Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grungy Tall Houses Tutorial

Hi and welcome! I have another tutorial for you today, for two grungy 3-D tall houses, made with dies, mat board, fun mediums and metal embellishments. This month's Eileen Hull Art With Heart challenge is April Showers. There is a fun prize to be won, so join us!
Ever since I first saw the 3-D Blocks dies, I wanted to use them to make houses. Last year, I made an Easter House with the largest block die (you can find a tutorial here), and now I was planning to make two tall apartment type buildings. The plan was to make these in spring colours and add some flowers, but the project got its own life and wanted to be something different, quite grungy and not at all springy. You can use bright colours instead and get a totally different look. 
I love to make houses, you can find more houses here: Where the Heart Is Tutorial, Yellow 3-D Brick House Tutorial, and Winder Wonderland. Let's start!
Die cut six of each of the two smaller blocks on the 3-D Blocks/Cubes die. The die has three different sizes and the quickest thing is to die cut all the sizes six times and then use the larger boxes for a later project (I used one of them here). On the photo, you just see the medium-sized die cuts.

A house needs windows and a door, and I used the Windows and the Mini Openings Movers & Shapers dies for this. Hold them in place with masking tape and die cut using the base tray. Remember that one of the windows will be facing the other direction, because of the way the blocks are assembled.

On the smaller size blocks, I used a window and the door from Mini Openings.

I like to add 'real' windows to my houses and my favourite material to use for that is mica. You can also use a transparency, vellum or Frosted Film.

As curtains, I used different pieces of ribbons, one type for each floor in the buildings.

Use a strong adhesive to assemble the blocks, I used Ranger's Wonder Tape.

I glued the houses together with multi-medium, placing them under a heavy book for a little while, one floor at a time.
And now the fun really begins! Smear the smaller house with Wendy Vecchi's Crackled Texture Paste. I did two sides at a time. Cover the joints too.

Press small metallic embellishments into the paste. When the two sides dried, you can do the remaining two sides.

When it dries, the crackles appear like magic, such cool stuff. You might find that some of the embellishments fall off when the paste is dry, simply glue them back with Glossy Accents. Since there is an impression, they stick easily.

I wanted a different texture on the big house and used Coarse Molding Paste, which has a great gritty and rough texture. Smear the house with a palette knife, two sides at a time, same as with the smaller house. The metallic embellishments will stay stuck on this one. You can also use Wendy Vecchi's White Embossing Paste.

Leave to dry overnight and paint with watered down Pumice Stone Distress Paint, using a paint brush. This is where my houses turned from spring themed to grungy.

When the Pumice Stone paint is dry, dry-brush the house here and there with Black Soot, to increase the texture.

To paint the crackled house, water down Iced Spruce and Black Soot paint. Work one section at a time, and first paint with Iced Spruce, using a paint brush. Then drop in the Black Soot, and because there is already watery paint on the paste, the black paint will seep into the cracks and emphasise them. Wipe off with a moist cloth.
Rub white paint into the words on the metallic embellishments to make them more visible. I also dabbed a little bit of Broken China here and there on the metal pieces, using my finger, just to add a touch of colour.

Paint two doors black and give them a tiny screw brad as a handle. Attach a strip of cardstock at the back and adhere the remaining strip to the inside of the house, so that the doors are slightly ajar.

It is a little tricky getting the door stuck, I used a plastic palette knife to press the cardstock strip on the inside. The houses needed numbers of course, these are from Prima.

Love the curtains peeking through the mica windows. The blue paint adds a distressed look to the metal embellishments. You could also use black paint.

Even though you covered the joints between the floors, they will still be visible when it is dry. I liked that extra detail.

Let's look at the other sides of the buildings. All the metallic embellishments are from Tim Holtz or Prima.

The flower looks nice with the blue paint. The Coarse Molding Paste has a great texture and it made the larger house pretty heavy.
The crackle texture is so cool. The thicker you apply the paste, the larger the cracks will be.

The small house is 4 1/4 x 1 1/2 in (12 x 4 cm) and the large one is 6 1/4 x 2 in (16 x 5.5 cm).

I love that you can see straight through the houses and into the rooms. I was even tempted to place a little Lego figurine inside one of the apartments, but he would have been stuck in there and that would not have been popular.
And the last two sides. If you paint the houses in different colours and use flowers or buttons instead of gears and screws and you will get a completely different look.

You could also add tiny photos to the houses and more sentiments and words than I did.

At the top of the houses, I used two round metal pieces. A clock Idea-ology piece would have looked great too, but I couldn't find the package.

All done, ready to be displayed or given as a gift.

Thank you for looking at this tutorial!

Happy crafting!


Surfaces: Sizzix Little Sizzles White Mat Board 6 x 13
Dies: Sizzix: 3-D Blocks/Cubes, Windows, Mini Openings
Medium: Wendy Vecchi Stampers Anonymous Crackled Texture Paste; Golden Artist Paint: Coarse Molding Paste
Paint: Distress Paint: Black Soot, Pumice Stone, Broken China, Picket Fence, Iced Spruce
Embellishments: Tim Holtz Idea-ology: Game Spinners, Sprocket Gears, Mini Gears, Word Bands, Mini Fasteners, Pen Nibs, Word Sticks, Clothes Hangers; Prima: Sunrise Sunset: Mini Numbers, Mini Flowers, Flowers, Washers, Junkyard Findings: Clock Parts, Jeans Buttons, Screw Heads, Special Screws; 7 Gypsies mini keys; US ArtQuest Mica Sheets; ribbons and trim


  1. Beyond fantastic - so inventive, such fun, and brilliantly done!
    Alison xx

  2. Such a fun project and beautifully made!

  3. I love your apartment buildings!

  4. Incredible! LOVE the way your creative brain has worked on this to make two very 'des res's'! Jenny x

  5. A M A Z I N G!!!
    so cool...I LOVE it LOTS!

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  8. I have never seen such beautiful work. I hope you will win the challenge. You made so much work out of it and your explanation is so understanding. Thanks Anneke.

  9. Absolutely fantastic idea , love love these, the idea is inspired and beautifully executed. Tracy x

  10. Oh my gosh Anna Karin these are fab! I attempted ATB house making pre CHA and it was a huge have inspired me to take another whack at it!


  11. I love these so much! I really, really do!

  12. A great tutoral with a fantastic result! These houses won my heart for good.

  13. I want to live in your houses Anna-Karin. These are so great- love the texture and embedded objects. Each one is so interesting- and that crackle! Love it!

  14. These house are SO COOL! Love the textures and embellies!

  15. Fascinating. I love all the details, especially the mica windows. I mused over the Lego figure being mad about being stuck in the house with a door that wouldn't open. Actually, I'd like to see some artwork inside, or a few chairs, or a bird in a cage, or a cat, or a handmade figure. Such an inspirational piece.

  16. You have the coolest ideas......
    Just love it......

  17. I've only just discovered your blog and I'm quickly becoming a big fan! You have so many amazing projects!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Happy Crafting!