Make Your Own Christmas Village December 3, 2018 There’s a certain amount of nostalgia attached to a little Christmas village like this one. We love the way these handmade houses, inspired by our holiday visual display at the market, make a whimsical addition to Christmas decor. They remind us of gingerbread houses—except you don’t have to throw them away after the holidays! This craft is great for older kids, and even the littlest family members can help with the decorating. Year after year, you can even continue to add houses to your Christmas village, turning this activity into a Christmas tradition. Here’s What You’ll Need: + House templates (see links to print below) + Large brown kraft paper roll (hardware store) or colored construction paper + Large sheets of cardboard (approximately one large sheet per house) + X-Acto knife + Scissors + Ruler + Hot glue gun + hot glue sticks + Glue stick + Pencil For Decorations (optional): + Acrylic paint in colors of your choice + Small paintbrush + Popsicle sticks + Wood coffee stirrers Steps 1 . For this craft, there are three sizes of houses to add some variation into your Christmas village. Print templates on 8 ½ x 11 paper (each template linked below) and cut each one out individually. + Small House Template + Medium House Template + Large House Template 2. Be sure to keep each house’s templates together to ensure they don’t get mismatched. 3. Trace templates side by side on cardboard, being sure to trace each of your three pieces twice. We labeled ours to ensure all same-size house pieces stayed together. 4. Cut each piece with scissors or an x-acto knife. If using an x-acto knife, use a ruler to help keep your cut lines straight. Take multiple passes through the cardboard with the blade until it is completely cut through, being careful not to cut yourself. 5. Once all of your cardboard pieces are cut out, roll out your brown paper, or set out pieces of colored construction paper. Glue one side of each cardboard piece and place them on the paper, glue side facing down. Leave 2-3 inches of space around each piece. 6. With a sharp pair of scissors cut directly down the middle of each piece into squares. Do not cut directly on the edge of the cardboard. Reference the photo below to see how they should look when you finish cutting. Note: For each size house, you should have 6 pieces cut out like this. 7. Line the edges of each cardboard piece with hot glue and tightly fold paper over and glue it down. It’s ok if the cardboard is not completely covered on the back side, as it will be facing the inside of the house when all pieces are glued together. 8. This is what your pieces will look like once they are wrapped in paper. Make sure the glue dries completely before moving on to the next step. 9. As we go into this next step, continue referencing the original template to remind yourself which piece is which. Line the outer edge of one piece with hot glue and press together with adjoining piece for 5-10 seconds until they are secure. Do this one piece at a time, until your 3D house structure is assembled. Make sure your house is sturdy and the glue is dry before moving on to decorating. When beginning to decorate, remember that each step is optional and feel free to keep yours simple or really dress it up! To Paint Houses What You’ll Need: + Acrylic Paint + Small Paint Brushes Note: If you choose to paint your houses, we recommend using acrylic paint, which you can find in small tubes at your local craft store. 1. Paint your houses using a small paintbrush and allow it to dry completely before adding any more decorations. We chose not to paint our small house, but we added a few other elements in the steps below. Scroll to the bottom for a few photos of painted and decorated houses from our holiday display at the Market to inspire your own! To Make Trim What You’ll Need: + Wood coffee stirrers + Pencil + Hot glue gun + Scissors 1. First, use scissors to trim off any rounded ends on your coffee stirrers. Then, measure each corner of the house using your stirrer and mark your cut line with a pencil. 2. Hot glue each trim piece into place. Repeat process around the perimeter of the house. For more decorative trim ideas, scroll to the bottom to check out the photos from the Market’s Christmas village. To Make Roof Shingles What You’ll Need: + Popsicle sticks + Scissors or Wire cutters + Hot glue gun 1. Cut off both rounded ends of a popsicle stick. Each end piece should be about ½ inch long. Note: If the sticks are breaking when you’re cutting them with scissors, use wire cutters instead. 2. Starting at the bottom of one side of the roof, hot glue the pieces of popsicle stick one at a time. When placing them, make sure they are glued right next to each other, leaving no space in between each one. 3. Layer each row slightly on top of the previous row until one side of the roof is completely covered. Repeat steps for second side. A few more ideas to decorate your village would be to paint on windows using gray paint and use your coffee stirrers to “trim” around them. Additionally, you could cut your windows out completely and add a battery-powered tea light inside to give the effect of a soft glow inside the house. Lastly, add a chimney by wrapping a travel-sized toothpaste box in brown paper, trimming the bottom at a diagonal, and hot gluing it to the roof. (Pictured: The Hadley Holiday Pillow, designed by Joanna Gaines in collaboration with Loloi.) On a mantel, side table, or even under the Christmas tree are perfect places to set up your village of houses. To add even more to your village, incorporate bottle brush trees, pieces of garland, string lights or even faux snow. You could also use fresh trimmings from your own tree or snippets from a tree lot. If you make your own houses, be sure to tag @magnolia on Instagram so we can see how your Christmas village came together!