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 Post subject: Neighborhood church
PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2024 8:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:05 am
Posts: 597
Here's a church for the Christmas display, derived from ideas on the Cardboard Christmas site and some of Hal Carstens' graphics from Toy Trains magazine. What I came up with is fairly simple in concept. After drawing up a simple plan, I started cutting/assembling components using matt board from the craft store:

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Normally I paper the corners to cover the exposed edges of the cardboard, by my friend Howard suggested the architectural feature known as "quoins", a sort of stonework that is featured on some buildings. Being from an area where "form-stone" was popular, it seemed an interesting idea, so we cut some from more cardboard and applied it to the corners and exposed seams:

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Working with cardboard, you get some warpage and/or bowing of the material, so a bit of internal bracing is required to get/keep things relatively square. I use basswood for this; it's lightweight, but quite a bit stronger than balsa. A few pieces along the bottom edges serve well, also providing a good gluing surface for eventually cementing the building to the base.

My style of building these things falls somewhere between the classic, albeit oversized, putz house, and a scale model (dimensionally). Putz-style typically doesn't concern itself with a lot of detail embellishments, but if you don't include at least a bit of trim, things can look pretty drab. Along these lines, I added a fairly ornate cornice to the front and small window ledges. The original I used for inspiration had a cornice fashioned from some single-sided corrugated, but I didn't have any of that handy. Once I got those bits applied, I gave the whole thing a basecoat of tan spraypaint:

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Carstens' model had a front door that sat back in a "vestibule" of sorts, a good place to shake off your umbrella before going inside. I included this in my model. It's pretty simple, basically just a box glued inside the opening. I used his front door, printed on the InkJet, then cemented in place. I also took a few minutes to paint the trim a lighter "concrete" color using some acrylic paint I had in the box:

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(continued)


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 Post subject: Re: Neighborhood church
PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2024 10:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:05 am
Posts: 597
After the trim had dried, we cut and installed the roof on the main part of the building. This was made from the same matt board, cut to size and painted a red ochre color before gluing in place. I lined the interior tops of the walls with balsa strips so there was a surface to glue the roof to. The fit of the peak seam doesn't have to be perfect as it will eventually get covered by the "snow" bit. I just had to make sure the fit was nice and square with an appropriate overhang all the way around. I added an interior bit to add some rigidity to the roof, making sure that it stayed nice and rigid and didn't bow.

Before installing the roof on the tower, I decided to add a bell to the belfry. Trips to the craft store yielded nothing, but I eventually found a pack on, where else, Amazon. They were a bit smaller than I'd hoped, but no worries, I added two (belfries typically have more than one anyway). A couple of basswood strips and some TiteBond would hold them in place.

Originally I was not going to include a steeple as I kinda liked the look of a Norman-style tower, but there wasn't enough height difference between the main roof and the top of the tower so I decided to go ahead and add the steeple. It took a bit of protractor work to get the angles worked out, but eventually I got something that looked about right. It's not perfectly square at the base, but that's okay because the tower isn't perfectly square either. Once assembled, I gave it a shot of that same red ochre color, then cemented it in place:

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With the roof on, it was time to get the windows in. I used Hal Carstens' window design, scanned and printed on translucent vellum paper. I let them sit for a few hours to assure the ink was dry, otherwise one risks smearing them badly when handling. Once dry, I glued them into position on the interior using some white glue. This can be a bit of a disconcerting process as the vellum paper has a tendency to crinkle up when it comes in contact with the glue. However, pressing them in place and then burnishing the edges with a small flat block of wood quickly gets them in place, and as they dry they will draw nice and tight, wrinkle-free. Have faith!

I was hating the white border around the front door, so I reprinted that after doing a bit of edit work using MS Paint, gluing the new version in overtop of the old one. Why green? No idea, but it seemed to work.

The next step was to make the base. For this I used an old USPS Priority Mail box, cut down to a 12"x10"x1" profile. I bent the edges over a straight-edge, then used a bit of TiteBond for the corners. Once dry, I added a a few pieces of interior bracing; this always helps to get the base flat, and keep it that way. I papered the exposed corners, then painted the whole thing with some white spray-paint.

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Once the base was dry, I glued the building to the base using some more TiteBond. While that was drying, I started working on the fence. Every church should have a nice fence around it, and there's one not too far from here that has a nice stone fence with a slate top running around the perimeter. I used some thick corrugated that I cut with a beveled top, a few 1/2-inch square pegs for corners, and some 1/4-inch cardboard strips for the tops of the walls. I then glued the wall to three sides of the base, leaving the backside open. I painted in a front walk and the floor of the vestibule with some "concrete" acrylic paint.

I needed a gate, so I cut a small piece from the lifetime supply of hardware cloth I have. I drilled a few holes in two posts, and got the "gate" into position. I then cemented in a piece of brass rod to represent the center-post, finally painting the whole thing with some black enamel I had in the paint box. I then made a small church sign out of some cereal box, a couple balsa strips, and some printed graphics. I painted the frame black, then glued it to the back of the wall.

The last thing to be done was to apply the glitter using Mod-Podge. I did this in three or four stages. First, I applied glitter to all of the vertical walls of the building, being extremely careful not to get the adhesive on the windows (easier said than done). Once done with that, I glittered the roof, the fence, and finally the rest of the base. The last thing to do was "plant" a tree. I had a small bottle-brush type tree handy, so I cut the base off leaving about a quarter inch of the wire. I drilled a small hole in the base, then used som LocTite "Extreme" glue to cement the tree in place:

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So that's it; it turned out reasonably well. Noted a few things design-wise and finish-wise that need incremental improvement, but otherwise worked well.


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 Post subject: Re: Neighborhood church
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2024 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:05 am
Posts: 597
Many of the original cardboard putz houses had small figures included with them, the churches usually being the vicar or some such. Back in April, I found a little hollow-cast lead figure at the York TCA meet made by Britains of the U.K. He's a little big, but then scale doesn't really enter into when you look at these things:

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I touched up his hat a bit, otherwise as found. He looks like he's in the right place.


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