Friday, December 2, 2022


 Hi All,

I made a Witch House. (Haven't made the witch yet, but I will.) This is Baba Yaga's hut. Baba Yaga is a very old, evil witch hag from Slavic/Russian folk lore. She lives in a magic house in the woods that has chicken legs! The house's legs are used to move the house about, and to always have it's back to intruders looking for her house. You can make the house turn to you, but you have to know the secret command.

It's small -- the house measures 7 inches wide & 8 inches deep. With the wood stand & chicken legs, it's 12 inches tall. It's made mostly of cardboard.

First, I started with the basic shape, cut from heavy duty corrugated cardboard that I hot-glues & taped together. The roof is thinner cardboard (from a pizza box) so I could curve it. I didn't measure much, or use a ruler, as I wanted it to look crooked.

The shingles on the roof are made of thin board (from a cereal box). I glued pieces of thin corrugated cardboard to make the wood pieces on the sides, front & back. I took a pen & drew lines in the cardboard to look like wood grain.

The "stones" on the chimney are just blobs of hot glue.

I didn't glue a floor to the base of the house, as I knew that had to be attached to the chicken feet.

The hardest part were the chicken feet. They had to be strong and support the whole house. And, they had to attach to the wood base & the base of the house. 

I started with a wire armature. I used a heavy wire that was the main legs that went down into the wood base, and also up into the floor of the house. Thinner wire was used to make the toes and support the front & back of the legs to the floor of the house. I wrapped the armature with tie-wire to hold it all together. (Since it had to rest on the floor of the house, I had to make the feet while they were upside-down!)

I glued two round wooden bases together and added a little clay to rough it up a bit. I drilled holes into the wood base that the leg armature would go into.

After I got the wire armature together and attached to the floor of the house, I went to work sculpting the feet. I used "Apoxie" clay (2-part epoxy putty). I needed something that would stick to the wire armature and "weld" it all together. "Apoxie" sticks to anything you put next to it. It's challenging to use, as it's very sticky. I wet my fingers with water to smooth it out. It takes a good 6 hours for it to harden, and a full 24 hours to cure solid.

Back to painting the house. I spray-painted the whole thing matt black to start. Then, I layered on acrylic paint as a top coat. I wasn't too neat about painting it, as I wanted it destressed looking. After all the pieces were painted with a layer of acrylic, I started paint-distressing it with thinned down black and brown glaze. Here you can see the left side of the house is the paint, and a glaze of distressing brown paint added to the right side. Because the stain is thinned, it will go into all the cracks & crevices to darken them. I built up several layers of the glaze to distress the whole house.

I have a big collection of small trinkets I use for my dolls, so I decorated the house with little charms, skulls, & anything else I could throw on it. The 4 corners of the house looked real sharp, so I soften them by gluing plastic twigs on the edges. (Got the twigs from a bouquet of artificial flowers) On 2 of the corners, I continued the twigs up to the roof and created small branches growing out of the house.

I painted the wood base & glued moss all over it. Baba Yaga is known for eating lost children. In her stories, she has a fence built around her house made of bones & skulls as a warning. I hammered some nails into the wood base & glued some plastic skulls on them.

Putting the whole thing together -- Glued the chicken feet (and house floor) into the wooden base. (Lots of moss glued to everything!) Then, glued the house to the floor. And more moss glued on! (That moss gets everywhere! Spent so much time sweeping & vacuuming it up.)

Since the back of the house was rather plain, I strung up a clothesline and hung some fabric on it to dry (hey, even witches have to do laundry!)
Have Fun! -AB