Step Inside My Noodle House (Take 1)

December 30th, 2008 11:59 pm by Kelly Garbato

2008-12-28 - Noodle House - 0004

Last year, when I initially conceived of FSMas, one of the first diy craft ideas to pop into my head was that of building a Noodle House. (Think “gingerbread house,” but with uncooked pasta instead of cookies and icing…and not at all edible, natch.)

I finally found some time this month to experiment with my first noodle house. Even though it turned out to be a bit of a flop – I spent a good half hour yesterday dismantling what I’d made, so I could at least recycle the cardboard frame – I’m going to blog the process anyway, share what worked and what didn’t, and hopefully hammer out some new ideas for the 2009 holiday season.

OK, well, where to begin? I started with two smallish-medium square cardboard boxes. The larger box, the dimensions of which were slightly longer/wider than the length of a lasagna noodle, formed the base of the house. I taped the top and bottom closed so that all the surfaces were level.

2008-12-19 - Noodle House - 0003

Next, I broke down the smaller box so that it was flat; leaving the top and bottom flaps intact, I cut this large piece of cardboard in half, so I had two sections of six panels each (the two side panels, and two top and two bottom panels). Taking one of these pieces of cardboard, I folded it so that the side panels formed a 90 degree angle. I also folded one end of the top/bottom flaps at a 90 degree angle to the side panels, while I kept the other set of the top/bottom flaps straight and level with the side panels. I taped the folded top/bottom flaps to the side panels to hold this structure in place.

In this case, a picture is easily worth a paragraph worth of words:

2008-12-19 - Noodle House - 0005

2008-12-19 - Noodle House - 0004

This funny little configuration served as the roof.

Since one side of the “roof” was missing flaps, I measured and cut a little triangular piece of cardboard from the scraps, which I then taped to the appropriate side of the roof, like so:

2008-12-19 - Noodle House - 0006

The whole “roof” structure fit snugly on top of the “house” box, and of course I secured it all together with copious amounts of packing tape:

2008-12-19 - Noodle House - 0008

2008-12-19 - Noodle House - 0007

Clearly, one side of the house looks neater than the other, but I didn’t think it’d matter much, as I’d planned on covering the whole structure with pasta anyhow. That said, with a little advance planning, you should be able to create a cleaner “roof” than the one above.

Normally, I have dozens of boxes on hand, but since the Mr. and I moved (and lost a basement in the process), we take more frequent trips to the recycling center than we used to. So when I decided on a whim to try out the noodle house, supplies were limited. Hence the rush job. Another suggestion: if you choose to use lasagna noodles for your “siding,” try to find a box that’s as wide as a noodle is long – then you don’t have to worry about breaking up noodles and hiding seams.

Once the frame was assembled, I started affixing the siding – in this case, uncooked lasagna noodles – with hot glue. I needed four rows of lasagna to cover a “wall,” top to bottom. Each “wall” was a little shorter than four rows, actually, so the top row overlapped the one below it, just a touch. The bottom row was only one noodle deep.

For each row, I also had to break off a small piece of lasagna to finish the width of the “wall.” This created an annoying seam, which I guess I could have covered up with some smaller, decorative pasta – except, I didn’t get that far. Anyway, my bad for a total failure to plan ahead.

2008-12-19 - Noodle House - 0010

By this time, I was utterly sick of pasta, so I took a break for a few days. When I came back to the project, I decided to try out the roof – mainly because I had no clue what to use, and figured that if I was going to fuck it all up, I’d rather fuck it up before I invested a bunch of time and energy into gluing itty-bitty pieces of decorative pasta to the house.

And, well, fuck it up I did.

I considered using penne for the roof, but tossed that idea out because 1) an all-yellow pasta house would be too blah and 2) individual pieces of penne would take forever to glue down. I thought sparkly red pipe cleaners might work, but I didn’t have enough of them to cover the whole roof.

That left me with raffia. F’in raffia. The-bane-of-my-existence raffia.

2008-12-19 - Raffia - 0002

I bought a ton of this stuff at The Dollar Tree last year, but never used it as it’s such a pain in the arse. It’s wound so tightly in the package that it’s darn near impossible to unravel and use as strands. So. I had the “genius” (read: st00pid) idea of cutting it into little pieces, kind of like confetti, and gluing it en masse to the roof with hot glue.

In theory, not a half bad idea. In practice…totally impractical.

The raffia was so curly and crinkly that it was difficult to keep it flush with the roof. Doubly so when you’re pressing it onto a roof covered in smoking hot hot glue. There was bits of raffia and long, feathery strands of hot glue everywhere: on the house, on me, of the towel, on the floor, on the dogs, even. It was a huge, frustrating mess.

In the end, I liked the textured effect the raffia lent to the roof; I thought it looked a bit like Spanish tile, or maybe a quaint cottage bungalow a la Hansel and Gretal. Problem was, pieces of raffia were still falling loose days later – the glue never got enough traction to secure the raffia to the cardboard. Plus, there were still little spots of exposed brown here and there, and trying to hot glue small pieces of raffia – in the midst of clumps of the stuff – well, it’s an exercise in futility.

2008-12-28 - Noodle House - 0017

Even so, I had every intention of finishing the project – too late to turn back, right? I at least wanted to finish the roof.

Well, funny thing happened. During my down time, I stored the house out of the way, on the dining room table – which is in Ozzy’s side of the house. Within a day, he’d licked a white patch on one small section of the siding:

2008-12-28 - Noodle House - 0013

“OK, well, no big deal,” I thought. “Annoying, but I can work around it, maybe cover it up with some additional pasta.”

I moved the house, placing it on a stack of boxes in the corner of another room.

A few days later, I came back to find this:

2008-12-28 - Noodle House - 0003

Now, leaving the box out on the dining table was my bad – Ozzy sometimes stretches out there at night, and I really should have known better. I was tempting him; how could he lay right next to this strange new toy and not lick it?

But this time around, he seriously went out of his way to get to the pasta. Since there was no way for him to sit next to the house and lick in leisure, he cared enough to stand up on his back legs while feasting on my craft project. Given how lazy Ozzy is, that’s a feat.

The house sustained enough damage that I finally decided to scrap it. But I *will* succeed next year, dammit!

Here’s what I learned from this year’s fiasco:

– Flat noodles (such as lasagna) are thin enough that they don’t conceal the glue – with hot glue, anyway, you can see the glue globs underneath, especially if you cake it on. Methinks three-dimensional pasta, such as manicotti, might work better. Instead of “siding,” you’ll have more of a log cabin look.

– Spend time collecting and measuring boxes – a box that’s as wide as your pasta is long is ideal. For lasagna noodles, aim for rows of one noodle across. With manicotti, which is much shorter, you might have to go with two to three noodles wide, which will leave you with seams.

– For the roof, again, collect and measure boxes in advance so you have a cleaner roof. Mine was ok, but obviously improvised.

– I’m still stumped on what materials will best cover the roof. Lasagna (maybe even painted red) might work, but again, there’s the issue with the glue showing through. Wide strips of red ribbon, perhaps? Red construction paper? Red confetti? Red confetti on top of red construction paper? Maybe I can even find a batch of recycled/reused/reclaimed red tile on freecycle? Ideas? Anyone?

Anywho, in spite of my spectacular failure, I will finish a noodle house, some day.

Until then, Her Noodliness remains a renter. The equity, she must has it!

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , , ,

Leave a Reply