It’s flexible, free and easy to work with, I’m a fan of cardboard and it’s the perfect material for a house for miss thistle. The house was begun a year – or two? ago and then stayed stuck. Stuck in over thinking, indecision and architectural correctness. It needs the right spirit and that spirit kept slipping away in the effort.
A couple days ago I put a deadline on it – there had to be a finished structure by the end of the week. The time limit was motivating and got my wheels turning, I stumbled into a secret ingredient that solved lots of problems – gummed paper tape.
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It’s a thick brown paper tape with adhesive on the back that you moisten to activate. I used it to cover edges and seams – it adds strength and stability to my quick, messy build and fills in pretty big gaps. I ended up putting it over every gap, seam and edge. I’ve used this tape before for tacking down watercolor paper but never in this way. It is awesome. *You can get it here (This is an affiliate link – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link).
A couple tips for working with it – use a sponge to dampen the adhesive – don’t dip the tape in water. And if you’re pushing it into a corner seam, crease it first. I also used it to cover the edges of some of the windows and door opening. This was kind of a pain so I switched to masking tape for the little areas.
The main downside to working with cardboard is it warps and gets soggy when painted. I’ve got a few suggestions for avoiding that:
Use wood glue. It sets up quickly and has a nice grab almost right away. I used tons. Hot glue works too but I’m pretty over burning myself.
Cover the raw edges of the corrugated board. Use the aforementioned paper tape or masking tape. The paper tape has a nicer surface.
Laminate. It makes a huge difference. Laminating two pieces together makes a much sturdier and warp resistant structure. Wood glue is perfect for sticking them together. I laminated the front and floors. I wish I had done the sides too but I think it will be ok.
Paint in thin coats and don’t add water. I’m using latex paint and dry brushing on a super thin layer as a primer. When the whole thing is covered in that I’ll start adding color, decoration, etc. Always in thin layers. Plus I want to retain the “cardboardness” for this house.
And a building tip – I used clothespins to support the second floor. I wanted it to be removable to make decorating easier. The clothespins are taken apart and wood glued to the walls. They are adorable miss thistle size beams.
I’m on fire for the little house now. So excited to do the fun decoraty stuff. I tested out a few of the tiny things inside and it all feels just right.
Are you building a tiny doll world? There are lots of tutorials for furniture and accessories on the miss thistle society page, including the hearth, rug, stove and pot above.
Stay tuned for more cardboard house updates!