I had a bit of a challenge in deciding on a Halloween building for this year. I am teaching another class locally in October, so I wanted to design a building simple enough that a beginner could finish it in 3 hours. I also wanted to make a building that could be used for multiple seasons. Since I like basing many of my patterns on actual buildings I tried a Google search for haunted houses, then Halloween houses. All of the buildings were too complex. I next tried witch’s cottage (yes, I actually got some hits!), and then at last searched for unique cottages. After looking at a lot of pictures I decided on the building below.
Located in Helston, Cornwall, this cottage is one of Airbnb’s most wish-listed properties in the UK. Named the Jack Sparrow House, I liked it as with seasonal decorations it could be a witch’s cottage, a fairy house, or a building that could fit into Whoville.
This Is How You Make The Sparrow House
Size of the finished building as designed will be approximately 3 1/2″ W x 3 1/3″ D x 4 1/4″ H. These measurements do not include the size of the base. I consider this a beginner pattern.
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The Sparrow House Pattern Specific Materials
- My free pattern for The Sparrow House from the A Cottage in the Forest Library. Design #78. Get the password for free by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
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 Sparrow House
- Download The Sparrow House pattern from A Cottage in the Forest library.
- Import The Sparrow House pattern into your design software.
- Cut out the pattern – I use my Cricut Maker. Texture if desired.
- Fold the body of the building.
- Glue on the window frames and door. Attach vellum windows.
- Glue together the body of the building.
- Add the bottom insert.
- Glue on the roof.
How To Make The Sparrow House
Download The Sparrow House Pattern
Download The Sparrow House pattern from A Cottage in the Forest Library. It is design #78. 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 Sparrow House Pattern Into Design Software
As of this blog post, a Cricut Design Space update in 2021 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, 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 have started making all of my score lines red so that you can tell that they are intended to be are score lines.
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 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 your pieces using your embossing machine and texture folders if desired.
Fold the Body of the Building
Fold the sides of the building. The bottom three score lines on each side are for decoration, not folding. Instead fold the top score line below the tab, as well as the score line below it. Use your finger to gently curve the cardboard between that score line and the one below it.
Cut slits into the tabs of the front and back so you can make the folds. Fold each of the tabs towards the back or inside (mountain folds.)
Glue on the Window Frames and Door. Attach Vellum Windows.
Glue a hinge onto each of the bars. Glue the doors together to make the door double thick, then place into the hole for the door. This will help you place the door frame in the proper place. Glue the door frame around the door. Glue on the window frames.
Fold the bar where it is attached to the hinge. Glue each of the hinges onto the front of the building. I used a ruler to make sure they were aligned. Glue each bar onto the door, being careful that you don’t get any of the glue onto the door frame.
You can draw lines onto the front and back of the building, or score lines, or add thin strips of trim like I did. I include the trim in the pattern if you want to add it.
Glue the vellum in place if you are using it.
Glue Together the Body of the House
Glue each of the sides to the front and back of the house.
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. I like to lower it in from the top. Align the notch with the doorway. I run the needle tip of my glue bottle between the Bottom Insert and the sides, making sure each side is glued securely before moving on to the next.
Glue on the Roof
If you are going to shingle the roof, do so now. I include shingles in the pattern. Glue the dormer together, then glue the dormer onto the roof over the larger opening. Glue on the dormer roof.
Glue on the roof with the dormer on the right. Add the trim to the front and back of the roof peaks.
Make Base and Decorate as Desired.
Enjoy making the Sparrow House yourself! 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 THE SPARROW HOUSE
FREE CUT FILES & PATTERN FOR THE SPARROW HOUSE
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