Quaint House


It’s been a while since I built a simple papercraft house, as opposed to the complex gate houses and Tudor restaurants and ruins with support braces and balconies and ladders and stairways I’ve been doing lately. I figured it’d be fun to see how quickly I could crank out something basic, plus I could document the steps for the sake of anyone who’s curious as to how this papercrafting thing works. Read on for pictures and details.


That’s the raw tools, including the cutting mat underneath everything else. I use a little 6″ ruler because it’s easier to flip it around and so on. I don’t find I need to cut lines longer than 6 inches very often, and when I do it’s no big deal. The marker is a Prismacolor, but you could use just about anything. I have four or five other colors — black, cooler grey, green, brown, etc. — but you don’t really need more than one warm grey to start with. Most of this stuff comes from the scrapbooking section of your local crafts store.

Uncut sheets
Uncut sheets

This is pretty way simple: two pages of paper, and the second one is mostly blank. It’s a Quaint House model from Dave Graffam, and most of his models are kind of small if you think of them at D&D miniatures scale. This is on purpose, I think, because it makes them easier to work with when you’re shoving miniatures around a battlemap. I’ve come to rather like this feeling, even if you can’t imagine how someone could live inside a building that’s one inch wide. Or five feet, once you translate the scale.

Also, I turned this sucker out from start to finish in under 25 minutes, even counting the time it took to snap some iPhone pictures.

Unglued Pieces
Unglued pieces

Next I cut everything out. You have the main house, the roof, the chimney, and a base. Again, this is a small house. If you were designing something bigger you’d need multiple sheets of paper so you could have a wider structure. The wooden edges of the roof will fold under so that there’s no white showing where the roof overlaps the building. If I was being painstaking, this is where I’d pull the brown marker out for edging so that it’d match the color of those boards. But nobody’s gonna notice that level of difference.

I’d normally cut the fiddly pieces out first so I can glue them and let them dry while I’m working on bigger chunks. This time I did each step in order for the sake of pictures. I use the ruler for any edge that’s going to show; for a lot of those tab edges, I just freehanded the cut, since a bit of raggedness wouldn’t matter.

I’ve also scored along just about every dark line on each piece: the center line of the roof, the edges of each side of the house proper, the seam between the roof tiles and the under-roof, and so on. Some people use a scoring tool. I just use the back side of the blade, without too much pressure. You use the ruler here, too, so that the score is as even as possible. Scoring is important; without scoring the paper, you’ll get crooked fold lines.

Finally, I edged all the folds and edges of the paper. Edging is just taking the marker and running it along the edges to darken them, because when you fold a piece of paper the interior white of the paper winds up showing. Edging is a huge deal and it makes the work look so much better. Here’re some before and after pictures, which give a bit of an idea why.

Unedged Roof
Edged Roof

It may help to click through, but the first one is unedged. You can see the little crease of white along the peak of the roof. It’s more noticeable in person, and it’s a giveaway that the structure is paper. On the second one, you can see the dark line along the top. It makes the piece feel more solid.

Glued Pieces
Glued pieces

Making progress. The piece with the most glue is actually the roof, because of the underfolds. The marker comes in handy again here, cause you can use it like a rolling pin to go over those folds. This both keeps the crease tight and spreads the glue around for a nice even coat. They call this burnishing, and now you know.

Completed House
Completed house

Done. Again, if I hadn’t been timing myself I would have let the individual pieces dry a bit but for a model this small it really didn’t hurt much. I might make a bunch more of these and base them on a 6″ foamboard with a street tile on top of it, or something, to have a nice all-in-one prop. Dave Graffam’s models are usually layered PDFs, as you might have noticed if you clicked through to the model page. If not, well, now you have another chance. I could do quite a few varieties of house from this model, with different roofs, walls, and side details. Even the chimney and the boarded over chunk of the roof are optional.

So that’s papercraft.


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One Response to “Quaint House”

  1. Moth Says:

    Cool. 🙂

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