Reported by Sara McKenzie
I was looking for a fun project for Halloween, something off the beaten track, when I came across these chipboard houses by Doodlebug. A photo of the small house, in its packaging, is shown at left.
This is part of their “Plain and Simple” white chipboard line of products. It’s a sturdy, white-with-white-core, 1.5 ml chipboard that is acid and lignin-free. The products are “precision-cut,” pre-scored, and have adhesive flaps. With the houses, they also include paper templates for covering the pieces, along with a set of basic instructions. They arrive flat and unassembled. So you have to construct the house in addition to decorating it. While a bit time-consuming, it is worth it for the flexibility it affords you in decorating.
The large house stands about 10-1/2″ tall, and retails for $7.99, but I have seen it on sale as low as $4.79 at Generations Crafting. Other online retailers include DB and Me ($7.99) and Gone Scrappin’ ($7.99). The small house stands about 6″ tall, is more readily available at many online retailers, with a list price of ($6.99) and sales prices as low as $6.29 at Scrapbook Express and $6.49 at Create for Less, in addition to the retailers already listed above.
Large Doodlebug Chipboard House, constructed but undecorated
Of course, all kinds of houses decorating ideas come to mind for these! Here are a few of the ones shown by Doodlebug:
Doodlebug Chipboard Halloween House (designed by Doodlebug)
Doodlebug Chipboard Christmas House (designed by Doodlebug)
Doodlebug Chipboard Valentine’s House (designed by Doodlebug).
And, below, is my creation: a Haunted House. I had a lot of fun with it, using an assortment of Halloween-themed papers, stickers and other embellishments. The house is strewn with some of that fake cobweb material you can pick up at the local drugstore or craft store at this time of year. I also found some drawings of gravestones online, in addition to the coffin, and I thought those were perfect additions! You can read more details about the design itself on my blog.
Doodlebug Chipboard Haunted House (designed by Sara McKenzie)
So how did I like the product? Well, the project was kind of time-consuming. I am going to be doing a workshop on it locally, so I am a little concerned about the time issue. We won’t be making scallop-edged strips to simulate roof shingles, that much I can already tell you!!! We’ll see how the rest of it goes. Overall, though, I would have to say it is a quality product. The pieces all fit together well, the cuts are clean, and the instructions are simple, and enough to get the job done.
Doodlebug suggests that you can cover your house with paper using double-sided tape. For mine, I used white glue. This allowed me a little more flexibility in terms of positioning the paper just-so, because of the open time with the glue. The drawback is you have to be a little more patient to let the glue set a little bit before handling the house for the next step. I did not find that this got in my way.
My only complaint is that even the manufacturer says you should use hot-glue to hold the pieces together. This, in spite of the fact that the tabs come with adhesive on them. Given the size of the piece, and the way it goes together, I found it initially challenging to do. I would apply a line of glue, but by the time I got the sides lined up, it had already cooled enough that it lost it’s stick. Then, of course, I had to deal with carefully scraping it off and trying again. Eventually I did get the hang of it, using the hi-temp, fast-flow setting on my glue gun, and being fully prepared to assemble as soon as the glue was applied. It might be easier with two people working together, now that I think of it.
- High quality, sturdy chipboard, precision cut so the pieces really do fit together.
- It’s white! If you want to paint it, you can, and the color will be true.
- Simple, easy-to-follow instructions.
- Easy to find and purchase online.
- Complete with details like a door that opens, a chimney with a cap, and a set of stairs.
- I think even the list price is a good value, given the quality of the materials.
- The need to use hot glue in addition to the adhesive tabs that are already built in. I suggest the Doodlebug rethink this.
- Lots of details. (I actually like this feature, but the project is not for the faint of heart!)
Overall I would rate this product an 8 out of 10. I do believe they should rethink the adhesive. Other than that, it is quality material, well made, and the project fits together nicely.
Keep in mind that this is not a beginner’s project, nor would it be suitable for children younger than their teen years. But if you are an experienced crafter, love detailed design, and spending an afternoon crafting, this is for you!!
Have you made one? Have you made a village? Please share!! And keep creating!
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