tutorial: DIY Christmas village mountain

The past few days have been rainy and cold in my part of the world. I assume they’ve also been quite chilly for you. You know what this means, right? This means that the world is about to end. That or you should really get started on those Christmas decorations for your home.

Here is a DIY to help you out.

A little background story: this is another DIY collaboration with my boyfriend. Every year, his mom creates a beautiful miniature village. Check out last year’s. This year, we were tasked with creating a mountain for the village. The boyfriend constructed the armature and did most of the painting while I handled the papier maché steps. Because I have no patience for paint the same way he can’t stand waiting for glue to dry.

To make a DIY Christmas village mountain, you will need a rectangular piece of wood (ours was roughly 12″ x 24″), wire screen (we used only 1 meter), tacker, newspaper, white glue, wall putty, glitter, paint (gray and white), and masking tape.

1. Prepare your materials. The wire screen we used wasn’t the finest but you can go for that as long as it won’t collapse on itself once you’ve constructed the armature.

2. Start constructing your armature. We divided and cut our screen into 4 squares. Staple one side to the edge of the wood and the other side to the other side of the wood, making sure that you pull the middle section of the screen up. This will give you a hollow bulge that should resemble a mountain.

3. Continue until you cover the wood. To connect your wire screens, use a stapler. Your screen should be pliable enough for you to be able to shape your mountain. You can add a plateau, a deep fall, or a secret cave.

4. Once you’ve constructed your armature, you can begin the papier maché process. You will want to cover the gaps of your armature first with masking tape. Your glue mixture should be 2 parts glue and 1 part water. Cover your armature with strips of newspaper generously brushed or soaked in your glue mixture. Continue until the whole mountain is covered with newspaper. Let dry.

5. Once your mountain is dry enough, slather the surface with wall putty. This is important for giving the whole piece a more mountain-like texture and a less paper-y look.

6. More wall putty fun. Let dry once more.

7. After half an hour, paint your mountain gray. Let dry.

8. After another half hour or so, paint over the gray mountain with white paint. You don’t have to cover the whole thing. Parts of gray peeking out is okay.

9. To give a snowy impression, make sure that you paint the upper sections of the mountain in white quite generously.

10. While the paint dries, sprinkle with glitter. Let dry….

and display:

As you can see, the mountain is a tad tiny for the village. Next year, if the world still lives, we’ll attempt life size. HA!

8 thoughts on “tutorial: DIY Christmas village mountain

  1. I was at a model railroad show and they used plaster bandages to make realistic mountains instead of papier maché. You can use the bandages from art stores (used for masks etc…) or just get the cheap medical ones. But your mountain looks amazing the way you did it!

  2. Oh man I love that! My dad has a butt ton of model trains, and at some point in high school I convinced him he needed to build a platform and all that jazz so we could make a miniature train town. We did a papier mache mountain, too–what a sloppy mess. I remember him yelling at me “You better play with these trains!” which now, looking back, is a ridiculously funny statement as I was about 16 at the time. I think we only used it that one year. I kind of want to live in that village up there :)

  3. This is one hell of a tutorial! Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. When I lived at home, my dad brought out the train every year. This tutorial reminds me of the good times at home.

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