Cardboard Glitter Houses or Putz Houses

I’ve found this hilarious blog that I felt I had to share. It’s called Jen but never Jenn, the author is a Canadian writer from Toronto and on top of being funny, she’s conducted an experiment called “the 50’s housewife experiment”. She tried to be the perfect, idealized 50’s housewife for two weeks (click the title to check it out). It’s pretty inspiring and reminds me of Ruth’s Mid-Century menu post on the No Pattern Required blog. One day, when I have the time I think I may just have to steal this idea for myself, meat and gelatine intrigue me and my house could definitely use a good strong retro cleaning. Recently Jen posted about Cardboard Putz Houses, I had not heard of these before but man, are they cute. I have decided that I need one, NEED. Check these out:

These little cardboard houses have apparently been around for a long time, the tradition starting in German. It gained popularity in the 20s when Japanese companies started producing brightly colours, sparkly variety’s for dirt cheap; they were sold in dime stores. The house had little velum windows and a hole in the back where you could insert a bulb from a string of lights, making the windows light up. These little Putz house are the precursors to the lovely Ceramic Christmas Villages that people have now. The cardboard house remained popular into the forties, when they were slowly replaced with plastic and ceramic houses.

I’ve always liked the ceramic villages so it’s not really a surprise that I like these. I think these would go great with my candy-coloured Christmas stuff and I plan on eventually having my own little town of them. You can find vintage Cardboard Putz houses on eBay and Esty, and there is a site that makes new ones (custom made), this site also has more info on the history if you’re interested.


  1. So. GREAT. I love the ramshackleness and the sparkles, so need one of these! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh cute!

    I have the few putz houses grandma gave Mom back in the... Uh, long time ago! I think grandmas are from the 50's. The price for them on ebay has gone way down the past couple years, and always buy off- season!

  3. Thanks for the tip! I'll try looking again in January

  4. Oh wow. I found your blog via Sew Retro, and I have a complete set of these cardboard houses from my own childhood, that are in mostly decent condition. Thank you for the links so that I can go figure out how to mend/repair them, and then teach my daughter how to make her own set. I am not fond of the ceramic villages available now. They seem not to have as much character as these cardboard putz houses.


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