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Make a Full-Scale Popsicle House, Develop World’s Worst Brainfreeze

Are you looking for a summertime hobby? Do you have a hankering for ice cream on a stick and a love of Elmer's Glue? Why not build a full-sized house out of Popsicle sticks. Beware the brainfreeze!

David Cross

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Do you remember playing with Popsicle sticks? They were—and I’m willing to bet still are—a favorite of art teachers the world round. When I was in middle school, I used them to build insane structures with huge globs of Elmer’s Glue sticking out everywhere. One of my favorite things to do was build impractical castles for my G.I. Joes to storm. Those were the days.

I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic lately, which has included daydreaming about those Popsicle stick fortresses and hours-long action figure battles in which, somehow, no one was seriously injured (I had a medic action figure who really knew his stuff). Of course, now when I think of those Popsicle fortresses, it’s on a more academic level—or should I say a more Movoto calculator level. If you’re familiar with the Movoto blog, I think you know where this is going. Recently, I wanted to know how many Popsicle sticks it would take to build a house. (I love my job, folks.)

According the Movoto gang’s estimates, it would take 837,008 Popsicle sticks to build a real-live Popsicle house. We don’t know how many ice cream headaches that would amount to, but it’d sure be fun trying to figure it out.

Is This Actually Possible?

I know what you’re thinking: Is this actually possible? Maybe. But when has that stopped us from fanciful ideas—just look at our Bacon House post for clarification. A quick search of the Internet led me to this interesting tidbit. Back in 2009, Stephen Guman of Naugatuck, CT built a 12-foot-tall medieval castle using only Popsicle sticks. Go ahead and ask yourself how many Popsicle sticks that would be. It took 396,000 sticks and four gallons of Elmer’s Glue. The previous Guinness world record was a scant 370,000 sticks.

So it’s possible—not practical, but definitely possible.

How Did I Do It?

To figure out the number of Popsicle sticks it would take, I needed a few things: the size of the average American house and the size of a Popsicle stick. After that it’s just math. Thankfully, neither of these was difficult to come across.

The Average American Home

If you’re familiar with Movoto’s previous pieces where we’ve used wacko stuff to build imaginary houses, you’ll know that we have a standard-sized house I use. When I do these projects, I use a 2,500 square foot house, which essentially means the home is a 50 by 50 square. Other things you should know: I assumed the walls were 10 feet tall and included a pitched roof.

Wood Craft Sticks

It’s not easy getting a hold of 837,008 Popsicle sticks. In our opinion you have two choices. You can either buy one heck of a lot of Popsicles, and then eat your way to your goal, or go out and purchase “wood craft sticks” to build your project. (I suppose you could also cut the wood yourself, but I’m not going to touch on that.) I decided for this project you’d buy the Popsicle sticks yourself instead of giving yourself diabetes. Aside from this, I thought that building a house with sugary coated sticks would make things difficult.

With this terribly difficult decision made, I turned to Amazon to figure out what type of wood craft sticks I’d need to build our crafty house. A quick search showed me that there are a lot of wood craft sticks out there. The type I went with (the most popular on Amazon) measured 4 ½ by 3/8 inches, and cost $5.19 per 1,000 pieces. Shipping and handling not included.

With both the size of a house and the dimensions of our wood craft sticks lined up (and ready to be glued) I made a back-of-the-envelope assumption on how to build our Popsicle Stick House.

How to Build a Popsicle House

There are a lot of ways to build with Popsicle sticks. The method I chose called for building a square sections out of five sticks—four walls and a crossbeam. This means a square would include 30 Popsicle sticks. I then stacked these Popsicle bricks together to form the skeleton of our imaginary house. Once this was accomplished—at least in our spreadsheet—I figured out how many Popsicle sticks it would take to cover the house.

Gluing It Together

Once I had our basic building blocks and size of the house, I calculated how many wood craft sticks I’d need to build a house. This is essentially division. I came up with 837,008 Popsicle sticks. Isn’t your inner 10-year-old self excited? I know mine is.

Yo Joe!

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posted on: June 26, 2013
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