Last season, I remember seeing little houses from the Hearth and Hand line at Target and thinking that they were so cute for a Christmas mantle but also year-round. And then recently I saw a photo in the Pottery Barn catalog of a Christmas mantle with galvanized village houses scattered across it. It is a fun way to update the traditional Christmas village decor that we may have grown up with. I like the simplicity of the looks; varied styles of the houses but monotone, allowing the rest of the decor to really shine. I thought I would try to make some chipboard houses using the Cricut Maker!
Admittedly this was an ambitious project for someone with just a little Cricut experience. I’ll tell you how I did it but also what issues I had and some tips so you can avoid these hiccups in your own project.
- Design your houses on the Cricut Design Space. This is not hard, but it can be a bit time consuming just to line everything up. Here is the basic gist of it:
- Make a house shape with a square/rectangle and a triangle. “Weld” them together. “Duplicate” it so you have a front and a back.
- Add a door and windows with circles and/or rectangles.
- Add thin rectangles that are at least 0.08″ (for the heavy 2mm chipboard) and half of the height to each side. Position these thin rectangles about 0.5″ from the edge of the house.
- Drag your mouse over one of the house pieces to highlight every cut within that house shape and hit “attach.” Repeat for the other house piece.
- Make another large rectangle for the sides of the house. Add windows. Add the thin rectangles to each side, but this time opposite of the front/back pieces. So, if the front/back pieces have the rectangles on the bottom and going halfway up the side, the side walls must have the rectangles on the top and going halfway down the side. Attach all the cuts as above. Now “duplicate” the entire piece.
- Make a rectangle for the roof. The length should be twice the length of one side of the triangle (I approximated with my fingers but you can actually use a ruler and measure from your screen) + 0.5″. The width should be the width of one of the sides of your house + 0.5″. Add a scoring line in the middle of the rectangle for the peak of the roof. Read to the bottom for more info about this piece.
- Save each house as a separate design file.When you are ready, click the green “Make It” button in the top corner. Now you will see how many chipboard pieces you will need for your house and how the machine will cut them. Be sure to tell the machine the correct size of your material (the heavy chipboard is 11″x11″). Look at the layout and adjust it so the pieces are spread out and not super close to the edge.
- Put your chipboard on your strong grip mat and secure it with masking tape.
- Start cutting! Each board will pass through the machine 20 times to cut through all the layers of the chipboard. You do not have to watch it the whole time, but definitely check in every couple minutes. The board may shift or the knife can get stuck and it will stop cutting. Also, I did not wait for the full 20 passes through the machine. I’m sure the cuts would be cleanest that way, but after 13 passes the shapes popped right out. The smaller details could have used more cuts but I was impatient.
- Assemble your chipboard houses! The four sides should slide together and the roof will rest on top.
- Decorate if you want! Some ideas I had are, gingerbread house style with glitter, beads, Washi tape, and maybe even candy, or sprayed with silver paint and sponged with a little black or gray for a galvanized look. Add some battery operated tea lights or fairy lights for a little sparkle!
Design. The thinner parts of the design tend to peel. I tried to have muttons in the windows but they were too small and the material shredded during cutting. The edges of the sides next to the slits tended to peel also. I positioned the slit about 1/4″ (about 6 mm) from the edge, so maybe another 1/8″ would help.
Chipboard. I bought the heavy Cricut chipboard and it is pretty thick. I think the project would be fine with regular chipboard and it wouldn’t require the knife blade or the strong grip mats. Or the 20 passes through the machine.
Knife blade. The 2.0mm chipboard requires this blade. I was able to find the blade on Amazon for $18, but it typically costs $45! I tried using the regular blade and the machine would not recognize it at all.
Strong grip mat. I used a light grip mat for this project and I had to cut probably eight boards. The mat is no longer sticky after this project, and I had issues with the board popping off and shifting during cutting.
Scoring wheel. The machine would not recognize the scoring wheel for this project, but then I realized that it wouldn’t matter because the board is so thick that you really won’t be able to bend it at all. Thinner chipboard would be much better for any project that requires scoring.
If you like this tutorial, check out some of the other bloggers that created holiday projects with Cricut this week!