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Altered Art Accordion House

Happy Saturday All.

Today I would like to share a project that turned out to be one of my favorites – an accordion style house book. I love crafting house structures, big, small, miniature, upcycled or from scratch. If it’s shaped like a house then it falls into the realm of crafting material, examples would be your average birdhouse:

You can find birdhouse ‘blanks’ at any craft store but you can find them even cheaper at yard sales and thrift stores. Such birdhouses may be ‘finished’ but that doesn’t really matter as you can just cover that right up. The birdhouses above were decorated in Vintage wallpaper (another of my favorite crafting supplies). Worried about the hole? Just fill it with a cardboard plug before you cover it up. These all got roof upgrades too by turning craft metal sheets into old rusty tin by running panels through a crimper and staining with alcohol inks and paint washes.

I found a Thinlit die for making these adorable little 1¼” houses. I used a pile of different colored glitter paper and made a small town of these houses and then ran some silver Butcher twine through them and created a unique garland.

And speaking of dies – there’s a huge selection to choose from (my faves are Tim Holtz/Sizzix) and these die cuts can be made into anything from Halloween Haunted Houses to Beach Houses to Christmas Putz Houses to Fairy Dwellings – you pick!

But today I want to highlight my Accordion House. This house was inspired by a craft book I found by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn “In This House”. This book will give you the basic construction ‘how to’ and provide you with page after page of pictorial inspiration on how other artists interpreted their house.

I chose to make my house a…well…house. It’s sort of a room by room walk through. The first picture above is, starting left to right, coming in through the front door and then into the library, dining room, kitchen and then the conservatory.

In the immediate picture above, it’s entering through the back door, through the bathroom, the sewing room, the bedroom and the final panel is a romantic Antique letter that encapsulates the marriage of house and heart = home.

I chose my individual panels to be quite large at 12″ x 9″ each. On one panel I included a chimney into the cut. I used a heavy weight chipboard and primed each panel so any further craft procedures would not warp or damage the original chipboard.

Specialty papers, found objects, Vintage items, clip art and everything else in my stash were fair game for this project.

Stencils, paint, ink, stamps and embossing all came into play, too. You can make these houses as complex or simple as you like.

I went with five panels in all and chose to decorate both sides of my accordion display. When laid out flat my book is over 43″ long! And depending on how much angle you put on each accordion fold you can adjust how much final space your book will take.

My accordion house is meant to be displayed on something like a mantle with a mirror behind the book so both sides can be seen, or on a large coffee table-like surface.

I certainly had a lot of fun using whatever caught my eye for each panel – the hard part was narrowing things down to just the final few pieces that made the cut…I have a lot of treasures stashed away.

This is truly one of those projects that can be a showcase for whatever you’re into: fashion periods, personal journeys, family stories, art, politics – you name it.

The ruler is for my shop listing’s benefit so folks can get a clear sense of size but I also wanted to show how I connected my panels. I used a decorative ribbon that had a Vintage look and feel to it – subtle browns with a velvet and satin texture. I punched holes in the panels and made three sets of bows per panel joint.

The book is free standing but I wanted to give it just a bit more stability. Those ‘feet’ are made of metal. They are also an upcycle. These are the clips used for holding sheets of plywood for the base of your average roof. I altered the way they’re shaped just a little bit and they work great. They also took a paint wash and a bit of inking wonderfully to give me a nice patina of age (and we all know how much I love that).

So that’s it! Make a single template of the size of house panel you want whether it be smaller than mine or even larger -cut out how many panels you want and get to making your own “Accordion House”.

Mine is available in my shop – just click the link below:

Thank you for joining me today. Please stay safe. – Kriss

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