Fill your mantel or Christmas display with a miniature neighborhood of simple wooden houses you can make in a day.
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For an optional, more rustic look, use a rotary wire brush attachment in a drill to create a distressed look on both faces and edges of your 2 x 6 and 2 x 4.
Always wear eye and breathing protection when operating a wire brush on wood. Never wire-brush treated lumber.
Cut the 2 x 6 and 2 x 4 into pieces 6 inches, 8 inches, and 12 inches long depending on the size and quantity of houses you want.
Mark the center of the top end along its width. Then cut 45-degree miters meeting at the mark. Depending on how rustic you want your houses, these cuts can be off a few degrees.
Wash three pads of #0000 steel wool in a grease-cutting detergent to remove the protective oil and shake them dry. Immediately tear the steel wool pads into smaller pieces and add them to a 1-quart jar. Fill the jar with white vinegar and cover the jar loosely to let gas from the iron acetate mixture escape. Set it aside at least overnight and preferably for two days. Pour the mixture through a coffee filter to extract the remaining bits of steel wool; repeat as needed. Then brush the mixture onto the wood, allowing it to react with chemicals in the wood and stain them.
For a colorful collection of houses, select a handful of shades plus Ultra White for the windows and doors. Lightly brush a coat of paint on the faces and edges of the cutouts and let dry. Then sand lightly to distress the houses.
Using an artist’s brush, lightly paint a door and windows on the front faces of the houses.