Recently, I received an order for another custom aluminum can house based upon a real house. This one ended up being a real challenge, not only because I had never designed a Mid-Century Modern house before, but because the buyer only sent me one skewed picture of the front of the house. Often, when the pictures that are sent to me by a buyer are less than sufficient, I will use Google Maps photos to fill in some of the details. This house, however, was not visible from the street, except one little corner of the garage, and there were no views of the back. No other pictures were forthcoming. The buyer told me to put it in a winter setting and use my imagination to fill in the back.
I let my imagination run wild on the back, and thus the back of the house has the big windows that are common on Mid-Century Modern houses. For this reason, I expect as many people will want to display the back of the house as the front. I am not providing a Putz back with a hole in it in my pattern. This house really wants to be lit from the bottom!
I’ve made a few other minor changes to the house for the pattern. The original house has a very visible foundation. I am offering two version of the pattern – a simple version without the foundation, and a more complicated version with the foundation.
This Is How You Make the Mid-Century Modern House
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Mid-Century Modern House Pattern Materials
- My free pattern for the Mid-Century Modern House from the A Cottage in the Forest Library – get the password for free by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
- Cardstock, Cardboard or Aluminum Cans – your choice! Recently I made two houses out of cardboard, one as the model for the first Putz House Monthly pattern, and one as a custom house for a client as she wanted it larger than I could make with aluminum cans. Teri Hanson of The Covered Chipboard (and my partner in Putz House Monthly), who makes her houses out of cardboard, told me to use Cricut Kraftboard as she has found it is the only one she has found that acts consistently – it folds very well, doesn’t split apart when folded, and you can paint on it. Of course I had to experiment on my own. I found other cardboards the same weight, but none of them folded or painted as well, and I was constantly having to glue back where they had split. We have decided to only use Cricut Kraftboard for our Putz House Monthly kits.
- Translucent Vellum
- Double sided adhesive tape – 1/8″
- Glue – If using cardstock, I suggest Art Glitter Glue. For aluminum cans, I use Aleene’s The Ultimate Glue. For cardboard 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 used the Sizzix Notebook embossing folder for the vertical stripes on the walls, the Crackle folder by Darice to texture roof, the Darice Checkerboard embossing folder (retired) for the garage door, and the Old Fashioned Bricks embossing folder for the chimney. The Old Fashioned Bricks embossing folder and the Crackle folder are two of my favorite folders and I tend to use them on almost every house. Unfortunately, these companies retire the embossing folders all the time, so if you see one you think you will use a lot, snap it up while it is available.
- Bone folder (optional) 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)
- Multi-surface satin finish acrylic paints or Ranger distress inks (optional – 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.
Steps to Make the Mid-Century Modern House
- Download the Mid-Century Modern House pattern from A Cottage in the Forest library
- Import the Mid-Century Modern House pattern into your design software
- 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 optional foundation
- Add the Bottom Inserts & Attach the Garage
- Add the Roofs & Chimney
- Make Stairs
- Make base and decorate as desired
How To Make the Mid-Century Modern House
Download the Mid-Century Modern House Pattern
Download the Mid-Century Modern House 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.
If you want to make the version with the optional foundation, you need to use the Building file, the Garage file, and the Roof and Chimney file. If you do not want the foundation, use the Simple Building and Simple Garage files. The Roof and Chimney file is the same for both versions.
Import the Mid-Century Modern House Pattern Into Design Software
You no longer need to worry about changing and attaching the score lines if you use Cricut Design Space!
Cut out all of your cardstock, cardboard 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 ways to paint and texture 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 The Pieces
If desired, texture each of the house shapes using your embossing machine and texture folders. I used the Sizzix Notebook embossing folder for the vertical stripes on the walls, the Crackle folder by Darice to texture the roof, the Darice Checkerboard embossing folder (retired) for the garage door, and the Old Fashioned Bricks embossing folder for the chimney. The Old Fashioned Bricks embossing folder and the Crackle folder are two of my favorite folders and I tend to use them on almost every house. Unfortunately, these companies retire the embossing folders all the time, so if you see one you think you will use a lot, snap it up while it is available.
Glue On Door And Window Trim
Glue on the window trim and the doors. You can add them after you put the building together, but it is much easier to add before the building is constructed. If you are making the version with the foundation, do not glue on the garage door trim yet.
Attach The Vellum
Use glue or the 1/8″ double sided adhesive tape to attach vellum to the inside of the building pieces. Again, this is much easier while the walls are flat. If you use glue to attach the vellum be careful not use too much it can bleed into your window space and ruin the look.
Assemble The House Structure, Including Optional Foundation.
Fold the building but not the foundations along the score lines. The building needs to be glued together, and then the foundation glued into the building. Start with the garage. Fold and glue into a square. Glue the roof tabs together as this helps provide structure. Then glue the foundation into the garage if you are using it. The horizontal score line on the foundation will help you with placement. The vertical score lines of the foundation may not align exactly. Adjust the folds as necessary as you glue it into place. Trim off any excess foundation as necessary. Now glue on the garage door trim and the garage door.
Next, fold the main body of the house. Each side has both a mountain and a valley fold, so that the larger portion of the side sticks out further than the smaller portion.
Glue the two sides together, again gluing the roof tabs to provide more structure.
If adding the optional foundation, start with the fold at the middle of the body and attach outwards to the ends, trimming as necessary.
Add the Bottom Inserts & Attach the Garage
Check the fit of each of the bottom insert pieces, adjusting any of the fold lines as necessary. You may need to trim the corners. The smallest building insert goes in the garage. The bottom insert pieces help to stiffen and square up the walls of the building.
Glue the garage onto the main building, aligning the light holes and the bottoms of the buildings.
Add the Roofs & Chimney
Glue the Garage Roof on first, than glue on the Main Roof and the Chimney.
Starting at the back, glue a stair strip around each half-circle stair, trimming off any excess.
Glue to house, two stairs in the front and one in the back.
Make Base and Decorate As Desired
For the Mid-Century Modern house I started with a rectangle of aluminum 8 3/4 inches wide by 6 inches deep. I cut a small circle under where the building will sit, then textured the base and turned under 1/4 inch on each side. This allows me to string fairy lights under the bases of the different buildings in my village. In this case I have ironed emerald green HTV (heat transfer vinyl) onto my base, and textured it with the Brick Wall embossing folder by Darice. I have now included a fence file.
Enjoy making the Mid-Century Modern 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 MID-CENTURY MODERN HOUSE
FREE CUT FILES & PATTERN FOR THE MID-CENTURY MODERN HOUSE
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