Why make gingerbread houses no one eats and you have to throw away? These faux gingerbread birdhouses are genius because they last forever!
I have straight up spent the last few days covered in glitter. Like. COVERED. I kept getting the darn stuff in my eyes and every time I walked past a mirror I would notice a glint on my face or in my hair. But, hey, it’s December, right? ‘Tis the season and all of that :) Like for these faux gingerbread birdhouses I made… they’re adorned with a pretty translucent glitter that you can hardly even se in the darn photos. But I’ll tell you, in real life, these suckers glint and glean and it’s pretty darn, well, pretty.
This was something I had thought to do last year, but I just flat out ran out of time. I had 2 birdhouses in my craft stash that I dug out, painted and decorated up and promptly fell in love. So I ordered a few more birdhouses from Michael’s, Rob ran and picked them up and I made a few more. And here’s the thing… I think I figured out how to hack the crafty system. If you place an order ONLINE for STORE PICKUP at Michael’s on Wednesday and maybe Thursday, they will often have a code to save 40% off ALL REGULAR PRICED PURCHASES. How amazing is that? That’s like having a weekly coupon and going to the store half a dozen times trying to pretend like you aren’t being a total cheapskate and wasting tons of time, like any of the checkers actually care.
So, since I could get my birdhouses for, like, 3 bucks apiece, my OCD went a bit haywire and I ordered more birdhouses and after a second trip to Michael’s to pick up a big bag full of wooden birdhouses I was finally satisfied that I had made just the right amount of birdhouses. Just like if Goldilocks was crafting and glittering and minding her own darn business instead of breaking and entering and stealing other people’s food.
In all honesty, I’m so very relieved to finally be sharing with you these super easy to do, high impact gingerbread houses that will literally last for years and years to come. No promises you’ll find them in that nightmare you call an attic (wait, is that just me?) after this Christmas, but, hey, they’ll still be up there in pristine shape! :)
For this project you will need:
- a variety of wooden birdhouses
- Acrylic craft paint (see details below for exact colors used)
- white Puffy Paint
- transluscent “white” glitter
Okay – so first up, here are all of the shapes of birdhouses and colors I decorated up for my more colorful fake gingerbread. All colors are Marhta Stewart satin craft acrylic paints. From left to right we have Peacock Feather, Lily Pad, Pink Dahlia, and Granny Smith.
And the color I used for my more realistically colored gingerbread houses was Chestnut Brown. In real life, these aren’t quite so dark and they look a bit warmer but sometimes things I have trouble catching the perfect color through a camera lens in my photos.
For each birdhouse gingerbread house, you’ll need to give the plain wooden facade 2 coats of craft acrylic paint. I have actually replaced ALL of my craft acrylics with Martha Stewart paint colors (watching for that 40 % off everything you order online and pick up in store sales at Michael’s I snag them for the same price as cheaper brands) because I love the colors and they typically cover really well. In this case, I found even with the nice and thick consistency, 2 coats were still needed and the one I decided to fast-forward and just get to decorating already looks like I cut corners (p.s. it isn’t shown anywhere on this page:) If using a thinner paint, you might need more coats, or to speed things up you might just want to hit these guys with a can of spray paint.
The actual decoration of these guys is totally fun and completely up to you. I basically grabbed my Puffy Paint and scribbled and doodled my designs sort of at random.
With the Puffy Paint still wet, sprinkle on your translucent glitter. (p.s. I’m learning that even though spell-check has been correcting me EVERY TIME I still haven’t learned how to properly spell translucent, how weird!)
If you make a mistake simply scrape away the paint (I used a thin piece of stiff cardstock from junk mail cut into a small scraper type of thing) and then go over the area with your craft acrylic. You’ll want to work in small increments, adding the glitter a little bit as you go so that you don’t accidentally glitter up your patched up areas, too. See how my puff paint is still wet? I then had to do some fancy glittering to NOT get it on the wet brown paint below. I found that what works the best for me is to doodle small sections and glitter, moving to another birdhouse to work on it while the other dries up a bit enough to be easily handled.
I tried for symmetrical designs and it worked out more often than not. My design above isn’t perfect but it also is handmade so it isn’t going to be.
And, honestly, when you’re looking at it all done and dolled up on my living room console table, you don’t notice it isn’t PERFECT.
While I was at it, I dug out some small hanging birdhouses that I dolled up as Christmas tree ornaments, too. How cute, right? Since they will be on trees and might spin around, I decorated every side of them, front and back, top and bottom.
For my larger birdhouses, though, I decided to leave the backs alone since they are hanging out on a table where you can’t see the backs, anyway. It saved me some time and I technically used an entire 4-ounce shaker of glitter so they would have been Puffy Paint only, which I would have been less happy with.
I tried to keep the designs somewhat consistent with each other using lots of dashes, dots, and flower petal shapes along with the occasional swirl.
I did find that different tubes of Puffy Paint gave me very different results. The hot pink pretty girl up there was made using a 1.25-ounce bottle of Puffy Paint and the blue one to the right was made using a 4-ounce bottle of Puffy Paint. The smaller tube of paint gave me fatter lines of paint (which you may dig but I like less than the finer lines of paint), for some reason, but they also posed another problem for me…
When you start to near the end of the paint in the Puffy Paint tube you get lots of empty space in the bottle. Air replaces the paint and as you get lower and lower on paint, you get more and more belches of air coming out of the tube, messing up your design. Though I found the larger bottle a little more difficult to hold in my wonky hand (it’s got issues) I found that I made far fewer mistakes, so I’d strongly suggest that with the amount of Puffy Paint you’re gonna be squeezing out, here,1.25-ounce bottle of Puffy Paint
Aren’t they pretty? So many lovely little houses! I was going to paint one of the houses in my more colorful set red using the color “Love Bird” by Martha Stewart, but the one I had left was my church and it just seemed wrong to paint a church red, though I seriously cannot explain why :) So Lily Pad green it was!
While currently dressing up my office, come the end of the season they will be packed away, shoved with all of my other seasonal crap in the attic, ready to be put out next year (if I can still find them ;)