FALALALALAAAAAA LA LA LA LA
As a lover of all things Christmas (and quite a penchant for glitter too), this was one of those projects where it was difficult to finish. You could go on forever really, a touch more glitter, a few more beads, another light…but I forced myself to stop. It’s only paper, but this was the most fun I have had crafting in ages. 🙂
I began my village with this kit.
This turned out to be great in some ways, and shite in others. For example, the glitter containers included were awesome. They made little ‘puffs’ of glitter that you could control. But the glue that came with it never dried. However that might just be a Queensland humidity thing.
There was also no way it was going to turn out like the picture on the box, which is heavily photoshopped. The upstairs dormer windows and some of the entrances were solid all the way through, unlike the picture, so amongst a few other problems, I had to work out a way to get light to them. Also there are no street lights in the kit.
Before I punched out the houses, I photocopied them all. There are extra templates to copy in the instruction book, but they are to a different scale. Instead, I photocopied all the large ones onto cardboard so that I had extras. I ended up using two of the extras.
I also used two buildings downloaded from christmas-village-displays.com, a town hall and a thatched cottage. These had more detail printed on them, but didn’t fit together perfectly and weren’t as three dimensional as the others.
I used vellum and a Sharpie for the window panes, and did some stained glass effects using ordinary textas.
Once all the buildings were glued together, I decorated them with glitter from the kit plus my own assorted beads and dried moss. I used PVA wood glue for everything. The pipe cleaner for the wreaths came with the kit. I made one of the pine trees into a Christmas tree.
I used small pieces of wadding for the smoke in the chimneys. I was inordinately happy with how that looked. Note wind blowing same direction. N.B. This is the kind of thing that happens when you don’t have TV. 🙂 I have issues.
The book recommended ‘flocking powder’ for a snow effect. I duly bought some on eBay without having the faintest idea what it is. Having used it, I am still none the wiser. It was a bit like asbestos. I threw it out after one try, preferring the glitter. It lives on though, in the form of our favourite new swear word. Eg For flock’s sake, this flocking glue won’t set!
Initially I had intended these houses to be lined up on a mantelpiece with flickering battery-operated tea lights inside them to look like fireplaces. Aaaah, pretty. What I didn’t factor in was that most of the houses are two storey, and an orange, flickering light inside makes them look like they are actually burning down. So rather than a very un-Christmassy replica of the the Great Fire of London, it was back to the drawing board.
I decided to fix them permanently to a cardboard base instead. That way I could run battery operated fairy lights through them. At this stage I thought maybe – just maybe – it was getting a little out of hand for a basic paper village. And it turned out I was right, the base was the most time consuming job overall. 🙂
I had three pieces of old box cardboard the same size. I painted the first board, and added a slightly raised platform for the church out of an old canvas.
I loosely laid out the village and marked the lights placement, then ran them under and through holes punched with a knitting needle (what else?). I made a couple of mistakes, but I patched them with paper. I set it up so there were some lights backlighting the trees and snowman, and a couple front lit, like the Christmas tree.
To hide the wire and make a flat base I did the following – much easier to photograph than to explain.
Then I glued the final solid piece onto the base, weighed it down with assorted pots and waited for the glue to try.
After affixing the buildings and the trees, I covered the base with ‘drifts’ of polyester quilt wadding. And just a bit more glitter with a border to neaten the edges.
The kit cost $24AUD from bookdepository.com : ‘Build a Christmas Village’ by Leonard Hospidor
It came with:
3 prepunched houses, 1 church and a wildly disproportionate dog kennel which I didn’t use
1 x premade, preglittered tree
6 x prepunched pine tree
2 x prepunched large trees
Prepunched picket fencing
Glitter x 4
Glue x 1
Pipe cleaner x 1
Sheet of vellum
The town hall and thatched cottage were free downloads from: christmas-village-displays.com
10 sheets 280gsm white cardboard for photocopying/printing extra houses- $6.75AUD on eBay
Flocking powder (unused): $2.30AUD on eBay
Things I used that I already had:
PVA wood glue
Stanley knife, metal ruler, bone folder and cutting mat
Sharpie and coloured textas
String of battery operated fairy lights
Small art canvas
For anyone else contemplating this, I say go for it! It was so much fun! 🙂 I worked on this for a few minutes up to an hour most days over a period of two weeks. My main tip would be to fully complete each stage before you go on to the next (eg build all the houses before you start decorating any of them). Also have a dedicated work space set up just for this project so you can leave things to dry (and where you don’t mind there being a lot of glitter). It would be far too hard to pack it up each day.
In the end, I am very happy with it. It will probably be a gift for someone sans cats. I am already planning another, but a more permanent and realistic model village, such as those used in model train scenery. And I can’t WAIT for Christmas!! 🙂