Halloween Houses

My family had two or three putz house Christmas ornaments — cardboard miniatures with cellophane windows — that I adored as a kid. The houses eventually got so ratty Mom weeded them out of our ornament collection, but I never forgot the odd feeling of the cardboard or the way the light bounced off the tiny cellophane windows.

This fall I saw several tiny houses on Pinterest and realized I could make them myself. It was on. First, I rescued a bunch of cereal boxes from the recycling at work. Then I started experimenting with templates. My first house was pretty simple.

Turns out that the odd feeling of the cardboard is the result of adding sand to the paint. Who knew?

The second house was not much fancier, but I added a moon and a flying witch. For the moon, I printed a photo from NASA and added glitter. The witch is an eHow pumpkin carving template printed at 25 percent — just card stock covered with glitter.

By the third house, I was into props — spider web poly and glittery plastic spiders.

Next came a colony of bats cut from another eHow pumpkin template printed at 15 percent.

The last house — my piece de resistance — has plenty of embellishment. A black cat made from this eHow pumpkin template printed at 15 percent, gore in the gutters made from hot glue painted with fingernail polish, and a skull over the door, cut from a child’s plastic ring.

It’s easiest to mix a tiny bit of sand into the paint before painting the houses; sprinkle the glitter onto the paint while it’s still wet. Scrapbook paper works well for the roofs — simply apply a coat of decoupage medium and then add glitter.

Have you made cardboard houses? How did you embellish them? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section.