(with a little help from Paul Race) for Big Indoor Trains™
Note from Editor: Glitterhouse designer/builder Howard Lamey recycled cardboard to provide an authentic look and feel for the bases of his vintage-style cardboard structures. This is how he explained it to me.
Building Glitterhouse Bases
Forming the BaseThe base for a vintage-style cardboard structure is a rectangular "box" that is primed, and sometimes decorated before the house and trees are installed. Howard builds his so that they are lightweight, but solid, with a finish reminiscent of the original cardboard mid-19th-century glitterhouses. The length and width of the base varies with the structure - usually you want to add a few inches to allow room for gates, fences, or hedges to dress up your buildings. The height, on the other hand, is usually at least 1/2". For a very large structure, you may want to make the base even thicker.
You may form the box either of two ways:
Finishing the BaseAfter the base is built, you then cover it with white bond acid-free paper just like you would wrap a gift, except that all surfaces of the paper cover must be glued down to the box. A glue stick works great for this.
When the glue has dried, paint the box with the base coat you have chosen. In most cases this is a flat white latex or acrylic paint. A flat white interior wall paint is nice because it suggests the "chalky" feeling of the paper-mache finish typical of many early glitterhouses.
How the base is finished depends on what the rest of the house looks like. If the house is set in a season other than winter, you may want to paint the base with a different colored topcoat before you attach the house and accessories.
Other Articles about Glitterhouse include:
Other Putz House Resources:
Other Articles that Discuss Putzes and Christmas Villages of the mid-20th Century:
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