Farmhouse Decor – Tin Houses

Hi Everybody!  Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I love working with house shapes, they’re always popular and fit in with almost any decor style.

I had planned on making some tiny little “Putz” houses for Christmas this year and I saw some really cute ones in a ‘Farmhouse Living’ decor magazine that were made out of galvanized tin.  I considered buying some plain tin houses and dressing them up to be Christmas Village houses, but then you could only display them at Christmas time – that seemed rather limiting.  So I started looking for some paper mache houses that I could convert to ‘Tin’ houses that a person could decorate for any season and that would also look great on display, undecorated, all year round, but was something I had made.

I found quite of few different styles and sizes of paper mache houses and collected quite a pile for my upcycling project from paper to tin – but I found one set in particular that I had to start with.


This is a three house set.  Each smaller house nests inside the larger which makes it great for storage (not to mention shipping my finished product).  But I also liked that the entire roof on each house comes off as most people like to add tealights or little twinkle light strings and those battery packs take up some room  and trying to get one through a little doorway is very frustrating – and that’s if the fit’s even possible at all.

I’ll get the plastic off these houses and we’ll be ready start.  But first, a shout out to the blog ‘An Oregon House’ and look for the post titled “Faux Galvanized Metal Village Houses”  This post is about creating a Faux Tin look that gave me a really good foundation on how to start the process, though, me being me, I had to tweak a little here and change a little there until I got the look that said “Created by Old Raven”.


This is the smallest house in the set (about 6″ tall).  Yep, just plain boring paper mache.  But another thing I did like about these houses is there’s quite a bit of structural detail.  See the nice dormers?  And there’s plenty of windows on the front and both sides.  There’s not much point of putting a lite in one of these houses if there isn’t plenty of areas for it to glow out of.


I used three Americana acrylic paints on this project:  Zinc, Warm White, Lamp Black.  I also used DecoArt Shimmering Silver.  And to finish off the details – Memories inkpad in Artprint Brown.

At this point I’m painting all three houses, inside and out, in the Zing acrylic.


Don’t forget to get the edges inside the windows and doorways and be sure to paint the inside of the roof and eves and underneath the houses, too.


See what I mean about all the windows?  Okay, everything has a coat of Zinc all around.  Do not put the roofs back on until you are sure the paint is completely dry or they will stick together.


I knew it would be helpful for me to have an actual item of galvanized tin to be a reference guide as I worked through my technique.  This is a windmill ornament I got at Hobby Lobby and the backside (shown) is just raw galvanized tin and enough of it to really get a sense of “the look”.  Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ll find a place for this windmill in a future Steampunk project.


This technique is a matter of doing layers upon layers.  Now that the Zinc layer is dry, it’s time for some Shimmering Silver.  It’s also time to switch from a wet brush technique to a dry brush technique.  I used an old chip brush for this.  It’s totally dry and I just dipped the tips in the paint and then tapped out the excess on the plate so that when I randomly pounced the brush on the house it was leaving a very light pattern of silver.  I did the entire outside of the house and the bottom but I did not do the inside of the house.


The next layer is using the Lamp Black, do another dry brush pounce but remember a little black goes a long way so brush off most of the black back on to the plate or even a paper towel and then pounce randomly over the silver covering only about a quarter of the surface compared to the silver layer you just put on.

For some reason my little house came out looking quite different than the other two at this stage.  But I decided to just keep going and see if I could pull it all back to a more uniform ‘galvanized’ look between the three.


The next layer is white.  Again, I a put a few drops of white on a plate but this time we’re going to pounce and wipe so have a cloth rag ready to help smear the white paint around.

I found that just a tiny touch of water sprayed on the white paint drops on the plate helped me get the look I wanted, that and pouncing very small areas and immediately wiping/smearing the paint before it drys.

And the final step with the acrylic paints is another round of Shimmering Silver pounced on the houses.  Just keep going until you have the look you like and that you feel resembles galvanized tin the way you best like it.  Galvanized tin has many variable qualities and aspects so just have fun with this until you notice that – hey – this really looks like tin!  And then stop.


Now technically galvanized tin doesn’t rust – per say.  But I’ve seen some old tin that has a wonderful rusty patina of age and really loved the look.  So my houses get just a touch of rust.

I used Memories ink pad in Artprint Brown.  I also used a stencil brush which naturally limited how much ink I could load on the bristles and thereby how much I could transfer onto the house at any one time.  I just rubbed all around the the window openings, the doors and every edge on the house.  This finishing touch really brought out the details of the house openings as well as those great dormers and angled roof lines.  Plus, it made them all look wonderfully old – perfect!


Here’s a close up on the little house – see the subtle aged look of the edges picked out in the brown ink?  I also dobbed a few touches here and there on the flat surfaces, too, to give just a bit more character.  But look at the metal effect here – I think it came out pretty darn good.


So here we go, three ‘tin’ houses ready to take center stage in a Farmhouse display.

I’ll run through some pictures showing the sides and the backs, too.


These are good sized houses measuring: Large House: 12″ tall x 9″ wide x 7½” deep, the
Medium House: 8¾” tall x 7″ wide x 5½” deep and the Small House: 6½” tall x 5¼” wide x 4″ deep.


As I mentioned above, another great feature of this set is that it nests, the smallest into the medium which in turn nests into the large.  Great for saving storage space.


Also, the entire roof comes off each house so if you want to light these up using something like a string of battery operated fairy lights you’ll be able to get that somewhat awkward battery pack inside along with the light string easily.

Now how about a couple of Christmas shots?


For my lights, I just put in a couple of LED tealights and stuffed a bunch of white tinsel garland in there with them.  It was enough to be able to give us an idea of how these cute houses can light up for a Christmas Village scene.

I love how these turned out, they really look like tin!

These houses are now listed in my Etsy shop and are selling as a set of three.  Check them out here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/648118264/3-rustic-tin-house-set-faux-tin-house?ref=shop_home_active_1

Thanks for following along and just that fast we’re on to “Merry Christmas”.



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