I love all things Tim Holtz and was excited when the Sizzix die set Village Collection was released on October 2nd . Tim had previously released large steel rule dies for making houses, but I only owned a few of them and that limited what I could make with them. And I hadn’t even used them yet. Those older dies had been discontinued and the price had soared on the secondary market, so purchasing the rest of the set wasn’t really an option. This new set was now in Thinlits dies, making storage easier, and providing so many more options to customize the buildings. Plus, there were three mini embossing folders released the same day – brickwork, lumber, and stone. So, I set out to find a set to purchase and try my hand at tiny house construction.
My set arrived a few days after I ordered it and my first task was to organize the dies. Tim’s live YouTube on the release day mentioned a system created by igirlzoe, so I went to her blog to check it out. I purchased a couple of magnetic vent covers, cut them into equal parts, then set to work sorting the dies. The set includes two main houses, a manor tower addition, a side addition, an entryway, bell towers, awnings, chimneys, roof shingles, doors and so many windows! Once sorted, it’s a bit easier to find the piece you are looking for – now to decide what to build.
I started with the smaller House 1. I chose the house outline die, and placed it on my Sizzix cutting plate, onto which I had placed a sheet of Sizzix’s sticky grid, to help line everything up. Then I set about deciding what doors and windows to place. I cut the house pieces out of some basic paper, then set about constructing the house. I glued up one side, then decided to put mica in the windows while the house was still flat. Then I glued the other side. Now, I wanted to add a skin with texture – and found I had made my first big mistake. I had taken the dies off the cutting plate and replaced them on their sheets – oops. In order to have the “skin” match the house – you need to cut the paper for the skin from the same layout. I managed somehow to get the pieces back to almost the same location, then I was able to cut the pieces I needed. I put each piece through the embossing folder, then added ink and distress crayon. Again I found a construction error – it is better to cut off the tabs that aren’t needed for the skin before doing the embossing and inking. And before embossing it would be a good idea to mark the folding lines – they tend to disappear when you put the texture on.
Now to add the skin to the house. I used Distress Collage Medium smeared on the back and used some clips found in a bag at the thrift store to hold the pieces in place while the glue set. I cut frames for all the windows from black cardstock and glued them in place with Bearly Art precision craft glue. Again, the clips came in handy for holding the pieces in place.
Adding the roof was the next step – a bit fiddly trying to get the tabs in the right place and the corners lined up, but I managed. Next to cut a pile of shingles – the design of the dies means you cut an entire row of shingles that are just the right size for the roof of the house – it makes the roofing job easier – at least on the back. The shingle pieces were cut from grey card stock and inked with Distress Black Soot. I used double sided tape to attach the shingles on the rear roof, then turned the house around and considered the front roof, with its perpendicular roof segment over the front door. After cutting a few by trial and error, I found a triangle template that matched the angle of the roof and used that to cut my pieces to fit, remembering to overlap the shingles on each row. The front of the roof was done in bits on both sides until I was able to add full shingle pieces. I also found a small piece of real wood veneer and cut a front door for the house. Now that my house is built, what to do with it?
I found a rough wood box in my stash that would nicely fit my house and a little landscaping. A piece of faux moss sheet worked well, and now it was time to decorate. I thought about making some “wood slices” for the pathway and used the lumber folder to emboss some brown card. Though I liked the look of the inked paper, the small circles I cut didn’t look right and would not stay where I placed them. So I cut a pathway from cardboard and covered it with bits cut from the embossed and inked paper.
I used the fence die from Tim’s Halloween Sizzix Halloween Vault Series set and cut 8 sections – 6 of those from black card run through my Xyron to add adhesive to the back. The other two were cut from plain card so the back of the fence would not be sticky. I stacked up four cuts for each fence piece, then lightly dabbed them with a silver metallic inkpad to make them look more like old iron fencing.
I made a tree from a piece of fall garland and some miniature landscaping materials I had around. I tried to use collage glue to attach the tree to a base and to cover that base with “dirt” and I tried to use the same glue to attach the fence pieces to some cardboard bases and embellish with more of the landscaping materials. But it wouldn’t stick and I have the patience of a gnat. So, I pulled out the hot glue gun (I really hate using that) and finished my tree and my fence pieces.
I want to be able to remove pieces from the scene and change it up for the seasons. Right now it has a fall tree, the fence pieces, a jack-o-lantern and a small scottie dog – yes, that’s a monopoly token. They are all put on with sticky dots so I can remove them later.