Free Printable Miniature Putz or Glitter Houses

With Directions for Building Them

Three Putz style printable miniature cottages in N scale for a Christmas village display.
Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

Printable miniatures of houses and more make miniature modeling fun. These printable miniature Putz style (also called coconut or glitter houses) Christmas village cottages were designed to allow N scale modelers to create a traditional North American Christmas village. Like the originals from which they are modeled, they come in a series of colors, shapes, and additions which can be moved from building to building to make many different styles. The three basic houses are covered in these instructions. Also, there is a complete list of all kinds of additional styles and pieces to construct a glitter house village, which has parts for municipal buildings and churches, a castle, and tiny bungalows, which can be used to add on to the original houses.

The originals of these cottages have been given the name Putz from the German verb putzen. Moravian German immigrants are credited with bringing the custom of villages under the Christmas tree to their new home in the United States.

Like their vintage counterparts, these buildings can be finished in a number of different styles. Parts have been included for fencing and a stylized tree in the correct scale. An extra sheet of parts is also included in case you want to make cut-out windows or doors to give the houses the full traditional look.

This is the basic set of buildings in the series and beginners should start with this set until they get used to working with the parts.

  • 01 of 09

    Printable Parts for Miniature Putz or Glitter House Cottages in N Scale

    Sheet of printable parts to make miniature Putz Christmas cottages in N scale.
    Lesley Shepherd

    Supplies You Will Need:

    • The image above. Right click and press "save image as..." to download the file to your computer.
    • Two to three 8 1/2 by 11-inch sheets of photo paper or heavyweight paper. You can print the sheets onto regular paper and glue them on to heavier backing (cereal boxes etc.) or you can use regular paper to print templates which you can cut from decorative scrapbook cover stock.
    • PVA (white) glue and a glue spreader. You can use a scrap of plastic or card to spread the glue.
    • Bone folder A bone folder is very useful to get precise neat edges for some of the very small folds.
    • Sharp scissors
    • Bent nose tweezers
    • Sharp craft knife
    • Chipboard or foam core board to make landscape supports.
    • Assorted glitters and acrylic paints to finish off the landscapes and finish the houses if you wish a traditional look.
    • Round toothpicks for miniature tree trunks.
  • 02 of 09

    Prepare Pieces to Make a Basic Putz House

    Printed parts to make a miniature copy of a vintage "putz" Christmas House
    Lesley Shepherd

    To make a basic Putz house, cut out all the pieces for the main house, the roof, and any porches or additions. The house pieces are folded at the ends of the roofs. The chimneys are folded at the edge of the triangles that mark where they sit on the roof. The front door additions are folded as shown above at the edge where the roof meets the sides. If the pieces need an additional fold, it will be marked on the printable sheet.

    If you want to make clear windows or add glitter coatings to the houses, it is easiest to do this before you fold and assemble them. You can glue bits of cellophane behind cut-out windows to copy the traditional Putz houses, which used mainly red and yellow cellophane, or you can use a thick glue, or specialized glue product like Glue N Glaze to make clear window films over openings.

  • 03 of 09

    Begin Assembling the Three-Gable Putz House

    The main walls for an N scale Putz Christmas House are glued and the doorway added.
    Lesley Shepherd

    Start With the Front Door

    To make the three-gable house, start by gluing the tabs for the front door to the front of the house, midway between the bottom windows. Use tweezers or a craft stick to press the tabs firmly against the front of the house. Set aside to dry.

    Glue up the Basic House

    With the front door in place, bend the house into shape and glue the tab to the back of the house to hold the walls in place. Make sure the bottom tabs for gluing the house to the landscape are turned under and square so that the house sits flat. Check your house is square and not lopsided or you will have trouble with the roof sections.

  • 04 of 09

    Add Roofs to the Three-Gable Putz House

    A 1:144 or N scale Putz house with three gables for a traditional railroad Christmas village.
    Lesley Shepherd

    Trim the Roof Sections

    Before you glue the roof sections in place, fit the smallest section over the central peak and check that it fits. It may need to be adjusted depending on how closely you cut the roof. If necessary, trim the sides to length so that the central peak fits just to the valley. Now take each of the side roofs and fit them over the side peaks, adjust the short side of the roof so that it fits tightly, and adjust the long side if there is too much overhang or if the overhang on the two sides is not equal.

    Glue the Roof in Place

    Use your glue spreader to put a thin line of glue along the central peaked edges. Place the central small roof in position, overlapping the front and back of the house by equal amounts. Press the roof gently in place and hold it until it stays in place. Spread a thin line of glue on the side peaks and the top of the side of the house. Spread a very thin line of glue along the short end of the side peak roof. Press the side roof in place over the side peak, making sure the overlap at the front and back matches with the overlap in the center peak. Hold it in place until it stays in place. Finish the other side roof in the same way.

    Porch Roof

    Add a tiny amount of glue to the peak and sides of the front door surround. Add a small amount of glue to one long side of the porch roof. Fit the porch roof over the door with the glued side of the roof against the main house. Press it firmly in place.

    Window Roof

    To make the roofs above the windows, fold all the tiny roof sections in half. Run a thin bead of glue along one of the long sides of each folded roof. Using tweezers, press the roof against the house, so that the peak is centered on the window and the sides touch the house just outside the tops of the windows (see photo above). Finish all windows the same way.

    Glue the Chimney

    Glue the chimney to the back of the center roof peak.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Assemble Cottage and Porte Cochere or Conservatory

    A simple cottage and crenellated addition, printable miniatures for a Putz Christmas N scale train.
    Lesley Shepherd

    Make the Basic Glitter House

    Assemble the basic printable house the same way you did the three gables house, making sure the basic shape is square.

    Add the Porch

    Many of the Putz houses have porches where a small Santa, a dog, or a family figure is displayed. To make the porch for the simple cottage, cut out the porch and cut the tabs free of the sides. Fold and glue the porch the same way you would a box top. Run a line of glue along one long side of the assembled porch and glue it to the front of the cottage, making sure it remains square to the cottage base. Set aside to dry.

    Make the Conservatory

    Putz houses often had odd towers added to one side. This conservatory can be added to any of the houses. You can also cut out the sides to make a grand covered entrance or porte cochere for your house. To assemble the conservatory, cut out the main piece and fold it along the center line of the top crenelated. If you want, you can use a craft knife to cut out the white sections on the crenellations to make them more realistic. Glue the folded crenellation sections together, as shown above, then fold the building sides along the fold lines marked on the pattern page. Fold the top tab and roof inside and glue them to each other, then glue the final side to the side tab to hold the building in shape. You may need to trim the crenelated balcony edge on one side to fit the conservatory under the roof of the smaller cottages.

  • 06 of 09

    Add Glitter and Coconut Style Finishes

    Printable Miniature Putz style N scale Christmas railroad cottage with glitter and coconut shreds.
    Lesley Shepherd

    The vintage Putz houses made in Japan are often heavily glittered or finished with shreds of cellophane. To achieve this effect on the N scale printable houses, it is easiest to apply the finish before you assemble the house.

    Coconut Finishes in Miniature

    To create a coconut finish, cut thin strips of colored or clear cellophane into short lengths. You can also use clear or iridescent Sulky embroidery threads cut into short lengths. Spread a thin layer of glue on the walls of the cottage, avoiding the windows. Spread your prepared coconut finish over the glued areas, pressing gently in place. Use tweezers to gently push back any pieces that overlap the windows. Set aside to dry.

    Micro Glittered Finishes

    Micro glitter in several colors can be purchased through stamp shops or scrapbooking suppliers. Carrera marble glitter from EK success creates the snowy effect on the walls of the miniature cottage above. Apply a thin layer of glue on the walls, then sprinkle the glitter in place.


    If you have trouble applying the glitter without getting it on the window and door sections, cut out spare windows and doors from the additional parts sheet (Acrobat .pdf file) and glue them in place over the glitter once it is applied.

  • 07 of 09

    Prepare Parts of Cottage With a Full Front Porch

    Partially assembled Putz style cottage with a front porch for an N scale Christmas Village.
    Lesley Shepherd

    The printable glitter cottage with the full front porch has tiny parts and is the most difficult of the three houses in these instructions. Cut all the parts free carefully following the lines and fold everything as precisely on the lines as possible.

    Assemble the Basic Cottage 

    In this case, the roof is glued to the side peaks, leaving the front peak free. The front edge of the roof may need to be trimmed to get it to fit on either side of the front peak of the cottage. Note that the roof is longer on the left side of the cottage than it is on the right.

    Assemble the Porch Roof Support

    Assemble the porch roof support by folding the sides back so that they make a triangle, then gluing the edges of the tabs behind them so that they hold the triangle together. The tabs will be used to glue the roof support to the front wall of the house.

    Glue the Support Columns

    This is the hardest part to fold, depending on how thick your paper is. Fold this over the sharp edge of a ruler to get a tight crease. The yellow section of the column or post is the tab which you glue to the side to make the square post or column. If you find the posts are too much trouble to make from paper, cut lengths of dowel or round toothpicks to the correct length and paint them with acrylic paint.

    Making the Porch Base

    Cut the black tabs on the front porch section so that each side of the porch has one tab attached. Fold the sides down and use the tabs to glue a basic box lid shape. Trim the porch base if necessary to make it sit flat.

  • 08 of 09

    Assemble Cottage with a Full Porch

    N scale Putz style Christmas cottage with a front porch.
    Lesley Shepherd

    Glue the Porch Base in Place

    To finish the assembly of the full porch cottage, glue one long side of the porch base to the cottage front below the door, centering it on the door as shown. Check that the house and porch sit flat and leave the porch to dry in place.

    Position the Roof

    Hold one of the columns or posts on top of the porch and use it to determine where the bottom of the porch roof support should be. Apply glue to the tabs on the back of the porch roof and glue it to the front of the house, lining up the front roof edge with the outside edge of the porch roof support as shown in the photo above. Check the roof support is the correct height above the porch by using the columns/posts as spacers. Allow the roof support to dry.

    Glue the Columns/Posts in Place

    When the porch and the porch roof support have dried in place, add a thin line of glue to the top and bottom of the porch posts or columns and glue them in place on the porch, making sure they are centered on the door. Set aside to dry.

    Glue the Porch Roof

    Take the small roof section of the porch roof and run a bead of glue along one long edge. Spread a thin layer of glue on the top sides of the porch roof support and press the porch roof in place on the supports and against the front wall of the house. Set aside to dry.

    Add the Front Roof Peak and the Chimney

    Test fit the front roof peak and trim the ends if necessary to match the other roof overhangs. The slanted section fits against the main roof of the house. Run a bead of glue along the long slanted edge of the roof. Spread a thin layer of glue on the roof peak tabs. Press the roof onto the tabs and against the main support and hold it gently in place until it is secure. Apply glue to the chimney tabs and glue it on the main roof so that the chimney sticks up above the roof peak.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Create Landscaping for the Miniature House

    A miniature N scale Putz style cottage on a landscaped base with a tree, fence and snow.
    Lesley Shepherd

    Cut a two-to-three-inch square of a foam core board or bookboard/chipboard. Set your chosen house in place towards the back of the square and mark its base outline.

    Paint the Base

    Mark the position for a sidewalk to the front door and paint this with acrylic paints. When the sidewalk is dry, paint the rest of the base (except for the area marked out for the house) with white acrylic paint. While that paint is drying, sprinkle a bit of fine sand into the paint to give it a snow texture. Paint over the same with a second coat. Set aside to dry.

    Spread some glue on the base tabs of the house and glue it in place. Cut out the fencing trim and lay it out on the base, 1/4 inch in from the edge. Fold it to fit, trim if necessary. Apply a thin bead of glue to the bottom of the fence and glue it in place on the landscape. Add paint, glitter or scenic fake snow to cover bare areas.

    Making the Trees

    You can use scraps of lycopodium moss (prince's pine) as shown for 1:144 scale Christmas scenes. On the accessories sheet (and the three gables sheet) provided are small green circles to make trees. Cut them out and use a pin to pierce a hole in the center of all but the smallest circle. Thread them in order of size, largest first, onto a round toothpick. Cut to the center of each circle using sharp scissors and use tweezers to put overlap the cut edges until the circle dips to form a cone. Glue the top cut edge to the bottom edge to hold the cone in place. Cut into the center of the smallest circle and glue the overlapped edges to form a tight cone. Glue the cone onto the pointed end of the toothpick to make the top of the miniature tree. Glue the circles to the trunk if necessary. Dry brush the finished tree with white paint to make a snow effect.