2017 & 2018 Christmas Villages

The Canvas

This slideshow encompasses our 2017 and 2018 Christmas villages.

Since 2012, I had been using plaster to build our village's terrain and loved the organic look it provided, especially with the snowy mountains. Unfortunately, plaster requires 24-48 hour curing times in between each added layer, and that can really hinder your schedule sometimes.

Also, plaster terrains eventually break and you need to be careful with their storage. It may last the next season and possibly the one after that, but they are fragile and at some point, they will get tossed.

As I was preparing for another build in 2016, I was looking at pictures online for inspiration and came across people who were using Polystyrene styrofoam (EPS) for their materials.

Now, I had used this stuff before but only to build up the terrain, then I'd drape a cotton snow blanket over it all. Nothing fancy at all.

What these people did was incredible and their sculpting job left me speechless. In an instant, this solved the dual problem of fragility and storage. I immediately pulled out of my current plans and pivoted entirely to using EPS.

I learned where to get the materials (look for a polystyrene manufacturer, not a hardware store that only sells EPS w/sheeting) and how it was purchased.

It comes in a big block, 24 inches thick x 4 feet wide x 8 feet long.

So I divided the 24 inches up, 9 sheets @ 2 inches thickness (18") and 6 sheets @ 1 inch thickness (6"). 18"+6"=24"

I purchased various tools from Hot Wire Foam Factory, watched the tutorials and started in. I was pleased with the overall job I did and 2017's village used the same pieces from 2016.

In 2018, I made a new purchase of materials (what you see in the slideshow) and created something a little more elaborate. Unfortunately, we didn't have the village set up for 2019 and 2020, so I'm itching for 2021's display.

I build/design the overall village and Michelle sculpts the terrain and mountains with a hot wire router that goes through the styrofoam like butter.

We work flat-out until it's time to assemble and populate the village. At that point, ready or not, we stop all sculpting and start the building. So in some pictures, you will see areas we did not get to just yet.

A whole new village is being planned for 2021 so stay tuned...

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