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Create a Winter Village in Paper

Denise homeschooled her 4 children and has stories. She provided art lessons for many children in the homeschool community for many years.

A Christmas village made out of paper

A Christmas village made out of paper

The Paper Village

One of my favorite elements of the holidays has always been a Holiday winter village in miniature with lights and cotton batting for snow or even a mirror for a frozen lake. We live in Central California, and there isn’t much snow here, if ever. I remember snow as a little girl growing up in Indiana. There is a certain charm about the world being colored all white overnight. The winter village reminds me of that charm.

Not many people (including myself) can afford the beautiful porcelain Holiday winter villages, so I have created my own using paper. I developed a number of patterns for the houses and then colored them with colored pencils. I top the roof with paint that imitates snow, surround the village with colored lights, and even add a mirror for a frozen lake. My children over the years have added little houses to the village, and I have even used the patterns to teach art classes to children.

Create this project with your children and add a bit of togetherness to the holidays.

Step 1

Copy the house pattern onto one sheet of heavy paper. One way to copy a pattern is to hold it up to a window. You will be able to see the pattern through the blank paper. More complicated patterns need more than one sheet of paper. The second sheet of paper is for the roof, awnings, balcony, or chimney, as desired.

Once the pattern is copied, you can color the house in any color you desire with colored pencils. Windows can be cut out of the left as desired. If you cut out the windows, cover them with tissue paper (white or blue or yellow) so that the colored lights can shine through.

Holiday Favorites

It seems to me that every year there are bittersweet memories associated with the holidays. On the one hand, I love the lights and the smells, the food, and the family; on the other hand, I get blue and down sometimes when the expectations of the holidays don’t come to pass. Sometimes I just miss members of the family that are gone from the family circle forever. It is hardest on the holidays, it seems.

Remember that if you feel this way, you are not alone. What is more, there are tons of people who feel the same way. There are organizations and helplines available, so you have someone to talk to when the sadness gets to be too much. Many can be found by querying “depression”.

Score the fold lines. (My drawing of a girl scoring the fold lines.)

Score the fold lines. (My drawing of a girl scoring the fold lines.)

Step 2

Color the house and roof and accessories with colored pencils. No need to color the flaps as they will be glued down and never be seen. Don't forget to put a pattern on the roof, like shingles and bricks on the chimney.

After the house is colored, you will want to cut it out carefully with scissors. The paper will bend better at the corners if you score the paper. This means that the heavy paper has a "dint" made along one line by running one point of the scissors or a knitting needle over it. Use a ruler to keep the scoring straight and only on the corners where the walls meet.

Time and Cost

With minimal time and funds, you can create a charming Winter Village for the whole family. Children love this project.

MaterialsTime Expense

heavy paper

tracing: 15 min

a dime or so each house

colored pencils

coloring: 30 minutes


glitter snow paint

painting: 20 minutes


Step 3

After the corners and flaps are scored, so they bend well, fold the house into a box shape and glue the flap to the inside of the house. Then fold the flaps and floor in and glue them. Next, the flaps to glue on the roof need to fold down and place the roof on top.

Step 4

After the roof is glued down, you can add a chimney, balcony, dormer windows, or awnings at the windows. Give the glue on the house time to dry.

The last step is to paint on the snow. Do not cover the whole roof. You will want to see some of the colorings underneath. Paint the snow, especially along the edges, and pull some icicles down from the corners.

Christmas Comments Welcomed

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 28, 2021:

Cynthia Zirkwitz,

How nice of you to say so. Thanks for commenting.



Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 21, 2019:

Hi Denise,

I followed the reference link here from your art therapy projects with seniors. I love your little house designs-- paper is my medium of choice. Thank you for sharing well in advance of Christmas as a link in your other delightful article.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on September 13, 2017:

I have begun adding these house patterns and many more to my Etsy page with complete instructions, color pictures and the patterns for download. Choose the one you want or all of them.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on January 07, 2015:

I intend to publish a whole book of these little paper houses in the near future. Watch for it.

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