Stories in Books Tiny House

That’s the name of this kit—Stories in Books—and it’s designed to look like a hardback book, with a tiny scene inside instead of pages.  It’s a lovely idea: a story in a book, told with a scene instead of words. 

The Story

Imagine that a small mountain village has grown up on both sides of a flowing stream.

Railroad tracks connect this village with another lonely village across the mountainous valley. On these tracks is a trolly car that allows family from one village to visit family from the other, with a green valley view on the way.

Where the tracks cross the stream in this village, a bookseller’s shop prospers.  The proprietor keeps her windows open so her cat can watch the blooms fall from the flowering trees that shade the stream.  

“Hoot Hoot” goes the trolly, over the stream and through the valley.  

The Process

That’s a little over the top (or a lot), but I’m trying to come up with something to say that’s not complaining.

I left this beside the dumpster here near Anchorage with a sign that said, “Free!  I light up!”  And it was gone within an hour.  I’m hoping that whoever snagged it has a strong imagination. 

Frankly, my first inclination was to salvage parts and throw the bulk of it into the dumpster.  But, with lots of glue (not called for in the instructions), I did get it to stay together well enough so I could carry it across the campground, and maybe that means someone could carry it home.  

Here’s the deal: This is a different kind of kit than my tiny houses, and entirely unfun, unrewarding, and undesirable to make—for me, at least.

A major way I enjoy making tiny houses is building one room at a time, watching the house come together as a whole from pieces of furniture and decorations. I like cutting fabric so it shows off patterns and textures, and I like adding small touches of my own, like a tray of lemonade beside a pool.  This kit was having none of it.

The instructions were clear and well written, but the kit is designed so you snap pieces together in a puzzle fashion.  “Take part E27 and snap it to G03, to make piece S, then snap piece S to piece T.” Seems simple enough, but it was not.

For one thing, it’s impossible to tell what you’re assembling, even when I made notes in the instructions.  Not until a certain piece is assembled do you get an idea of what it is, and maybe not fully until you’ve attached it to another.  I would spend an hour finding pieces and snapping them together, to finally see that I had made a windowsill.  

Then there’s the snapping part.  The pieces had been cut to fit exactly, so if you can get them to snap together, you’re golden—it’s gonna hold together perfectly without glue.

But you have to make them snap together, which takes a good deal of force.  And, the wood is delicate, so you have to hold the two pieces just so (often they’re a part of bigger pieces) and push them together without breaking anything, including the larger pieces attached to the pieces you’re attaching together.  

Sometimes I would finally get two large sections to attach, only for parts of each to fall apart, and when I got those parts put back together, the two large sections would then fall apart.  

My Usual Complaints

As usual, this would have been easier had I a workbench with a solid foundation and good lighting, where I could leave parts overnight.  As it was, I was often working on a folding metal camp table that Banjo would bump over when she stood up in the tent.  

In some super rough cases I resorted to using glue, which meant that some pieces didn’t fit together perfectly (the glue adds material in the seams), which meant those pieces didn’t fit on future pieces at all.  These mistakes compounded until the outside pieces would not fit together to make the book cover, which is the whole danged point.

I ended up winging several sections, let some simply fall out (I threw them away), and applied liberal glue to all outside seams.  Amazingly, when you press on the small power symbol, the lights come on, and the tiny village over the stream comes to life.  

8 thoughts to “Stories in Books Tiny House”

  1. Well I’m sorry this was so tough! I guess the “puzzle” aspect is why it popped up on Amazon advertising for me.

  2. So this is the one I’d been thinking of doing but I can see that my concerns about its sort of cut-out flat aesthetic are some of the issues you had with it. It’s still so cute though, I just wish it was more like your usual style of construction because I’d be all over it if it was. It still looks cute in your photos though.

    1. Oh no wait, the one I was looking at was an alleyway with shops but all the rest applies!

    2. You’d do a better job with it than I did, but I can see how you’d enjoy it. Zero creativity.

      1. I hope you mean I wouldn’t enjoy it because of the lack of creativity 😄 But yes that’s it exactly which is such a shame because the overall vibe is gorgeous.