How to make a panelled house on the wall

My house on the wall was the first unique DIY project I shared on Instagram, and is still one of my favourites.  It’s a really simple twist on a common design that is super easy to do.  I have always loved how house / home shapes are incorporated in children’s decor with dolls houses and toys and so wanted to add something with my own spin. see my Instagram reel showing the process here – Click here for Reel

To do this you need a pencil, some tape (I find decorators ‘Frog Tape’ ideal), some wood strips, a saw, some sandpaper, a tape measure and a means of attaching the strips to the wall – you can use nails, screws, wood glue or double-sided sticky pads.

You can really alter the feel of this design by varying the wood strips you use.  I wanted a soft, organic feel so I used rounded ‘D moulding’ (about 10mm  deep by about 35mm wide) but if you want to paint it you could use MDF moulding. You could also make it feel chunkier by using wider, deeper strips.

One thing to bear in mind is where your house on the wall will be as this will influence the finish you have.  Mine is in an upstairs playroom so I didn’t need to worry about having food or water on it so I have left the wood natural, but if you have it near somewhere where sticky fingers could get on to it you might want to protect the wood first.  If you do this I’d suggest using lacquer, oil, varnish or sealing with wax.  It’s probably easier to pre-treat any wood you will be using before you cut and attach it, rather than having the fiddly job of painting it once it’s stuck to the wall.

The first thing to do is decide the shape and layout you want the house on the wall to be.  I did a few pencil sketches first on paper to work out the shape I wanted, and then marked it out lightly on the wall.  I wanted to use mine as a backdrop for the little acorn’s Play kitchen, so I put this against the wall first to make sure it fit and the house looked balanced.  

Once I had my approximate size I worked out how many strips of wood I would need.  I wanted to make sure that my final shape was wide enough to end on a full strip of wood, so I didn’t have to do any long cut.  If this sounds a bit confusing don’t worry, I have made a little calculator that helps work this out which you can download here.

Once I was happy with the size I marked out the shape with the decorators tape.  This gave me a really clear shape to work to.  Then, it was time to start fixing and cutting!  I held up the first strip of wood against the outline on the wall, made sure it was level and then made pencil marks to show me where to cut, using the tape outline as a guide.  Then, I cut the piece.  I used a jigsaw but you could easily do this with a handsaw.  Once I had cut it to shape I gave the cut edge a quick sand and then nailed it to the wall.

It’s really important to get this first strip level as you will measure all of the other strips from this.  To make it easier for me I spaced all of my strips out by the width of a pencil.  If you want a different width to the wood you can measure it and mark out where to put your next strip. If you a pencil width  you simply hold one up against the first strip of wood to get the gap, then hold up the next strip that you want to cut against this.  Then, mark out where to cut using your tape as a template.  Once you’ve cut this one fix it to the wall and repeat until you’ve done.

It really is that simple – hold, mark, cut, attach and repeat!  

Honestly, the most complicated thing about this project was working out the number of strips of wood I needed – it really is super simple!  I’ve already had lots of lovely people on Instagram send me tags and pictures of the houses they were inspired to create, and I can’t wait to see what you create! 

 As always don’t forget to tag me so I can see all your wonderful ideas come to life.

Helena x

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