Making Your Own Doors and Windows
“Rolling Your Own”
One of the most distinctive features of 1928-1940 cardboard Christmas “putz” houses was always the windows. Made to glow warmly when a C6 lightbulb was stuck into the back of the house, the windows were mostly red cellophane with gold windowframes printed on. To the frustration of putz house collectors today, that cellophane often turned brittle or distorted in the attic, even if it didn’t get poked out by little fingers. And replacement windows weren’t always available (although some very nice ones are available now.)
Mylar or Cellophane? Many folks who were designing original putz houses, or who didn’t have access to replacement windows, or who needed something there wasn’t a replacement for have come up with ways of making their own. As a rule, most collectors, restorers, and builders are using mylar sheets to replace cellophane. Cellophane is available again, and relatively inexpensive, but its still more succeptible to temperature extremes and pokey fingers than mylar. An example of mylar sheets for sale from a craft supplier is available here, although I’m told you can get a better price if you shop around.
Mullions (Windowframes): Whether you decide to use mylar or cellophane for your “windowpanes,” you’ll still have to decide how to make the little windowframes that will cross in front of them.
Using Pin-Striping Tape - Contributor Stephen Sharp has come up with his own method for making gold-framed cellophane window replacement, using gold pin-striping tape that was originally designed for automobile and model car decorating.
Using Gold Thread - For very tiny houses, contributor Howard Lamey has come up with a method for using gold thread to represent the mullions. Click here, and scroll down to see his example.
Using a Craftcutter - If you have a craftcutter (not a Cricut), you can cut your own windowframes from nearly any media you choose. Click here for details.
Alternatively you could use Pete Oehman’s die-cut windowframes as a starting point. If you just need frames, these are the most precise you can buy.
Flocked, or “Fuzzy” Windows: Tom Hull and Antoinette Stockenberg have experimented with making their own “flocked” windows, a relatively rare kind sometimes called “fuzzy windows” that aren’t available in reproductions today. Click here to see their notes as originally posted on Papa Ted’s web page.
Tom subsequently experimented with using Pete Oehman’s windowframes as a starting point for flocked windows. His account is here.