Fun With Index Cards - Little Home on the Desktop

About: I am a Mad Scientist and IT gal with a passion for projects. I love figuring out puzzles, solving problems, and finding out new ways to get things done!
Trapped inside your cubicle, it is only 2 p.m., and you already feel your attention starting to sway.  You find your mind drifting back to a simpler time, a time of one-room homes on the prairie with garden patches and picket fences...

*If only there were a way to bring the simplicity of the homestead to the chaos of the office.*  you ponder, lazily looking around your cubicle.  You spot a pack of index cards, perfect!

What You Will Need
  • Index Cards (I used 3"x5", but you can scale this project to almost any size!)
  • Scissors (if you have an x-acto knife, it is useful but not required)
  • Pen
  • Small amounts of grass and dirt
  • Colored pens or pencils

Step 1: Windows and Doors

For a basic index card house, you'll want to make four walls.  This is also where you decide where to put your windows and doors.

Draw the outlines of your windows and doors onto the blank side of your index cards.  I had a door on one wall, one solid, blank wall, and two walls that each had a window.  Cut out your doors and windows being careful to leave the rest of the wall intact. Cut out your doors by cutting along the top and one side of your outline, leaving the remaining side as a hinge.  If you'd like to have shutters for your windows, cut out each side like you would a door.  

 If you want, you can decorate the outer walls of your house at this time.  I chose just to leave them blank except for the windows

Step 2: Framing the Walls

Stack your index cards so that they are all facing the same way.  Cut slits in the index cards halfway down about 1/2" from the short end of the index cards, with one slit facing up and the other facing down.

Assemble the walls by interlocking the slits on the index cards with the lined side of the cards facing outward.  Carefully fold the cards backward along the connection so that the extra flaps from the slits are on the inside with the lined sides of the cards.  Make cure that each connection forms a right angle.

Repeat as needed for additional walls.  This creates the frame for the base of your house.

Step 3: Folding the Trusses

To fold a truss for your roof (you'll want to make two) take an index card and fold the corners into the center until they meet in a straight line down the middle and across the bottom.  If it isn't folded straight, your roof won't be straight.

Fold in the last 1/2 inch of each side, then unfold them and tuck inside of the original flaps.  Take your scissors and cut a 1/2" slit on the upper flaps.

Cut a 1/2" slit out from the center line on each flap roughly 1" from the bottom. 

Step 4: Raising the Roof

Now you must (carefully!) assemble your roof and trusses.  Slide the flaps of the wall frame into the pockets created on the bottom of the roof trusses to seat it securely, just inside of the top part of the frame.  The flaps on the roof truss should be facing the outside of the house to provide extra support.

To create your roof, take two index cards and cut a 1/4" slit at the bottom roughly 1/2" from each short end.  Fold in each short end at the slit, and fold in the 1/4" wide flap in, all towards the lined part of the card.  

Seat these cards on top of your trusses with the 1/4" flap inside of wall frames and the 1/2" flaps on the outside of the trusses.  Fold a final index card into a right angle longways and place on the top of your roof.  I made mine extend out a bit over the front door, but you can trim yours if you would like.

Step 5: Add a Picket Fence

To create each panel of picket fence, you'll want to accordion fold your index cards.  I found that if you accordion-folded parallel with the shorter end of the index card, you could make 2 panels of the perfect height.  

Draw the shown picket fence pattern onto your accordion-folded index card.  Cut out along the lines.  I found it easiest to cut in half first then work on each panel individually. 

Repeat as needed to make the desired size fence for your house.  Unfold and enjoy!

Step 6: Garden Boxes

You can make two different sizes of garden boxes for your cubicle homestead.  By changing the direction which your initially fold the index card, it will change the final shape of the box.

Fold your card in half, with the lined sized facing inward.  Unfold so that you can see the line from the fold.  Fold each side in towards the center, stopping 3/4 of the way to the center.  You'll have two flaps, fold 1/3 of each flap back.  Fold in each corner and tuck underneath the flaps.

Using your fingers, "lift" the inside corners of your garden boxes and crease them as needed to make them stay.  

You can either fill them with some dirt and grass, or draw your own plants and shrubs and *plant* them by turning your garden boxes upside down and cutting slits in the bottom.   

Note:  If you use dirt and grass, make sure to never get it too moist as the index card won't hold up, and watch out for bugs!

Step 7: Little Home on the Desktop!

There you have it, your little home on the desk!



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