Once Upon a Time, in a quiet seaside neighborhood, there was a little shop with the most charming window display in all the land: Old, forgotten books had been magically transformed into a village of holiday houses. The covers of the books were the roofs, and the pages were the exterior walls. The theme was black and white – printed words on white paper.
I was enchanted with these holiday houses, and I vowed that one day I would try this project myself.
Fast forward three years. And my little niece is shaping up to be a bit of a book worm. So I used her as my excuse – I mean my reason – for making a colorful version of the holiday houses by using a children’s book.
But, unlike the holiday houses, my “Storybook House” would have a door and a window to view interior scenes.
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I headed to the thrift store to find a children’s book with charming illustrations of both indoor and outdoor scenes.
Now, this book was going to be cut up, pages torn out, completely reconfigured. So I would not be looking for a rare classic. I found this adorable Little Golden Book, which is still in print.
The book measured 6.5″ X 8″. I would be using the book cover as the roof of the house. I found a box that measured 7″ X 9″ X 5″. It would work for the body of the house.
Cutting and More Cutting
It was time to turn the box into a house. For this, I mostly used a straight edge, scissors, and a utility knife.
The House Frame
I cut away at the top of the box until I had a “roofline” to support the book cover. I folded the two bottom side flaps of the box outward to make the house more stable, and I securely taped the remaining two flaps to form the house’s subfloor.
I also cut an extra piece of cardboard to use as the “floor” of the house. There was an inside lining page in the book which consisted of a charming white-on-pink pattern. I cut that page out and used the Mod Podge to adhere it to the cardboard piece. Now I had a floor with a cute “linoleum” pattern.
Then I measured, drew out, and then cut out a rounded doorway and a split window. After all, there would be a lot going on inside this house, and I wanted it to be visible.
Decorating the House
Finally, it was time for the fun part: Deciding which scenes from the book I would use for my house.
Of course, I looked for indoor scenes to paste inside, and outdoor scenes for the exterior. Then it was just a matter of cutting them to the size I needed and pasting them to the house using the Mod Podge.
It was a very forgiving project – if I messed something up, I just pasted something else over it. After I had everything pasted on, I painted a layer of Mod Podge over the whole house to protect it and give it a satiny sheen.
A Pre-Roof Tour
Here is a little tour of the house before the roof was attached.
We’ll start with the front entrance. Here we can see through to the back wall, where a Dad mouse is reading to his children.
This is inside the front door.
Here we see a bit of the kitchen and, to the right, a chipmunk is peeking in a high window.
Back outside, we can see through a window that a tired Dad bear is giving his cub a piggyback ride, while a chipmunk looks out the window of an apple tree.
And here you can see the little split window that I cut out.
My work is far from perfect, but the roof pulled it all together.
I cut the remaining pages out of the book with my utility knife. I was careful not to cut into the spine of the book. I wanted an intact book cover.
And yes, I did feel a little bad about cutting up this cute book. I’m saving the remaining pages and scraps for possible future projects.
After I had the book cover separated from the pages, it was no longer a book cover. It was a roof. And I carefully glued it to the house using plain old Elmer’s Glue-All and making sure there were no runs.
The house doesn’t really look Christmassy. It could be used any time of the year. But an early winter storm just blew in, and snow is creeping up on the Storybook House.
The interior needed a little light. I would never use a real wax candle in this little house, for obvious reasons. So, I added a battery-operated candle sitting on a thread-spool “table.”
Nervous Aunt Heidi’s Child Safety Warning:
I’m sure you already know that the Storybook House is not a toy. It’s a decoration. But it never hurts to share one of the formulas that I live by:
Babies/Small kids + just about anything = disaster.
And we can’t have that because the kids, the rabbits, the chipmunks, and the bears, well,
They all lived happily ever after.
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