These easy paper house lanterns are so pretty and lead the way into exploring math and art, where you live, and architecture around the world. Download my free printable house template and customise to make your own gorgeous paper houses.
Beautiful and easy paper house lantern – free printable
This paper house craft is so pretty. We made them at a crafternoon we hosted with friends. They’re great as a group art activity because everyone can make their own design and then you can gather them together to create a little town.
They also work very well if you are doing a ‘where I live’ topic, or an ‘all about me’ theme as they lead into conversations about the kinds of houses everyone lives in and which types of building you can find around your town. You could use them as starting point to explore architecture and different styles of houses around the world.
I also think they’d make a lovely paper house advent calendar. You could add some glitter paint to the roofs to make them look frosty, give each house door a number for your calendar, and instead of a candle, pop a chocolate or sweetie inside each house.
white card / paper
scissors and/or craft knife
marker pen – we used all black, but add colour if you like
free printable template (see below) or design your own with a ruler and pencil
battery-powered tealight candle – don’t use a naked-flame candle with your paper house
How to make a paper house
It’s very easy to make a paper house. You start with a basic outline, and then you can add as little or as much detail as you want to.
You can get a free paper house template printable further down this page, which my daughter has made for you, but you might like design your own. It’s a great math meets art challenge.
Think about what a house would look like if it was peeled open and laid down flat. How many sides does a house have? What basic shape is each side? How could you add a roof on top?
Draw out your house sides on a piece of card or thick paper, using a ruler and pencil, or print off our free house template and use it as the basis of your own house. You’ll find a tall and a short house template on the printable, and you can vary the shape of the roof to customise your design.
Then use marker pens to draw on the details of your house. We were inspired by the tall thin houses that are typical in Amsterdam, but you can design your house any way you like. Perhaps draw a real house that you know, or one from your imagination.
You might add:
:: doors and windows
:: roof tiles
:: signs and house numbers
:: street lamps
:: a cat or dog
:: fences or railings
If you are going to use your house as a lantern, cut out some of the window panes so that the light from your candle can shine through. We used a craft knife for this. You don’t have to cut out every window pane – just a few will create a pretty effect once you switch your candle on. Some of our children took great care and enjoyed cutting out every tiny pane. It’s up to you!
You might also like to cut open a door or shutters, so you can open and close them.
Then cut out all around the outside of your house, and fold it (along the dotted lines on the printable) to give your house its 3D shape.
(A tip: if you very lightly score along the dotted lines by running a craft knife along the side of a ruler, it will help you get a crisp, straight fold on each corner of your house. Be very careful to only score the paper though – don’t cut all the way through.)
Finally, use a strip of clear sticky tape to hold the two open edges of your house together. Use a second strip along the top of your roof to hold the two panels together.
You can place a battery-powered tealight candle inside and switch on the lights in your house. (Remember: don’t use a naked-flame candle here as it’s not safe.)
More beautiful art ideas for your children to try!
Add in a world-wide element using these map activities (includes free world landmarks printables).
More Christmas activities and crafts
See our full index of Christmas activities, lesson plans and crafts for even more great ideas.
How to download the paper house printable
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