This post is in collaboration with ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape.
A friend of mine is moving out of state next week and I’ve been trying to come up with a little housewarming gift for her. I thought about going the whole bottle of wine route, but decided against it because I want to give her something she can keep in her new place. So it’s part going away gift / part housewarming gift, I guess.
After playing around with a few ideas, I decided to make her a set of little plaster houses, inspired by this cardboard window display I spotted a while back. These houses are fairly heavy (at least the bigger ones are), so they would work as paperweights and book ends in addition to just decoration. And they can be customized to pretty much any existing decor with patterns and different colors.
Empty milk cartons // ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape // Duct Tape // Powdered plaster // Water // Bowl for mixing // Metal spoon // Acrylic paint // Sealant or matte medium // Paint brush // Foam core scraps // Clothespins // Xacto knife
There are two different roof types you can make for this project. I’m going to show you the more complicated of the two, which will create a roof like the largest house in the photos. To create the other roof type, like the roof of the tiny ‘hello’ house, complete step 1, skip steps 2-5 and then continue on as instructed below.
1. Turn an empty milk carton upside down. Using an Xacto knife or box cutter, cut in X across the bottom, corner to corner.
2. Next, flip the carton back over (right side up) open the carton from the top (not the cap where the milk pours out – the actual carton).
3. Now cut two of the four sides off the top part of the carton (see photo).
4. Tape the two pieces with the little folded flap back together with duct tape to keep the general shape. And add a piece of tape to the inside of the carton to cover up the spout opening.
5. Then, attach scrap pieces of foam with duct tape to the triangular holes that have formed on each side of the top of the house. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of duct tape for this part. You don’t want any plaster to seep out of the sides because it will loose it’s shape. To make sure everything was taped down really well, I used clothespins at the very top and then duct taped it again to get the right shape for the roof.
6. Turn the milk carton upside down and place it in a bowl or other container that will keep it standing up straight. Then set aside.
7. Now, it’s time to make the plaster. Mix plaster powder with enough water to achieve the consistency of pancake batter. Stir well. It’s best to add a little bit of water at a time while stirring until you get the right thickness.
8. Now, it’s time to pour the mixture into the milk carton. Wait for it to harden, according to instructions. Mine took about 30 minutes for it to completely harden.
9. Remove the plaster house from the milk carton, by tearing away the carton and ripping off the tape. Allow the piece to air dry for 24 hours (or according to instructions on label) before doing anything else.
10. Once your piece is completely dry, apply a sealant or matte medium if you’d like. This part is optional – you may need it in order for the paint to stick well and you may not. I didn’t need it for mine, but if you have any trouble with paint, this would be the step to correct.
11. Now it’s time to paint. My favorite part! Using ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, I sectioned off an area that I wanted to paint, starting with the roof. Then I painted a door, by masking off a rectangle shape with tape, near the bottom of the house. You could also paint geometric shapes or stripes for a more decorative feel. I did that with a couple of my houses and it almost looked like graffiti on the side of a house, which I kind of loved.
12. Let it dry and then do any paint touch ups if necessary. Add a sealant or matte medium top coat and you are done.
Now you have a cute decorative house that you can give as a gift, use as a paperweight, bookend, or decorative object. Or paint geometric shapes on one side of your home for a pop of color…
And here are some photos of the finished pieces…
If you’re feeling motivated, you could make five or six of these in a day, as long as you have the milk cartons on hand (grab them out of the recycling bin). Bonus! This would be a great project to work on with kids too (with supervision of course). Easy and fun.
This post is a collaboration with ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape. To join the creative community, visit ScotchBlue on Facebook. And be sure to check out ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape on Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube as well.
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