Christmas Villages

The 2017 Village

The 2017 & 2018 Christmas villages

I love plaster.

Plaster has such a nice, organic look to it that so beautifully compliments a snowy Christmas village. It is however, a pain to work with. It takes an enormous amount of time, as you wait for each layer to dry before adding the next one. It is also fragile. Even if you're incredibly careful, expect it to last a few seasons if you're lucky. Plus there's storage. Where do you put it once the Christmas season is over?

I had long been planning on beginning a new village layout for the 2017 season. It would be built from the ground up, with supplies that I had slowly been gathering.

I was on Pinterest one night, when I saw pictures of a village that had been crafted from EPS polystyrene styrofoam. As I looked at a few more such villages, I knew this was the direction to go. I donated all my plaster supplies and dived into learning something new.

I had used styrofoam previously, but that was for building levels or having something in the background. What I saw offered enormous creative possibilities, while at the same time, providing the solutions I had been looking for.

Styrofoam is much lighter, lasts forever and can be stored in the attic. I even made a Snoopy doghouse for the outside fence, along with a "Merry Christmas" sign.

Just don't purchase styrofoam with the attached plastic sheeting. Look for your closest manufacturer that deals in EPS Polystyrene, I have to travel 50 minutes to get to mine. They offer it in huge blocks, what are then cut down to size. I use mainly 1" and 2" thick pieces at this point.

The company I go to for my shaping supplies is:  Hot Wire Foam Factory

They offer a variety of cutting and shaping tools, along with finishes and glues.

I am still very much in my infancy when it comes to this new landscape. Unfortunately, we were unable to set this up in 2019 and 2020 will be the same for us, with or without Covid.

I build the terrain, while Michelle sculpts the mountains. We work flat out on cutting and shaping the styrofoam until my internal alarm clock goes off. Then we stop and start building the village. All told, it takes 2-3 days to populate the area, including an almost infinite number of minor adjustments constantly being made. 

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