Chunky Row Houses

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By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People

I have something of a magazine and book addiction, particularly those dedicated to the paper arts. I leaf through them endlessly, marveling at the ingenuity, loving color combos, reading up on new (to me) techniques, and, sometimes, experiencing HUH? moments. You know the ones I mean, don’t you? The moments when your brow involuntarily scrunches, and you think, But what is this FOR?

So, over the past several months, I’ve been exploring, trying out new things, and finally figuring out that Art isn’t for anything. It’s just art, and has value in simply existing.

The latest new thing for me was a Chunky Row House.

A Chunky House From a Friend

“Chunky” refers, I’m pretty sure, to anything you really thicken up with layers of paper, embellishments, yarns, lace, glitter, beads, coins, buttons, and whatever else you might decide to use. And that’s most of your “You Will Need” list, so to make it official,

You Will Need:

To make your chunky house, first draw the outline of a house and cut it out. A good size would be anywhere from 3″ to 5″ wide, and 6″ to 8″ tall. Here’s a picture of the back of one:

As you can see, there’s a separate chimney piece on this one, just a simple rectangle cut out and glued in place. The chimney is optional—this is your house, your way!

I decided my house would have doors that opened, and chose a sheet of music to be the inside wall. I traced around my house on the paper, cut it out, and glued house and interior “wall” together. Even though I knew much of the music paper would be covered, I covered the entire house with the music. That way I wouldn’t have any unexpected blank spots anywhere.

The next step was to create a scene inside the house. I decided on a loving vintage couple, taking my inspiration from the house a friend had sent me. I cut them out, and lay them where I thought I’d want them, and then added flowers, a butterfly, and toyed with a couple of birds. When I was satisfied with the composition, I glued everything down.

Next comes the exterior wall. Choose you wall covering, trace, and cut out, but don’t glue yet. First, measure the size of your interior scene, and cut a door opening by folding the paper gently in half, creasing only as far as the top of the door. Cut on the crease, and then, paper still folded in half, make a cut at right angles to the crease, long enough that when you open the doors your inside scene will be revealed. Spread glue everywhere but on the inside of the doors, and glue down.

From there on out, it’s just adding bits! I decided to put a different paper in the gable, glued a rosette in the center of it, with two hearts and a sprig of beaded wire poking from behind. Two folded paper nut cups made nice flourishes. I edged the door inside and out with lace, added two silk flowers with tiny roses, more lace. It really became a sort of game—how many different things could I add before it would look like “too much”?

Here’s my finished house:

One thing you can do with these chunky houses is link them together, by punching small holes and using wire loops. Connected by their side walls, they’ll stand on a table or shelf and create a small city scape. Connected top and bottom, they can be hung on a wall.

And it occurred to me while I was typing this that they’d be darling if each interior scene was a picture of someone you love. They’d make a wonderful gift for Mother’s Day, don’t you think?

*Mother’s Day is May 8th this year*

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About Anitra

Anitra Cameron had the good fortune to be born into a family where creativity ran rampant. Her father has authored several books and worked as a photographer and her mother hand-painted portraits. Anitra’s favorite crafts to make are: Jewelry (especially using buttons), collaged book marks, miniature cake stands, all from recycled materials. Anitra’s moto: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Live with that long enough and you’ll never want to throw anything away, so best to turn it into art! Anitra lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, where their combined family’s total seven children, and (so far) seventeen grandchildren. Recently Anitra became a great-grandmother of a darling little boy! You can find more of Anitra’s work at “Coffee Pot People”.

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