Readers share their glitter house designs

Sandi's-Hannukah-house Back when the first Levittown was built, all the little Cape Cod exteriors were pretty cookie-cutter similar. BUT, as soon as homeowners moved into their own little pieces of the American dream, they began customizing the exteriors — so pretty soon, no two houses looked alike. Well, the same thing has been going on with our mid century modern glitter house designs: Ever since my first retro putz house pattern was posted, I’ve been getting emails with pictures of the awesome, personalized houses that you — the busy bee readers of Retro Renovation — have been busy constructing. For example, above, Sandi used our pattern to create a Hanukkah house — complete with tiny menorah. (Don’t call these “putz” houses, though, because the word means something altogether different in Yiddish.) Happy Hanukkah, Sandi, and to all our readers who are celebrating this holiday through December 16!

Read on for more reader-designed homes — submitted when the uploader was activated (closed now).

Above: Sandi followed up by making a mini Superdawg — a Chicago landmark — for her “neighborhood”, and says she has two more houses under construction.

Jeanne-MCM-Putz-houseAbove is reader Jeanne’s putz house — complete with a replica 1971 Maverick — her first car, memorialized in miniature as a gift from her son. Now, it’s parked in the front yard of its own little mid mod waiting patiently for the house’s tiny inhabitants to take their Christmas tree inside.

bea's-putz-houseReader Bea’s putz house came together quickly even though she had problems finding trees. Her local Michael’s (where I purchased my trees) didn’t have any in stock. After several trips to area store, Bea finally scored some great trees at a hobby shop. Several readers have mentioned that if your local craft stores don’t have trees, you can try the dollar store, Walmart or even local hobby shops as a good source for  affordable miniature trees.


Kimberlee's-putz-housekimberlee's-putz-closeupReader Kimberlee was inspired by her 1957 house that she decorates with giant snowflakes every year. She flipped the pattern and added a similar snowflake theme — what a shiny happy house.


liz-putz-house-2Reader Liz made both of the first two patterns, adding mini lights and candy cane pipe cleaners for holiday decor. Liz notes that her windows are made with tracing paper.


diane's-putz-houseSome readers even recreated their own home in miniature — like reader Diane — who made a replica of the house she finally bought last year. She said she had been in love with this house since her high school days.


Sharon's-houses-2Reader Sharon and her kids made replicas of her parents’ and sibling’s homes back in 2006 for a neighborhood that they set up on the kitchen table. When all the family arrived, they were delighted to see miniatures of each of their homes as part of the holiday decor. What a great and personalized way to decorate for a family gathering.


tammy's-putz-2Reader Tammy was inspired to create her own tiny replicas of the 1950s Storybook/Cinderella homes that pepper the area she lives in. Tammy says that the homes in her (real) neighborhood really do have fascia and trim in the style of Swiss chalets — though most are sedate colors, unlike the bright colors that she chose to paint the mini village. I’m also loving Tammy’s creative use of springs for chimney smoke — made from broken pens, toys and the wire that her lettuce comes wrapped in. She used worn out shirt boxes leftover from prior holiday gift giving to construct the houses — brilliant.

tonya's-putz-facebookTonya and her Mom — both loyal Retro Renovation Facebook followers — worked on the above house for two days — and it turned out great.

christa's-putz-houseReader Christa and her son — whose house has been featured on Retro Renovation before — also made a mini recreation of their charming home. Christa says they plan to recreate more buildings from their community in the weeks to come. What a fabulous replica — I’m loving the hand painted stonework and screen door — and the googly-eyed snowman is a perfect touch.

Elizabeth's putz houseReader Elizabeth reported that she was so excited to make her own putz house that she stayed up  till 1 a.m. to finish it — she even added a starburst escutchen on the doorknob.

Lee's-putz-houseReader Lee made this cheery yellow and blue putz house — and when he puts an LED tea light inside, Lee says the flicker makes him think that there is a disco party going on inside — too funny.

Susan's-husband-with-gingerbread-houseAnd finally, some readers are channeling their artsy fartsy retro crafty via edibles — like reader Susan who writes:

Thanks for all. here is photo our our mid century gingerbread house with my adorable husband. It is an almost replica of our house in Michigan. Your tiny holiday houses made me remember it.

A huge thanks goes out to all the readers who sent me these wonderful photos of their own crafty holiday houses. Have you been busy making handmade holiday decor? Upload your photos below:


Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

And… Read more about the history of putz houses aka Glitter Houses, Train Gardens, and today as Luminaria.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. says

    Wow! These are all so great and inspiring! Super creative readers, you’ve got here. I’ve been too bogged down to even go buy the supplies to make any yet so…maybe next year. And let’s hear it for that cute goggly eyed snowman!

  2. Lauryn says

    These little houses make me so happy!! Some year I hope to recreate our house and this is great inspiration, so thank you all you talented and crafty Retro Renovators. It also brings back memories of when my brother and sisters and I used to create a huge winter town scene with glitter and cotton balls and whatnot Probably not nearly as beautiful as these, but we sure had fun doing it!

  3. says

    These are so inspiring! Perhaps next year I’ll make a mini version of our own house!

    Bonus– Sandi must live near me, I recognized Superdawg immediately since I live about 10 minutes away from it. 😉

  4. Bea says

    I’m so excited! All the houses are great!!! I am working on #2 ranch and now want to paint it lime green or pink or ocean blue instead of brown!! Thanks for the patterns and including the first house I made. A friend bought me 2 trees at Walmart and my husband brought me his collection of small public safety cars for the houses.

  5. Jana (Berniecat) says

    Awesome and intriguing! Everyone is sooo creative! I love looking at all of the intricate details on the houses – everytime I go back and look at the pictures again, I see something new. what fun!

  6. tammyCA says

    How fun to see everyone’s creative little house! I love making my little houses & I’m getting better at cutting those tiny window & door mullions with the exact-o knife. I should’ve put the sign up for the black “house”…I call it “The Galaxy Cocktail Lounge”…lol.

  7. Chelsea says

    The gallery isn’t showing up on my computer (Firefox browser) or iphone, it just says “[Gallery Not Found]”. I tried to upload a photo and it had an error as well. 🙁

  8. Nancy says

    Thank you for providing these great plans for us all! Love all your designs and plan to create a village to add to the rest of my inherited retro decorations! If I may be so bold as to make a request… our home is a 1964 tri-level (pink bathroom!) on a street of all the same. Absolutely no one ever gives the tri any love! It seems that design mags, blogs and shows ignore this most mis-understood home design. Please add a tri to your list of homes to create and I’ll be forever in your debt!

  9. says

    I LOVE these!! Everyone’s houses look great. Jeanne, I love your Maverick, too. My dad had one of those in an acid yellow color that I remember from my very small childhood 😉

    I haven’t even started on mine yet so this may end-up being next year’s project. I’d love to do one of my house, too. So much fun!

  10. puddletowncheryl says

    The Hanukkah house reminded me of our neighbors as a kid. They had a menorah in their front window every year. I loved the festive feeling it added to the the neighborhoods Christmas trees and lights.

    Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish RR members.

  11. Diane in CO says

    Just enjoyed the house tour! You guys are so creative and clever – nice job everyone — and the gingerbread “putz” is an inspired take on the project. Loved them all!!

    Maybe next year……….. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *