Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oh What Fun Creating Putz Houses & Playing with German Glass Glitter

Well, it's that time of year for me, which means my imagination goes into overdrive, with Christmas ornament and d├ęcor ideas bouncing around in my head.....

I've been creating original ornaments for about 30 years, with new designs every year. While I never run out of ideas, in the end, I only produce to sell that which I am willing to re-produce. I've never been one for assembly line mass-production, because my fulfillment is dictated by quality over quantity. Therefore, I've got to really enjoy the design to repeat it many times.

I did create some new ornaments for this year, but I also did something out of the norm for me. I was perusing Pinterest a few weeks ago, and I saw a picture of an artificial tiered tree, and each level layer displayed an entire village of Putz houses. Something clicked in my head, and I immediately got a bug in my bonnet to try my hand at making some Putz/Glitter houses. I've admired vintage ones for years, but it just never occurred to me to make them from scratch. 

You creative types understand, that once that epiphany happens, you just can't let it go till you give it a try. I think another reason the Putz idea appealed to me this year is because I have an ample supply of German glass glitter to play with. I've been wanting to incorporate glass glitter into my Christmas creations in a much bigger way, so this totally satisfies that need.  

So without further ado, here is my first Putz house production......

Oh my. Making these completely from scratch does require a great deal of patience. Especially when you're creating them to sell, and not to keep. You can take a lot of shortcuts for personal projects, like using a glue gun. These would've been done in no time flat with hot glue, but when aesthetics are a top priority for perfect tiny details and joining walls, roofs, and chimneys, you need the open time of white glue to get it just right. I also reinforced each structure, making braces from foamcore.

Nothing speaks to your inner child better than glitter, glue, paint, and cardboard.

I've only created 3 of this design, and I kept them small to start with. Each one stands approximately 3-3/8” tall and wide.

I started completely from scratch, sketching out some designs, then cutting them out of chipboard. Since I don't have a die-cutter, and I ditched my printer years ago, everything was done old-school....pencil, cutting blade, and scissors. I used thick chipboard (I think 14ply), which I don't think could've gone through a printer anyway.

I used Snow-Tex for the first time. While I bought it to try it out for snow, in the end, I used it to create stucco walls for the houses. I painted over the stucco texture with rich colors of matte finish Tiffany blue, Red, and Chartreuse paint I had mixed specially for my projects. I chose to leave the matte sheen, to give a velvety contrast to the glitter, and they really complement each other now. 

After visiting many Putz house sites, I decided to make my snow using thick white artist paint mixed with white glue. I love how it came out. It looks much more wispy and creamy, which is the look I was going for. I applied it with a plastic clay knife tool, spreading it like frosting. It also seemed to dry a bit faster than the Snow-Tex.

I really wanted the houses to have seriously elegant twinkle, without the need to cut a hole in the back for a light bulb. Mission accomplished!
I cut the tiny icicle trim and coated it with clear glass glitter. I also added the clear glitter to the tiny black windows to make them look icy.

I have some other house designs swimming in my head, so we'll see what I'm ambitious enough to take on next. This must be said though........a lot of the larger Putz houses I've seen for sale truly deserve to be sold at a higher price than they are listed. These houses require a lot of time, patience and artistry, especially if made from scratch. I can see if they use pre-fab paper mache ones, that might lighten the load of work, but still, creativity is essential. So cheers to all the Putz house designers out there!

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  1. Those turned out really did a super job (as usual and your attention to detail is amazing) I have never used Snow Tex before and must give it a whirl.

  2. Wow, I love these wonderful creations. Your attention to detail is amazing.

  3. I too love Putz houses and have made many especially last year. Yours are so pretty with the glass glitter that I have yet to use. If you would like to see mine, hop on over to my blog here and another post here

  4. Your Putz Houses are absolutely adorable! Love the colors you used too.
    Marie@The Interior Frugalista

  5. Thank you Ladies! Glad you appreciate them as much as I do!

  6. Maria, I posted a link to this page from my Putz house forum. There are some serious builders there, and they seem to like your houses. .

    Hope you don't mind. - Paul

    1. Wow Paul, how could I mind! I can't believe you and Howard both like my work! I visited your forum, and I want to clarify about my backdrop. Just a board painted with black chalkboard paint, and they're sitting on a mirror. Thank you for visiting my blog!

  7. Hi Maria, I clicked over from Cardboard Christmas forum. Your houses are amazing! I'm working on my first one right now- you're right about it being difficult, but gosh, it is really fun!

    1. Thank you Bettsi! Never did I think I'd get attention for these houses, especially since these are my first! I sold the Tiffany Blue one today! There's no stopping me now....:) Be sure to take pictures of yours when you're done!

  8. Hi Maria, I love your little houses! I'm just getting into making little houses and you are right, they are a labour of love. Keep up the good (glittery) work!


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