Who's up for making a magical cardboard Christmas village? The holiday season is fast approaching, and I'm seeing charming Christmas gingerbread-style villages everywhere. Although traditional gingerbread houses are lovely, I'm here to introduce you to an eco-friendly alternative: a cardboard gingerbread village that is perfect for displaying on a mantel or windowsill. This step-by-step tutorial will walk you through the process of crafting your own, unique Christmas village with a sustainable twist. All you need are a few basic crafting materials that you probably already have at home.
Table of contents
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Materials for making a cardboard Christmas village
- A piece of cardboard the length of your windowsill or mantel
- Acrylic pens in white (2–3 mm)
- or Chalk pens in white, 2-3mm
- Fairy lights (optional)
- Candle votives (also optional)
Christmas Village Crafting Supplies
Instructions for making a Cardboard Christmas village display
Planning Your Gingerbread Village
Before you dive into the crafting process, take the time to consider the design, materials, and overall theme of your village. A quick search on Pinterest for 'Christmas village', 'Gingerbread houses', or 'Gingerbread villages' will bring up many inspirational images.
Here's a quick step-by-step guide to help you plan your cardboard gingerbread village:
Designing a cardboard Christmas village
Decide on a theme for your village. Make a note of the types of buildings you'd like to include. If you're thinking about adding candles or a string of fairy lights behind your gingerbread Christmas village, you will need to cut out doors and windows that will allow the light to shine through.
Choosing the Right Cardboard for a Christmas Village
- Select sturdy cardboard that provides ample support for your Christmas village. Thicker cardboard will ensure that your Christmas village stands alone and is stable.
- Decide whether you want to go with the natural color and texture of the cardboard or if you'd prefer to paint and decorate it to complement your Christmas decorations.
TIP: Be warned that the thicker the cardboard, the more effort it will take to cut out the sections for windows and doors, so try not to make them too small.
Scaling Your Gingerbread Village
Aim for variety in your Christmas village structures. Mix different shapes and sizes to add visual interest.
That's the planning completed; now we can move on to the instructions.
Now that you've laid the groundwork for your cardboard Christmas gingerbread village, it's time to bring your vision to life.
A. Cut the cardboard to size
- Begin by measuring your windowsill or mantle, then cutting a piece of cardboard to the desired length. Don't worry about the height at this stage; we'll be dealing with that later.
- When measuring, allow for about 5–6 cm extra on each side. We will fold these extra bits inward to help the cardboard Christmas village stand.
- Draw your Christmas village design onto the cardboard using a pencil. You can draw your Christmas houses free-hand or use a ruler if you prefer to be more precise.
B. Creating the Gingerbread Houses and Structures
- Cutting and Decorating the Houses: Once you are happy with your design, decorate the houses using paint, chalk markers, or acrylic markers to give them a gingerbread-like appearance.
C. Adding Details
- Creating Scenery: Enhance your village by adding details like stones or bricks.
- Adding Snow and Festive Elements: Apply a dusting of faux snow to rooftops. Integrate festive elements such as miniature potted Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, or other holiday decorations.
- Other Decorative Touches: Let your creativity shine by adding personalized touches. Consider crafting small accessories, animals, lamp posts, or even a sleigh to complete the scene.
D. Painting and Personalizing
- Painting the Cardboard: If you've chosen a natural cardboard color, decide whether you want to paint it. Use acrylic or craft paint to add color and enhance the visual appeal.
- Adding Your Unique Style and Details: Personalize your Christmas gingerbread village by adding unique details. This could include icing-like patterns on the houses, colorful candy decorations, or any other creative touches that reflect your style.
E. Cut around the houses
- Place a cutting board underneath your cardboard and using scissors or a craft knife, cut along the rooftops and discard the excess cardboard.
- You will need to use the craft knife to cut out intricate areas like windows and doors.
TIP: If you are using a chalk pen to create the decorative elements on your cardboard, make sure to cut out your Christmas village before decorating to avoid smudging the design. (This is a 'What I would do differently next time' tip!).
F. Testing Stability
- Fold back the extra side pieces on each side of the Christmas village.
- Stand your cardboard gingerbread Christmas village in the desired location.
- Reinforcement: If your Christmas village doesn't stand alone, you can reinforce it by gluing or taping triangles of cardboard to the back at intervals.
Displaying your cardboard gingerbread Christmas village
Decorations: Place some evergreens along your windowsill or mantel and place your cardboard Christmas village on top. Alternatively, you could use cotton wool or artificial snow instead of evergreens, or use both, however you like.
Background lights: To make your cardboard Christmas village stand out even more, try placing some candles or votives behind it. To make the most of the candles, make sure to place them behind a door or window that you have cut out. Alternatively, you could add battery-operated candles or a length of twinkling fairy lights behind your display.
When the holiday season ends, carefully pack away your flat gingerbread village for future use. Store it in a dry and cool place to prevent any damage to the cardboard.
I hope you've enjoyed this step-by-step guide to creating your own cardboard gingerbread Christmas village. If you have small children, this is a fantastic Christmas project to kick off the season and get them in the holiday spirit. I would love to see your unique creations, so if you make this, don't forget to share a photo on social media! Use the hashtag #chalkingupsuccessblog on Instagram or tag me directly. If you're looking for more holiday inspiration, be sure to check out some of my other popular Christmas posts below.
I wish you a wonderful crafting season filled with warmth, joy, and holiday magic!
Frequently asked questions
Yes, cardboard can be a surprisingly sturdy and versatile material. By choosing thicker cardboard and reinforcing key areas, you can create a stable and durable base for your gingerbread village display.
Absolutely! One of the beauties of crafting a cardboard Christmas village is the ability to personalize it according to your unique style and holiday theme. Use paints, markers, and additional decorations to tailor the village to match your desired festive aesthetic.
To add an extra touch of magic to your cardboard Christmas village, incorporate sparkly fairy lights and candles. These create a warm and enchanting ambiance and elevate the overall charm of your festive display. Use battery-operated lights for safety.
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