It’s day three of my blogmas and I’m really excited to share today’s bookish craft with you – an easy DIY tiny paper house. I’m going to show you how to make a tiny paper house step by step so you can have your own (free!) lantern.
This was great fun to make and it’s made my mantlepiece look really Christmassy. I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be making a lot more of these before December is out, so my currently minimalist Christmas display will turn into a bustling paper village.
An important point to make, but one that bears saying, is if you do make a paper lantern, don’t put a real tealight in it as a candle is obviously a massive fire hazard. I’ve used an LED tealight in mine and these are widely available to buy. They are pretty much all I use with small children in the house. Speaking of small children, an adult will need to help them with this because the detail work requires a sharp craft knife.
To make a paper house lantern you will need:
- Cardboard (I used watercolour paper for the main building for the texture and gold cardboard for the roof)
- Right angle
- Sharp craft knife and a protective mat
- Paper clips
- Any embellishhments that you’d like to add- I used a strip of printed paper on the eaves of the roof to give the appearance of bookish snow
How to make a paper house lantern
- Draw out your paper house template carefully on a piece of card making sure that all of the supporting walls have right angle corners (unless you’re making a model of The Burrow for a family of tiny Weasleys to live in). Each of my walls is 6cm wide and 8cm tall, so the base of my house is 6cm square with space left for gluing flaps. The apex (if that’s the word?) of the roof is 3cm up from the central point of each wall, as you can see in the picture of my template, so it was just a matter of joining the corners of the walls to this upper point on the reverse of my building while sketching out the design. As long as you know how to make a cube, this is pretty easy.
2. When you’re happy with the shape of your template, add in the features that you will cut out for the light to shine through. As you can see in my template above, I’ve roughly sketched out windows and a door at the front, and two large windows on either side. I left the rear wall solid since this side won’t display to the room and it makes the paper house a little more robust. It doesn’t matter if the pencil sketching is a little messy as this will be the inside of your paper house so isn’t visible when you’ve folded the cardboard template together.
3. Cut out your house template, scoring the lines between walls gently with a craft knife so that they fold together smoothly but you don’t cut all the way through the card. Check that you’re happy with how your building folds together.
4. Using a very sharp craft knife cut out the detail on a protective mat. I used our plastic chopping board because I have no idea where my cutting board with measurements has gone during our house move. If your glue tab is going to obstruct a feature when your building folds together (as mine does above) trim this out of the way now.
5. Use your glue stick to apply glue to your tabs and then stick your paper house together! Use the paper clips to secure the building in place while it dries.
6. Measure and cut your roof to have a little overlap. I made mine 7 x 11cm long and scored a line at the centre so it would fold smoothly. It holds itself very well but if you want a tight join you could probably weight it or use some washi tape inside.
7. Add any embellishments that you like, pop an LED tea light inside and put the lid back on. Voila, a wintry house in paper lantern miniature.
I’m looking forward to making some more of these. I’m even tempted to go wild and make some houses and buildings from literature. Hogwarts sprang to mind but that would be a lot of tiny windows and doors!