Building

Attach the Bottom Insert and Roof

Check the fit of the bottom insert piece, adjusting any of the fold lines as necessary. Align the door cutouts on the sides, and glue into the bottom of the shop. I put the bottom insert piece flat on my work surface and lower the building onto it. I can then use a pen inserted from the top to push the tabs against the sides of the building.

Glue bottom insert nto Fish & Chips Building

Add the roof, centering the roof on the building. With this type of roof, the tabs of the building are bent in just slightly to hold the roof. You may need to turn over the building and insert a pen through the hole in the bottom insert to push the tabs against the roof.

Glue roof onto Fish & Chips Building

Attach Chimneys and Shop Sign

Finally, fold the chimneys into a square and glue together using the tab. Glue onto the roof. If desired, roll the matching little strips around a dowel or skewer, glue, and then glue into inside of chimneys as chimney pots. Glue the shop sign onto your building right above the front window trim.

Completed Fish & Chips Shop

Make Base and Decorate As Desired

For the Fish and Chip Shop I start with a rectangle of aluminum 5 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches deep. I cut a small circle under where the cottage will sit, then texture the base 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 decorated with the picnic benches with patio umbrellas. I glued the planters, litter cans, and Coke sign onto the building. Next week’s blog post will cover how to make each of those.

If you decide to add snow to your shop, you can either glue on some glitter, or cut out glitter tape and attach to the roof. I buy iron on white glitter vinyl and iron it on to aluminum that I then cut out. Remember to add your roof line snow before you glue on the chimneys.

Enjoy making the Fish & Chips Shop! I would love to see your finished design. Please share a photo of it with me by emailing me at or sharing it with me on Instagram.


Fish & Chips Shop made with recycled frozen food boxes by Jim Earl
Fish & Chips by LeAndra Miller
Fish & Chips Shop by PaperCraftingUK


Download the Fish & Chips Shop Pattern


Get the password for the library with the free Fish & Chips Shop pattern and SVG/DXF/Studio3/PDF files here by filling out this form:

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