Painted Christmas Village DIY
On the fifth day of Christmas... I finally managed to write the post about making my Christmas village. I realize it's a bit unorthodox to continue with the Christmas themed content at this point, but as we currently reside in that Post Christmas/Not Yet New Year's Eve no man's land I thought I'd sneak this one in.
And while I'm on the topic, why don't we really celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas? There's so much frenzied energy leading up to Christmas Day and then as abruptly as a sled meeting a tree, it's over. How novel (but really, historic) the idea of unhurriedly celebrating the season for TWELVE MORE DAYS!
A few years ago, I built that shelf above the TV – a makeshift mantel of sorts – and come Christmas it always seems to necessitate a holiday dressing up. As I mentioned in this year's Holiday House Tour blogpost, I think Christmas villages are incredibly charming! However, they can get pretty expensive and I don't always love the more traditional options available. Heavily influenced by this image, saved long ago on Pinterest, I set out to create a whimsical and colorful village of my own.
The basic concept was to create a folding screen-like structure so that the village could stand on its own and not require any additional bracing. I considered using cardboard or even folded poster board before remembering I already had some much sturdier hardboard (previously cut into 2' squares) on hand. I set them up on the shelf to make sure they'd fit and then got to work sketching out a basic design on each board.
As you can see I didn't spend much time drawing a "perfect" design. I wanted it to feel carefree and lighthearted. In hindsight I could've made it even less detailed because eventually it would be painted over anyway. I then used a hand-held saw to cut out the buildings – a little tedious, but not difficult. This is also where I accepted there was no way I was going to be able to cut out the individual window panes like I'd originally intended.
After I had the basic structures cut out I painted them white. And once that dried I used the assorted acrylic and latex paints I already owned to mix up some pink, red, and green to paint the individual houses. This step actually took awhile because I'm not great at mixing colors. In fact, I painted and repainted the light pink houses so many times I don't even have a proper "before" image. The below image is from one of the many failed attempts before I landed on the final peach/pink of the finished product.
After waiting for that to dry, I used the same paint to free-hand the detail back into the houses. I'm not at all skilled at painting and simply crossed my fingers that I could come up with something that looked cute and playful without being a complete train wreck. I then outlined everything with a gold Sharpie Paint Pen to add some shimmer and better define the details.
I'm so happy with how it turned out! It's a little campy and completely homespun, but it captures that childlike magic of Christmas I was after. Whether you're celebrating for seven more days, have already hauled your tree to the street, or land somewhere in between, may your heart be light as we look to a new year.