Introduction: Miniature Cottage

About: I'm a senior in college majoring in Journalism with a minor in Graphic Design. I love art of all kinds and enjoy browsing--and making--projects here on Instructables.

If you like miniatures or just want a small weekend project you can make off and on, this miniature cottage is for you! Perfect for a toy house, creative box, or just decoration, this cottage can be easily personalized to suit you or match your decor. It even has a removable roof perfect for any of the above activities!

I hope you enjoy the project!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

The tools and materials needed to make this house are all important to own. Make sure you have it all!

-Hot glue gun with PLENTY of glue

-Exacto or craft knife

-Popsicle sticks (I probably used around two hundred of them)

-Brown, black, gray and white acrylic paint.

-Three paintbrushes: medium, small, and very fine size

-Cotton ball

Not shown in image:

Clear packing tape

Wax paper


Step 2: Create the Back and Side Walls

The house will have four walls. The one at the back will have no windows, the side walls will have one window, and the front will have a door. In this step we will make the back and side walls.

Make a square out of four popsicle sticks. Do this by laying two sticks side by side a stick-length apart. Put a dab of glue on each end and lay a stick across. (Image 1) Make two more so that you have three squares. (Image 2) Set aside one square; on the two remaining squares, glue two more sticks so that you have two cross-piece sticks on the top and bottom of the wall, with four sticks pointing vertically. (Image 3) The gap between the two middle sticks needs to be however wide you wish to make your window. Customize this how you like. As you can see, mine are roughly evenly spaced.

Flip the square over so that the side with only two sticks is on top. Place a dab of glue just above the lower horizontal stick on each of the four vertical pieces. (Image 4) Using a new stick, carefully place it on the glue so that it overlaps the lowest stick. (Image 5) Repeat three more times so that you have five total sticks lying horizontally, each overlapping the one below it. (Image 6)

Measure the width from the edge of the wall the the inside of one of the two middle sticks. Using the shears, cut eight of these and glue them down on each side of the window. The space between is where the window will be. (Image 7) Continue with full-length sticks up the rest of the wall (Images 8 and 9) Make another window wall exactly like the one described above.

Now is time to make the back wall. Find the set-aside square made of four sticks. Glue horizontal sticks overlapping all the way up this one with no gap for a window.

Step 3: Make the Front Wall

Using three sticks, make a "U" shape. (Image 1)

Take two more sticks and glue them a stick-width from the end pieces. (Image 2)

Cut small pieces of stick and glue up the wall on both sides of the door, starting at the bottom. (Image 3) Making the short pieces of "siding" perfectly match up isn't vital since the edges get covered with trim. Continue up the wall with short pieces until you decide that's how high you want to make the door. That's an easily customizable feature that doesn't affect the general structure, so you can make your door as big or small as you like.

You should now have four walls: A door wall, side window walls, and plain back wall. (Image 4)

Step 4: Make the Floor

Make another basic 4-piece square like the first part of Step 1. (Image 1)

Lay five sticks across spaced evenly apart and glue them down. (Image 2)

You'll want the straightest sticks you have for the floor. Glue a straight stick down at the edge across the seven cross pieces. Continue gluing more sticks down, pressed rightly against each other. (Image 3)

You will likely need to use your craft knife to slice off part of a stick since they likely won't be the exact right length. Do this very carefully so that the cut edge is as straight as possible.

When flipped over, the finished floor should look like image 4: three layers of sticks with 3 on the first layer, then 7, then roughly 11 and 1/2 sticks.

Step 5: Stand the Walls

Now comes a more difficult part: gluing the walls together.

First, place a dab of glue at the bottoms of the four "beams" of a side wall. (Image 1)

Carefully press it against the edge of the floor, and hold it straight upright for a minute until the hot glue dries. (Image 2) Make sure the ends of the wall are perfectly even with the ends of the floor.

Repeat for the three remaining walls. Make sure you stand the walls in the right order. (Image 3)

Adding corner trim is the final step for standing the walls. Use three popsicle sticks for each corner. Glue one stick at the end of each wall. (Image 4) Finally, place the third stick over these two at the corner so that it covers the corner diagonally. (Image 5) Repeat for all corners. (Image 6)

Step 6: Make the Roof

First, use two sticks to make a "V" shape as wide as the measurement shown on the ruler: 6 and 1/2 inches. (Image 1)

Cut an upright piece to go straight up and down. Make the angle fit the slope as closely as possible. Cut another piece to lay on the left side of the "V". You should end with the V-shape having an upright piece. The entire piece should be two popsicle sticks thick, with cut pieces filling in the lower areas. Create two of these structures. (Image 3)

Flip the two structures over and use popsicle stick pieces to fill in the wall. Do the same for both pieces. (Images 4, 5 and 6)

Lay 16 sticks down side by side. (Image 7) Glue cross-sticks over the sixteen. (Image 8) Now cut short pieces to piece the ends of the structure. (Circled area in image 9) Create two of these.

Flip them over so that the smooth side of the structure are on top.

Now comes the most tedious part of the house. Using the shears, cut small shingles. You don't have to be exact with these measurements. Just "eyeball" the length. Somewhere between half an inch and five-eights of an inch should be right. You'll need a lot of these. What I did was I would cut a pile, use them up, and make another batch. (Image 10)

When you have some shingles, spread glue at the base of one of the flat structures. Lay shingles on the glue, overlapping the curved ends of the sticks so that the shingles appear to be the bottom of the edge of the roof. The shingles look quite good when there is a small space between them, and if the ends do not perfectly math up it makes the roof look very quaint, as well. (Images 11 and 12)

Start another row of shingles overlapping the first row. Make sure you have a half-shingle at the end so that the shingles are spaced evenly. (Image 13)

Work your way all the way up the roof and repeat the entire process. I ended each half of the roof with nine rows of shingles. (Image 14)

Flip the roof halves upside-down. Spread glue on the end of the roof and place one of the triangular sections on the glue (Image 15) Make sure that the right side is facing outward. Spread glue on the other end of the roof section and place the other triangle down. Place glue on both ends of the second rectangular roof section and carefully set it where it should go on the two triangular end pieces. (Image 16)

Take eight sticks and glue them together on top of each other. Glue them to the inside of the end of the roof as shown in image 17. Do the same for the other end. (Image 18). This will enable the roof to sit on top of the walls without falling off because of the sloped roof. It will also keep the roof level.

Step 7: Trimwork

First, we will trim the roof. Cut pieces of stick as shown in image 1. You can make the chimney as tall or short as you like, so edit the lengths as you wish.

Cut the curved ends of two sticks off so that they are the same length and flat on the ends. Glue them at the very ridge of the roof with their ends lining up with the edge of the roof exactly. (Image 2) Glue together the four chimney-pieces and glue down the chimney, pressing it snugly against the ends of the sticks at the top of the ridge. (Image 3) Cut two more pieces of stick to finish lining the ridge past the chimney. (Image 4) Now the roof is done!

Measure the height of the window gaps. Cut four pieces this long and glue them on each side of the window on both windows. (Image 5) Cut four more pieces that are longer than the width of the window plus the two trim pieces. Cut the ends of the trim so that they are angles slightly. Glue them on the top and bottom of the window as shown in image 6. Repeat for the other window.

Using the same technique except with no lower piece, trim out the doorway.

Cut a piece of stick exactly as wide as the door gap and glue it down. You will need to shave some off this piece with your craft knife since it would stick out past the door without being trimmed. Make sure the cut edge is straight. Glue this piece level with the floor. (Image 7)

Last of all on the door you will need to cut another piece the same width as the door opening. Spread glue on the front of the piece in the door and glue the piece on the front. (Image 8)

One more step before the last stage of making this house. You need windows!

Cut six inches of packing tape and lay it on the wax paper and smooth it out so that there are no air bubbles. Flip the wax paper over and lay tape on the other piece as close as you can.

Cut out the tape. What you should now have is a piece of stiff, translucent material. (Image 9) This is perfect for creating a soft glow for the windows if you wish to put a light inside!

Cut two pieces of the "glass" to the size shown in image 10. Spread glue on each side of the window on the inside of the house as shown and attach the "glass" in this way. Repeat for both windows.

Cut two pieces of stick as wide as each window opening and glue to the bottom of the window opening on the outside to make a nice windowsill.

Step 8: Making and Finishing the Door

Cut five pieces of stick as tall as your door opening. Make sure they are very uniform in length and only slightly smaller than the door. If necessary, shave off the edge of the door to make it fit. Secure the pieces by gluing more sticks onto them. (Image 1) This will be the back side of the door.

Flip the door over. Add more trim to the edge, making sure each cut end is very smooth and fits together well. (Image 2)

Now comes a tricky part. Using the craft knife, slice a stick down the middle, creating a thinner piece of wood. Cut three angled pieces to make an "X" shape for the front of the door. Take your time to make it all fit together well. Cut the solid piece first and glue it in and do the smaller half pieces after that. (Image 3)

Slice the very end of a stick off and place a dab of glue on the edge of the door. Set the "handle" in the glue. (Image 4) When the glue dries, use the knife to carefully slice off the visible glue. (Image 5)

Now is the time to make the "hinge." Take the piece of ribbon and cut it to the same length as the height of the door. Spread glue on the edge of the BACK of the door NOT on the end with the handle. Press half of the ribbon down in the glue so that the other half sticks past the door on the long side. (Image 6) You can trim off any excess glue, but it's not necessary since it won't be seen.

Now, carefully spread glue on the inside of the house on the wall immediately beside the doorway. Be careful with the hot glue because this is awkward to try to do. The picture was awkward to take too--apologies! Press the free half of the ribbon down in the glue. Make sure the door is able to freely open and close before the glue is dried, and slide the ribbon in the glue as needed to adjust it accordingly. If you mess up, that's okay. Just cut off the glue and ribbon and try again. This won't be seen, so no need if it's ugly! (Image 7)

Use hot glue to make four circles of glue. Do this by holding the glue gun straight upright and letting the glue form circular blobs. Try to make them uniform. After they dry, cut the circles out and glue one on the underside of each corner. This will make a non-slip floor guard so that the house won't slip or get knocked off a table in the future. (Image 8)

Now the entire house is trimmed with the door all set! Check image 9 to make sure you have done everything!

Step 9: Finishing the House

From this point on, everything about the house is whatever you want to do. In the materials I called for specific colors of paint, but you can paint the house whatever colors you liked. However, the following steps are what I did.

First, use the glue gun and spread blobs of glue on a sheet of paper. (Image 1) When they are dry, paint the blobs black. (Image 2) Set aside to dry.

Use brown paint and carefully cover the overlapping sticks that make up the siding. Be careful not to get any paint on the trim-work. I left that plain because the creamy wood contrasted nicely with the brown. (Image 3) Use the largest brush to do larger surfaces, and the small one for getting right up beside the trim. The fine brush is perfect for doing the small areas like the tops of the ends of the roof piece and on each side of the door and inside the door. Your finished walls should look like image 4.

Paint the chimney gray. (Image 5)

Paint the shingles dark gray. Leave the ridge plain for the contrast unless you don't want to. Since the shingle have lots of little cracks, I gave it two coats of regular paint. Then I gave it one last coat using watered-down paint that was able to run down into the cracks, so I would suggest doing that. (Images 6 and 7)

Finally, cut the blobs of black glue loos from the paper. (Image 8) Glue them onto the chimney to simulate rocks. Pull apart a cotton ball and arrange the fibers to look like smoke; glue onto the chimney.

And you are done! Congratulations on finishing your miniature cottage!

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