Christmas village displays are a charming way to set the holiday mood, but purchasing pre-made village platforms is more expensive than a plywood Christmas village platform. Deciding to build your own DIY Christmas village display can be daunting at first, but it's achievable on any budget. And the best part is, you avoid the risk of damage in shipping or misrepresentation in the sales venue.
Create a Christmas village that suits your personality and whimsy. You can make a ski or snow village display, a Dickens village, a Lemax Christmas village or a North pole holiday village. You can make your village as simple or complex as you like. Display the village as a centerpiece on a tabletop or as a smaller part of your holiday decor.
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Regardless of the size of your village collection, you will want to ensure you have a stable platform to safely display your Christmas village set. Follow the tips to make a DIY Christmas village display platform that will securely support your figurines and Christmas village buildings and accessories.
Using Styrofoam for a miniature village display stand
Styrofoam can be easily acquired, whether from shipping boxes or craft stores, and its textured white surface makes it a natural stand-in for fake snow with the addition of a little adhesive and glitter.
If you plan to make new Christmas village scenes every year, investing in a hot wire tool set, such as one from the Hot Wire Foam Factory, or something similar to sculpt Styrofoam into any number of imaginative shapes would be worthwhile. If you only want one village scene, investing in the tool may be a bit wasteful.
How to build a Christmas village platform
While you can use Styrofoam as the base platform for a Christmas village by layering sheets to create different heights and carving out steps or rock features, you should use plywood underneath the Styrofoam to provide a sturdy base, like bedrock under the town's soil. A plywood Christmas village platform will last for many years.
Include a sort of lip around the edge of your plywood platform to hold in any loose faux snow you decide to apply. You can also consider building a platform that can be taken apart for more accessible transportation and storage.
The first step is to carefully plan your village's size and layout. You can achieve this by drawing a diagram of the diorama on several pieces of paper or a single long sheet of butcher's paper. This will help you visualize the platform and adjust where you'll place buildings, streets and other features, such as a village mountain or ski slope.
Doing this prep work will also help you understand the scope of the project. Drill holes through the plywood and Styrofoam underneath each building and label the underside with which building or lighted feature it is so that you can discreetly run the wires up through the platform and landscape.
Is there a wrong way to make a Christmas village?
You can sculpt all of the terrain and streets for your village out of Styrofoam, or you can purchase plastic streets, stairs and more Christmas village accessories. The choice you make will depend on how much time and money you want to invest in the project. You can break out all of your power tools and miter boxes or clear off a space on a shelf, but however you approach your Christmas village, make it yours.
You don't even have to invest in much beyond some dollar-store sparkling cloth, stretched and fluffed cotton filling and whatever buildings you want to include in your village. Books or plastic containers can form hills, and wires can be hidden by the cotton snow on top of a spare folding table.
Consider using LED lights to illuminate the streets of your Christmas village.
You can use rocks from your garden or ornamental river stones to add authenticity to cliffs and riversides. You can simulate water features with acrylic sheets painted on the underside or simply by crumpling plastic wrap into a thick tube. Even without stones, you can use crumpled brown paper bags to simulate rock faces with a little water and ingenuity.
Regardless of the size and complexity of your Christmas village display base, you can easily sculpt the platform out of Styrofoam, which easily doubles as snow. Draw plans for your village before you start molding the Styrofoam to ensure you have plenty of room for the Christmas village houses and, of course, a Christmas village tree. With a bit of planning and work, you will have a sturdy platform for the miniature village that can be the centerpiece of your Christmas decorations and decor.