Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Simple Craft: Little House in a Watercolor Aurora Borealis

This little house could belong to one of Santa's elves and so turn into a Christmas craft, or it could simply celebrate such beautiful and unique natural phenomena we have on this earth of ours.

After looking at pictures of the aurora borealis in post cards I have from Alaska put out by Accent Alaska and in Donna Walsh Shepherd's book of Light Shows in the Night Sky Auroras, I attempted similar skies in watercolor.

Humble beginnings of four future crafts

Updates of these watercolors: 
The bottom left watercolor became: Watercolor Craft: Little Igloo Under the Northern Lights  (Dec. 16th).
The top left watercolor became: Reindeer Against the Watercolor Northern Lights Sky (Dec. 20th).
The bottom left watercolor became: Snowy Pine Trees Framing the Watercolor Aurora Borealis Sky: Paper Craft (Dec. 27th)

If you check out and search northern lights, you'll find impressive photos of auroras so fabulous you won't want to take second look at my creative interpretations here. I myself felt like throwing them out except that the beauty of watercolor skies is that the foreground can make all the difference and complement the colors as to make attractive what at first may have seemed to have very little potential. Above, again, then is the humble beginnings of what turned out to be future crafts.

Below is the background, not pictured above, I chose for the little house in the aurora borealis craft.

Little House background

Watercolor skies are great crafts for all ages and abilities as it's all in what you do with it, and how you decide to view it.

The northern lights are so varied, that each artist has so much room to let his or her imagination run wild. Donna Walsh Shepherd's little book is rich in essential facts about this phenomenon and it is from her that I learned southern and northern lights can reflect each other. It's a book older children could read themselves. For me it's a quick read with enough detail to accurately help me understand these unique lights.

I love combining learning and crafting.

Now back to the craft.


  • 2 sheets of letter size printer paper
  • 1 sheet of red construction paper
  • 1 sheet of brown construction paper
  • 1 sheet of yellow construction paper
  • 1 cotton ball
  • watercolor paints and brush
  • glue
  • scissors
  • and a ruler if you want straight lines ( I don't always use one.)
This is a craft that I like to do a lot of estimating and playing with pieces and placement.

I've put my little house in the snow. Since I used white 8 1/2 x 11 letter size printer paper for the background, it was easy to take another sheet and to cut a wavy line about 2 inches up from the bottom for the snow.

Snow on the ground

It fits nicely along the bottom of the watercolor background.

Just place it --the snow-- on without gluing it yet.

For this craft, I like to cut out all the pieces first before gluing, so I can make adjustments as needed.

After cutting out the snow, I cut a square out of red construction paper about the size I wanted my house.

Red base of house

I tucked the square under the snow--again only placing on the background without gluing--to see if it was the size I wanted.

Next, I placed a piece of brown paper on the top of the red square and marked how large I wanted to make the triangle for the roof. 

Brown triangle roof topping the red square

Then I cut out the door from brown paper and a knob from red paper, and put them both in their place.

Door and knob

Next I chose the windows to be yellow paper to give a warm glow for the inside. I also used a brown marker to add the look of wooden frames into the panes.

Windows with marker frames

Almost finished, I cut a small rectangle out of red construction paper.

Rectangle for the chimney

and tucked it into the top of the roof.

The chimney all tucked in

Last I stretched out a small portion of a cotton ball and tucked it into the top of the chimney for the smoke rising up out of the fire in the fireplace of the cozy little house.

Smoke out of the chimney

After I was happy with the size and placement of all the pieces, I glued them all on , putting a small puddle of glue on a scrap of paper and dipping a cotton swab into the glue to run across the edges of each piece of the picture.

The order I glued the pieces on is the same as the order I used to cut them out: 1. snow, 2. red base of house, 3. triangle of the roof, 4. door and knob, 5 windows, 6. chimney, 7. smoke.

Apply glue with a cotton swab to the back edges of the snow first

Glue on pieces in the same order as they were cut out

Since all the gluing is done at once, it's easy to tuck pieces under one another as long as you leave the edges loose. That is, don't smooth all the edges down after gluing them in place. Wait until all the pieces are exactly where you want them before smoothing all edges over and sealing them down.

Leave the edges loose to easily tuck under other pieces

To  attach the chimney smoke, put the glue on the background instead of the cotton, so the cotton swab doesn't get stuck to the cotton smoke and tear it all apart.

Little House in a Watercolor Aurora Borealis Finished

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