DIY Christmas Cardboard Putz Houses

Posted on October 18, 2014 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I did promise you a few ideas for making your own DIY Christmas houses, didn't I? I think they're called Putz houses, a tradition handed down to us from the Christmas heritage of the Moravian Protestants. Anyway, I find that our lady Martha's Christmas village templates are still the best as these can be easily reinvented and decorated in any way you want. I usually make a master template from the printout by glueing the cutouts on stiff cardboard and then use this master to cut out the houses, trees, and church from cereal and other cardboard packet containers.

You can use Martha's templates as is to make Christmas tree ornaments or you can increase the size of the templates to create buildings, etc. for a village vignette. As always, Martha's instructions are very clear and easy to follow. You can find the templates and instructions for making the houses, etc. here.

Martha also has simpler templates for her little pinecone houses and you may prefer these. Find the templates here.

Here are a few decorated Christmas houses to inspire you:

Christmas House Garland

These cute little houses were made from cards and book pages and then strung into a garland. The site is French but you get the idea.

Twig Christmas Tree Village

Okay, if you've got the time and the twigs this would be a sensational display for your home at Christmas. The site is flogging the little tree lights but I am sure that you could create these using Martha's templates and glue the twigs on. Me - I just like looking at the picture.

Christmas Gift Box Houses

Design Mom offers both little houses and school house gift box templates already coloured with the design on. Great if you don't have a lot of time to find cardboard.

Cereal Box Christmas Houses

No templates needed. Just use up all those cereal and food packet boxes that are cluttering up the recycle bins. An easy one for your kids to make and decorate.

There are 1000s of Christmas houses online that you will fall in love with. Just remember to keep it simple and you will actually enjoy making these.

Ciao for now.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I made these 'shamrocks' as a party decoration and used empty cardboard tissue boxes! I made a template using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter and glued the shamrocks on wooden skewers. Easy, no??

Recycle cardboard into Christmas stars

Posted on December 2, 2012 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Nice way to recycle cardboard and decorate a hallway for the holidays.

More Christmas Advent Calendars to Make

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Here are a few more Christmas Advent calendars you might enjoy looking at (maybe, even making!). The nicest ones I've come across seem to alll be from Europe - Germany, Spain, Netherlands. Anyway, here they are.




Each of these 24 little boxes measures 6 x 6 cm. They are shown hanging on a tree branch. You can easily cluster them on a table or dresser top instead. Instructions to make are in German but the photos should make it easy enough to follow. You can download a pdf patternto make these from the German Raumdinge blog. Use whatever cardboard you have on hand.  


From a Dutch blog, Stipje  - these are small boxes simply wrapped with a wooden number label attached. No instructions are needed. If you can't find similar labels, use what you have including cutting numbers from an old calendar. I found these here.


I love this one from Holomama because it uses whatever is on hand to create a tree-shaped advent calendar (see first photo). Instructions are in Spanish but the photos are clear enough to follow. And, hey, you can always use Google Translate - NOT! 

Have beaucoup de fun with these.

Tubular Christmas Advent Calendar

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I know that you can buy Advent calendars at any dollar or department store but you can't always control what's in the little compartments. Dollar store chocolate?? I don't think so. Besides, it's more fun for you (or maybe you can get some help from your older kids) to rifle through the recycling bin to see what you can reuse, recycle, upcycle, repurpose. Start now if you want to meet the December 1 deadline! The one shown above along with good how-to instructions is from Disney's Spoonful craft site. It's made from cardboard tubes of different sizes and glued together to make a neat wreath (two for one, yay!!). I would use a clean paper grocery bag to wrap the individual little gifts. Don't limit yourself to candy--consider age-appropriate treats like action figures, cars, puzzles, jokes, etc. Think about what your little ones like when filling the compartments.

More Advent calendar ideas to come next time.

Tutorial: Halloween Recycling Cereal Boxes & Magazines

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us (here in Canada at least) and I've recovered from all that eating (thanks Neva and Sean for a lovely feast!!), I'm ready for Halloween (my second favourite holiday after Christmas). And I get to reuse two of my favourite materials - cardboard and - ta da - magazines. I made these easy-to-make Halloween cones today. I'll be giving these out to any goblins and ghoulies that come calling on Halloween night!

Here's what you will need:

  • Cereal boxes (empty, of course)
  • Used magazines (with Halloween pictures, articles, etc.)
  • Party hat (cone-shaped)
  • Scissors, pencil
  • Glue or stapler
  • Optional: hole punch)
  • Ribbon (black, orange, or white and preferably leftover from last year)
  • Napkins (black, orange, or white - whatever you have)


Here's how to do it:

  1. Gather up all your supplies. 
  2. Go through your magazines to find pictures you can use. 
  3. Open and flatten the cereal boxes and then cut off sides, top and bottom and put aside for other projects. Keep front and back.
  4. Open the party hat and flatten. This will be your cone template. 
  5. Place this template on top of the cardboard and then draw the shape. Cut with scissors. 
  6. Now place this cutout piece on top of your selected page. Don't worry if the cutout overlaps the magazine page, it'll look okay when you're done because it will be at the back where nobody looks.
  7. Cut out the magazine page, fit it on top of the cutout and then glue it on. 
  8. Shape into a cone and then glue or staple the cone at the back.
  9. Optional: Punch holes about 1/2 inch apart (1 cm) around the top of the cone and then thread ribbon through the holes. Tie ends together at the back or front of the cone.
  10. Unfold the napkin and put treats into the centre.
  11. Scrunch up the napkin at the ends, tie with ribbon, and then stick into the cone. Voila - you're done!