Although most Americans are familiar with the Japanese glittered putz houses, few realize that the earliest cardboard Christmas houses used printed patterns instead of glitter to provide texture. This was probably a holdover from the German-made cardboard candy box houses that preceded the more familiar Japanese glitter-covered houses. Collectors call them “printies.”
Putz house designer and builder Howard Lamey has teamed up with writer and graphic designer Paul Race to provide you with the resources for building your own “printies.” Technically, you can use nearly any of Howard’s plans and many of Paul’s graphic patterns to create printies, but the following articles will help you get off on the right foot.
Spook Hill Station - A spooky Victorian-inspired “Printy” train station.” Using the same plans and process, but with other graphics, this little station could be more suitable for Christmas or year-round use.
Tinplate Textures - For designing your own structures, this section includes toylike brick, shingle, siding, door and window patterns inspired by the tinplate buildings that Lionel and other companies made to go with their toy trains a century ago. From BIGIndoorTrains.com.
Building Textures - Photo-based graphic designs that were originally created to help model railroaders build inexpensive buildings. Many of these patterns are also useful for building printies. From BIGIndoorTrains.com.
In addition, many of the “Lackie” projects could be built as “printies,” depending on the patterned graphics you choose to use.
If you are aware of any similar resources for helping people build their own putz houses, please let us know and we’ll check it out with a view to providing a link.