Us On


Dunnies for Fun
by Gisby

Jakes, Dunnies, Outhouses... Whatever you call them, they were everywhere until indoor plumbing became common. They lent a certain air to Western towns, and they will do the same for yours...

They are also a quick project that can be fitted in between other projects, or to keep occupied while another project dries.

I was sorting through bags o' stuff in my workroom, and found forgotten craft sticks from Xmas stockings gone by.

There were a couple of bags of tiny craft sticks, about half width and 2" long. (I am using popsicle/lolly sticks as the norm)

So I glued several edge-to edge to make small sheets four or five sticks wide. (I am not unsure, some were four wide, some were five wide)

I used the four-wide sheets for walls, and the wider sheets for bases and roofs, and made a pair of outhouses.

The side wall bases were cut using a mitre box and saw, so they'd be straight and level. The front top of one was measured to 30mm, and cut, with a slope to the back. The second wall was cut using the first as a guide.

So long as the fronts were about the same height, I didn't worry if all the boxes had matching slopes. Some have steeper slopes than others. The back wall was cut to fit after the sides were cut.

The front and back are set inside the side walls, so the front actually looks like a door. The doors are random heights, with different sized gaps above and below the door.

I added scrap coffee stirrer above the door as a lintel, and a scrap of wood or wire as a handle.

You could make these to a plan, so that they were identical. It would probably speed up production overall, but the fact that each one is unique adds to their charm.

Since I only have 2 bags of these small sticks, I decided to switch to normal craft sticks. They are sturdy and cheap, and easy to find. (You could use coffee stirrers, but they are thinner, and would need some internal bracing.)

I made a pile of sticks scribed down the centre so they look like two boards rather than one, and another pile of sticks split in the centre to actually make two boards.

From these I made sheets 2 1/2 sticks wide, and 3 1/2 sticks wide. The narrow sheets are used to make walls and doors, and the wider sheets for roofs and bases. The construction method is the same.

Not all outhouses had floors, some were just set on the ground, so I built a few on bases.

The bases are narrow strips of MDF left over in the frames of Aetherworks' laser-cut buildings. I glued them edge to edge to get the size I needed. They are easily trimmed and beveled with a craft knife.

The chimney above isn't there to heat the outhouse: It's a pipe leading under the seat so the smell goes OUTSIDE the dunny.

I painted the buildings grey, and washed them heavily with black. They were then drybrushed with various greys and tans. Later ones seem darker than earlier ones.

Dyed sponge was used for vegetation, and posters were printed on my computer. The Sears-Roebuck catalogue on the floor of one actually has a cover downloaded from the internet.

Some people liked privacy, or had to deal with strong winds, and would put up a small windbreak or fence.

The fence is made from coffee stirrers, and the frame from matchsticks. The boards were glued, edge to edge, then the horizontals were added.

The fence sections were glued in place, and the upright frame was added last.

I generally made one or two a night while watching TV, and in no time had a pile of outhouses to stink up my Old West town.

If you are making them as gifts, they are just the right size to hold a dried cat doot. They will add a definite air to any game then.....