• Louisa Winning

Make your own Mini Santa's Grotto

Using a simple paper-folding technique, learn how to create your own mini 3D paper house complete with a roof, a washi-tape ‘carpet’ and doors which can open and close.

Get creative and decorate your design using paint pens, craft punches, festive stickers, glitter... anything you can think of!

Be amazed and delighted when you see how a piece of A4 card transforms into a wonderful tiny house. The finished grotto makes a lovely Christmas decoration or a fun prop for playtime. The finished house will stand approximately 15cm tall, 7cm wide and 7cm in depth (finished sizes will naturally vary).

You'll need:

  • A4 card in a colour of your choice (this will make the house)

  • A piece of card in a colour of your choice measuring 8cm x 16cm, folded in half (this will make the roof)

  • Washi tape

  • Scissors

  • Pencil

  • Glue stick or PVA glue

  • Posca Pens, embellishments, stickers, glitter, craft punches, confetti, wrapping paper etc. to decorate

Step 1

1. Start with an A4 sheet of card, and make an approximately 2cm - 3cm fold along the short edge of the card (or 2 fingers width). I find it's best to have the card placed in a portrait position to you to do this.

Step 2

2. Fold the card in half, bringing the opposite short edge of the card under the first fold.

Step 3

3. Fold the card into quarters by folding each half into the middle crease.

Step 4

4. Flatten the card out and turn it landscape, make an approximately 6cm - 7cm fold along both of the long edges of the card (or 4 fingers width).

Step 5

5. You will now have 2 thin and long rectangular boxes in 2 corners of the card along the short edge. Using scissors, cut along the fold lines to remove these 2 boxes. You'll be left with a tab in the middle of the short edge of the card.

Step 6

6. Now it's time to decide what shapes you would like your doors to be. You can choose from: double doors, a single round door or a single square door. So we don't need to use a scalpel, we'll use the following method: draw the shapes of the doors on the bottom section of the card (this section will be the floor of the house) as shown in the image on the left; fold the bottom section over onto itself and cut the door shapes you've drawn while the card is folded.

Step 7

7. Flatten your card out again, the lines in red as shown in the image on the left represent the new cuts in your card. You will now need to cut along the fold crease, mirroring the width of the door. These cuts are represented in purple in the image on the left. Once finished, your doors will be in the middle section of the card, and you can fold them open.

Step 8

8. Cover the bottom section with washi tape in horizontal lines. This will become your house's "carpet".

Step 9

9. Turn over sheet of card and cut up the vertical creases on the bottom and top sections (represented in the image on the left as red lines) stopping before you come to the horizontal line. The middle section (where your doors are) must remain uncut as this will become the 4 walls of the house.

Step 10

10. Turn the card back over, washi tape side facing up. You will have 4 tabs at the top of the card (the roof), 4 tabs at the bottom of the card covered in washi tape (the floor), 4 equal rectangular sections in the middle (the walls) and 1 tab extending out of the middle section (this will eventually hold the 4 walls together). Start with one of the roof tabs, pinch it in the middle and create 2 diagonal folds from the pinch crease to the bottom left then bottom right corners of the tab. Skip a roof tab and repeat.

Feel free to use my example as inspiration for how to decorate your Mini Santa's Grotto...

Once you've completed Steps 1 - 10, you can start on decorating your house and roof, get creative on customising your house with Posca Pens, embellishments, stickers, glitter, craft punches, confetti, wrapping paper - anything you can get your hands on!

This is the inside of my Mini Santa's Grotto, with it's washi-tape carpet...

Remember that the side of the card with the washi tape will be the inside of your house so you'll need to mainly decorate the middle section of the side of the card without washi tape as this will be most visible once you stick everything together.

Once you're happy with how your house is decorated, it's time to stick it all together.

11. Spread glue onto 3 of your 4 floor tabs, and stick each tab on top of each other. Glue the tab which extends from the middle section and stick it to the inside wall. Glue the 4 triangular roof tabs and stick them to the inside of the flat roof tabs.

12. Finish by gluing the roof onto the top of the house.


Make this craft at one of my upcoming Mini Santa's Grottos workshops!

1 x workshop on 17 November 2019, 1.30pm - 3.00pm at Howden Park Centre (Livingston, EH54 6AE)

3 x workshops on 21 December 2019, 10.30am / 1pm / 3pm at Scottish Youth Theatre (The Old Sheriff Court, 105 Brunswick Street, Glasgow G1 1TF)

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