Make Your Own Ivy Cottage

I have finally finished a pattern for a new house! I know you were probably expecting something Halloween-themed since it is October, and I had so many ideas before I broke my arm, but it seems sort of late for them now. I shall save them for next year. I had been working on this pattern before I broke my arm and really wanted to finish it. The front was the basis for a favorite custom house that I made last year.

Below is the house that I made last November. It was the first and only custom house I made out of Kraft Board instead of aluminum cans. Since it was based on a real building, there was an entire addition in the back that architecturally was from a very different period and looked tacked on. For this pattern, I stripped off the addition to bring the house closer to what it likely looked like originally. I also reduced the number of different types and sizes of windows.

Maryland Custom House

I love the brick look of the entryway and chimney on the original model. I cut each of those bricks individually out of cardstock and glued them onto the house piece by piece. And look at how tiny those shingles are! I think it took me most of a week to shingle the house. But while I love all those bricks, I decided I should make the model for this blog post with a stone chimney to give you other ideas of what you could do. And though the customer wanted the above house made with snow, I thought it would lovely with ivy crawling up the chimney. So I have named it Ivy Cottage.

Normally, I make my models out of aluminum cans. These last few months have been very frustrating, with everything taking me so long to make due to the broken arm (when I could use it at all.) I am now in physical therapy, which is creating all sorts of new aches, and I have yet to make a house again from cans as I know it is going to put more pressure on my arm while it is still healing. But new opportunities have also arisen. A friend just opened up a retail store locally where she sells her wonderful herbal culinary treats, teas, and bath & body products, plus wine tasting from her family’s winery. She has invited several other local artisans to sell on consignment, and is including my DIY building kits.

It was touch and go for a while on whether my arm was going to heal enough to get my display made for her shop before she got her license to open. I already had Kraft Board or cardstock models made that I could use for the display, but if you look in the picture below, the front right model is of my Spooky Farmhouse. I am going to have to change that out on November 1st, and want to replace it with a painted model, so decided to make my Ivy Cottage out of Kraft Board and (gulp) paint it.

As many of you know, I make my houses out of aluminum cans because I am AWFUL at painting houses. So far, the only times I have successfully painted a cardboard house where I haven’t hated the results have been 1) when I purposely distressed my paint job to make a dilapidated Halloween house, 2) when I glittered over my awful paint job (glitter can hide all kinds of problems) and 3) on the model of Ivy Cottage I made a year ago. In that case the original house had a stucco exterior. So right away I knew one thing I was going to keep the same was the stucco exterior. I also had lots of the paint left over so decided to make it the same color. Because I use stucco and paint on my model, the order in which I put together my house is slightly different than the way I usually make an aluminum can house.

This Is How You Make Ivy Cottage

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Ivy Cottage Pattern Materials

  • My free pattern for Ivy Cottage from the A Cottage in the Forest Library – get the password for free by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
  • CardstockCardboard (Kraft Board), 30 point Chipboard, or Aluminum Cans – your choice! For my model, I cut everything from white Kraft Board except the chimney, porch and stairs, which I cut from 100 lb Cover Cardstock. I cut my first all-white model out of just Kraft Board, and it is possible, but the folds on those pieces are tight, and it was enough of a struggle that I used the lighter weight Cover Cardstock for my painted model.
  • American Crafts Precision Cardstock Pack 80lb 12″X12″ Neutral/Textured Cardstock for the shingles. The textured cardstock makes the shingles look even more realistic, and the Neutrals pack has several different colors perfect for shingles. Unfortunately, the Textured Neutrals color pack is currently sold out on Amazon. The American Craft Smooth Neutrals pack is available, and you could texture your shingles yourself with an embossing folder. Or you can buy just the Textured Charcoal colored cardstock, which is one of my favorite colors for shingles.
  • Translucent Vellum
  • Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Medium Sand Texture Gel for the stucco. This texture gel is lighter weight than the Tim Holtz Distress Grit Paste that I use to make bricks and stone walkways, and I believe it makes a more realistic stucco. I have ordered some Tim Holtz Matte Texture Paste which I had planned to try out to see if it would work similar to the texture gel, but like many of the orders placed through the US post currently, it is slowly traveling around the US and I have no idea when I will actually receive it.
  • Glue – If using cardstock, I suggest 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.
  • A Cutting Machine like a Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore or, if you are going to make the pattern from the PDF an  X-Acto knife or Cricut TrueControl Knife. I know the Cricut TrueControl knife looks expensive next to an X-Acto knife. I have both on my work desk, the X-Acto for aluminum cans and the TrueControl Knife for cardstock and cardboard. I really like the TrueControl knife because the blade doesn’t twist loose while you are working. I am constantly having to tighten my X-Acto knife.
  • An Embossing Machine and folders. I didn’t emboss any of my pieces for this model. If you only have smooth cardstock for the shingles, you may want to emboss them to give them more texture.
  • 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.
  • Decorative papers (optional – for cardboard.) I didn’t use any here, but you could use a paper with either a brick or stone pattern on it.
  • Multi-surface satin finish acrylic paints or Ranger distress inks (for cardboard or cardstock.) Having finally used both on a cardboard house, these work very well. I had trouble finding some of the colors I needed in the FolkArt paints and used the Craftsmart brand instead. They went on just as smoothly. With the distress inks, make sure they dry thoroughly before handling the pieces or you will have stained fingers. I speak from experience.
  • DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss Glaze or DecoArt DuraClear Matte Varnish. I decided I wanted a high sheen on my doors and window frames, so used the Triple Thick Gloss.

Steps to Make Ivy Cottage

  • Download the Ivy Cottage pattern from A Cottage in the Forest library.
  • Import the Ivy Cottage pattern into your design software.
  • Cut out the pattern – I use my Cricut Maker. Texture if desired.
  • Glue together the body of the house, then stucco and paint the body and the entryway.
  • Stucco and paint the inner walls.
  • Paint and glue on window frames and doors. Attach vellum windows.
  • Attach inner walls to body of house.
  • Glue on main roof. Shingle if desired.
  • Make the chimney.
  • Glue the front entryway onto the house. Add the roof and the chimney.
  • Make the porch and stairs.
  • Add the bottom insert.
  • Make base and decorate as desired.

How To Make Ivy Cottage

Download the Ivy Cottage Pattern

Download the Ivy Cottage pattern from A Cottage in the Forest Library. Don’t forget to unzip it. The pattern is available in multiple formats – as a SVG (scalable vector graphics), DXF (drawing eXchange format) or PDF file. Currently, I do not have a Silhouette or Brother Machine to test the corresponding files. If you have problems using those files please let me know so I can troubleshoot what might be going wrong. I do now include a 1″ square in with all of my SVG 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.

Import the Ivy Cottage Pattern Into Design Software

As of this blog post, a Cricut Design Space update broke the attached score 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 someday Design Space fixes their problem score lines and drawings import as actual score lines and drawings attached to their object. Fingers crossed that it happens sometime this year!

Cut out all of your cardstock, Kraft Board or aluminum can pieces using my pattern. 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 if desired.

Glue Together the Body of the House, then Stucco the Body and Entryway

Put the chimney, porch and stair pieces aside. Fold all of your other pieces towards the back or inside (mountain folds.)

Glue together the body of the house. Brush on the Texture Gel. I only brush up and down, never side to side.

Paint the body and front entryway.

Stucco and Paint the Inner Walls.

Only a small portion of the inner walls will show at the back of the house. You can stucco and paint the entire thing, or only the part that will show. I painted the entire piece, but only put stucco on the portion which would show.

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

Paint all of the trim. If you want a high gloss sheen, brush on Triple Thick Gloss Glaze once your paint is dry.

Glue the doors and window trim onto the building. Glue the vellum to the inside of the building pieces. Be careful not use too much glue as it can bleed into your window space and ruin the look.

Attach Inner Walls to Body of House

Glue each of the Inner walls to the body of the house. Glue each inner wall first to the building back, then when dry, glue to the building side. The glue can take longer than normal to catch where the building has stucco, so be prepared to hold it. You may need to touch up the stucco or paint where the inner wall is glued to the back.

Glue on Main Roof. Shingle if Desired

Glue on the Main Roof. If you are going to shingle the roof, cut the roof out of a similar or darker color cardstock, or paint the edges and the underside where the overhang is to match the shingles. Start at the peak and glue down the back side pieces first, centering the roof. Glue down the back roof, and then the front roof.

Now shingle if desired. Cut the shingles flush with the cutout at the front of the roof. For my shingles, I cut them out of a Steel Grey Cardstock, then colored them by patting on various colors of Ranger Distress Inks. Let the Distress Ink dry thoroughly before gluing on the shingles or you will get it all over your hands. I have included the shingle pattern in with the SVG. Shingle the Entryway roof also. I then sprayed both roofs with Krylon matte clear acrylic sealer.

Make the Chimney.

Fold the chimney. The folds are tight, so it helps to use a bone folder to make the score lines deeper. You may also want to use jewelry pliers or tweezers to make the folds.

Glue the chimney together. Trim the top of the chimney to make it flush.

Now decorate your chimney. For the original house, I added stucco and painted to match the house, then cut out little cardstock bricks I glued to the chimney. For this house, I decided to make a stone chimney. I considered 3 choices: 1) finding a stonework picture on the internet, printing it out and gluing it onto the chimney. Downside is that it is flat, and I wanted a 3-D look. 2) Using a texture embossing folder to create a 3-D texture. I actually bought the new Tim-Holtz Texture Fades Mini Cobblestones with just that in mind. I ended up not using it because the impression were so deep it kept ripping the paper I was going to use. I also thought the “stones” were too large for the chimney. I did find that Kraft Board held up a lot better and I plan on using it to make a stone wall instead. 3) Using Texture Paste, a stencil, paints and distress inks.

Chimney options: Printout ~ Texture Fades Mini Cobblestones ~Texture Paste & Stencil

For the chimney I was about to use my grit paste when the Tim Holtz Matte Texture Paste finally arrived through the mail! I really like it as it is easy to spread, not so gritty, and it dries quickly. I have a mini tutorial on using grit paste, and you apply the texture paste the same way. I used the only “stone” stencil I had, River Rock by Honey Bee, and I still thought some of the stones were too large for the chimney, and I would have preferred them closer together. I will have to make my own stencil before I make another stone chimney. I decorated the archway for the front entryway to match the chimney.

Glue the Front Entryway Onto the House. Add the Roof and the Chimney.

If you haven’t added the archway to the front entryway, do it before gluing the entryway onto the house. I’ve included two different archways in with the SVG. When I used bricks, I liked the archway that had 3 angled bricks at the top. When I decided to make a stone archway to match the stone chimney, I preferred an archway with a peak at the top.

Glue the bottom to the sides of the entryway, and then glue onto the building, snugging it tight against the notch in the main roof.

Glue the Entryway Roof onto the Entryway

Slide the chimney down so that it rests on top of the entryway roof, pressed tight to the right side of the notch in the roof. Glue in place.

Glue the angled trim under the entryway roof.

Make the Porch and Stairs.

Fold the porch and glue together the sides. Paint as desired. Glue onto the entryway of the house.

Fold and glue each of the stairs. Starting with the top stair, glue the stair treads into the stair tread sides. I like to glue each stair onto both sides, then move down to the next stair. Then glue in the back and bottom. Paint as desired.

Glue the widest stairs under the back door.

Glue the narrowest stair into the entryway. This can take a little maneuvering to get it flush to the building wall and level under the door.

Glue the railings onto the porch. Glue the bottom step between the railings at the front of the porch.

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 as it will help to help to stiffen and square the walls of the building.

Make Base and Decorate As Desired

I finally got to use my new Tim-Holtz Texture Fades Mini Cobblestones to make part of the base. I doubled the paper to make it thicker, than used various Distress Inks to make the cobblestones stand out. I’ve also included a fence pattern in with the SVGs. The tree is from my 3-D Leafy Trees post. Now I have to figure out how I want to make ivy grow up the side of the chimney!

Enjoy making Ivy Cottage! I would love to see your finished design. Please share a photo of it with me by emailing me at


Ivy Cottage by Al Landman-Busby


Download the Ivy Cottage Pattern

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

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