Lincoln Sticks: Popsicle Stick Log Cabins




Introduction: Lincoln Sticks: Popsicle Stick Log Cabins

As a kid, I always used to love playing with Lincoln Logs, especially around Christmas time when we would make a village out of them underneath the Christmas tree. So when I needed to make some Christmas decorations/presents on a budget, Lincoln Logs became my inspiration.

With a little bit of work, you can make a box of craft sticks into a wide variety of Lincoln-Log-Type pieces which can be used to make virtually any little structure! The project possibilities are only limited by your imagination and how many popsicles you can eat (or craft sticks you!

This instructable will show you how to make the Lincoln stick pieces and then detail the designs of two "log cabin" structures that I built out of them. I welcome any and all comments or suggestions!

Step 1: Materials

For this project, you will need the following materials and tools:

Craft Sticks
Duct Tape
Wood Glue
(Brown) Spray Paint
Artificial Snow (optional)

Saw (I used a jigsaw, but a table saw might be even better)

Please note that the craft sticks I used in this project are: 4.5 x 3/8 x 1/12"
If you use craft sticks of any other dimensions, you will have to proportionately modify the following steps.

Step 2: Notch Cutting 101

The simplest piece has four notches (two on opposite sides at each end, see pic 1). We must make these cuts accurately to make sure that the pieces will fit together nicely. Here are some steps to making your measurements:

1.) Measure in from the end of the stick one stick width (in my case, 3/8") and draw a vertical line.

2.) Measure 1/4 of the width of the stick (3/32") in from the side of the stick on each side.

3.) Make sure that the width of each cut is the same as the thickness of the craft sticks (1/12"). In my case, I was lucky enough to have a jigsaw blade that was exactly 1/12". Hoorah!

4.) If you make any other notches, be sure to repeat steps 2 & 3.

Note: The dimensions of each craft stick vary from stick to stick. You may want to filter out some of the "undesirables" before you start cutting.

Step 3: Notches You Will Need

All the notched pieces you will need for this cabin are shown in the image below, with measurements. Simply follow the guidelines on the previous page and go to town!

When using a jigsaw, I found that it was best to duct tape 6 craft sticks together at one time, using one as a template (pic 2). Taping them together prevents the individual sticks from splintering as you saw..

Step 4: Making the Cuts

After the notches are made, you will need to cut both the notched sticks and some regular craft sticks as well. The diagrams included below show all of the cuts (dashed lines) that you need to make to complete all of the pieces needed for the log cabin.

Step 5: Priming the Pieces

By making the notches in the craft sticks, we've made them somewhat fragile. To avoid breaking them when we fit them together, it's a good idea to prime them first. To do this, I simply worked the side of another stick into the notch until I could easily slide the stick in and out with just a little resistance.

Step 6: Building the Cabin

The best way to show how to construct the cabin from all these pieces is a slideshow:

Craft Stick Log Cabin SlideShow

The slideshow goes over some of the steps previously mentioned, but it also shows how each piece fits into place. You will need some wood glue to finish the roof supports (see pic 1) and back wall (see pic 2).

Step 7: Finishing the Product

After Step 6, you should have a beautiful rustic log cabin like the one in the picture below. The decorations are up to you, but I spray painted mine with some brown spray paint (pic 2) and then put some artificial snow (cotton) blanket on the roof for that "Northern Exposure" effect.

Step 8: Other Designs

Using the general instructions in step 2, you can make a variety of other structures with these sticks. For instance, I made the simple cottage shown below as a proof of concept from 24 part A's and assembling the roof as in the log cabin.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    where can i get some craft sticks?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hobby Lobby, Ben Franklin, and Micheal's have large boxes of 1000 for 5 to 6 dollars.


    11 years ago on Step 8

    You are the best. My students are reading the book The Cabin Facd West by Jean Fritz. I know they will love this better than making a quilt for their final project. Keep up the good work.


    11 years ago on Step 2

    nice. i once built a biplane out of these sticks. sadly, i no longer have it and i don't have any pictures. maybe i'll make anoter and post it here.


    12 years ago on Step 7

    you can take flat tooth picks and make it look like a window


    13 years ago on Introduction

    these are cool! FYI they do make pre notched Popsicle sticks but this looks better anyway


    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    You can buy "building sticks", but they have a lot of unnecessary notches and holes in them - in short, this procedure takes more time, but I think it looks better. The building sticks are fun to play with though!

    This is awesome! I used to love playing with Lincoln logs, but never thought of them as a Christmas ornament. I'd get out the hot wheels and build little cities out of them. Good job! too bad my dog would eat these if i made them for around the tree now.