In this DIY project Mel Stringer and Maddy Young, you’ll learn how to make your own tiny town of cozy paper houses. Use them to decorate a wedding celebration as customized place cards, clustered together as a centerpiece, or as party favors filled with a secret surprise. We’ve also included free PDF templates in four colorways which you can print out, fold up, and wow your guests.
Hi, I’m Mel Stringer, and I’m a zine maker and illustrator for Frankie Magazine. I find such joy in paper craft — so much so that I recently decided to collaborate with fellow artist Maddy Young to create these simple little paper houses, using her illustrations as my guiding light. Her drawings are full to the brim with thin windows, scalloped roofing, closed doors and leading ladders: definitely characteristics you romanticize when envisioning your dream home.
Just imagine these sturdy symbols of love, family, security and warmth decorating guests’ tables at the next wedding you attend. You might even find a tonne of confetti stuffed inside, a secret thank-you note, or a sweet treat to take home with you.
You Will Need:
A design template: red, pink, blue, sky blue.
Quick-drying glue (I recommend something like Selleys Kwik Grip)
Bone folder or butter knife
Medium-sized paintbrush (for applying the glue)
1. After you have downloaded and printed the design template of your choice (links above in the supply list), score along the dotted lines with a bone folder (or butter knife) and a ruler applying light pressure. (Scoring like this allows for easy and clean folds and tabs later on).
2. Carefully cut out the house template using the scissors.
3. Start folding along the dotted lines until every tab and fold has been creased.
4. Start by applying glue to the tabs on the base of the house. Attach these tabs to the side walls to begin constructing the house.
5. The roof is a little bit more fiddly that the base, but have patience (and that quick-drying glue like I mentioned earlier!) and begin to carefully glue the tabs of the roof together. Rely on your intuition when it comes to this part; in essence, it’s like putting together a box.
• Using an Exacto knife or pen knife and carefully cut out the windows of the house before folding to give the house little open windows!
• If you cut little windows into the house, you could insert a battery-operated tealight (or any sort of battery-operated light) to use the house as a small lantern decoration.
• By leaving the top flap of the roof unglued, you can easily pop goodies inside the house that can be closed and opened by your recipient!
• Consider writing your guests’ names on the back of the house (which has been purposely left blank) to use them as placeholders. Writing any other sort of name or message in that space is also an option.
Thank you to Mel Stringer and Maddy Young for sharing this project with us. If you make your own paper house party favors, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.
Mel Stringer is an illustrator and visual artist based in Brisbane, Australia. She regularly contributes her illustration work to Frankie magazine and is an artist for The Hatch agency.