Crafting | A winter village of little white houses

Today’s snowstorm kept me home from work and school and gave me a chance to finally finish a craft project I had started before Christmas: a mini winter village.

shelves holding little white houses with tin roofs, nail chimneys and faux snow around them

It was originally supposed to be a mini Christmas village, but since I didn’t get it done til now I’m rebranding it and leaving it set up for another month (or more if I remove the faux snow).

Mini birdhouses before being transformed into a mini Christmas village

My mini village actually started out as a bunch of tiny birdhouses.

mini birdhouses before being transformed into mini Christmas village

I was buying these little buildings at thrift stores and garage sales for a long time with no clear idea of what I was going to do with them.

mini birdhouses before being transformed into a mini Christmas village

Then as the holiday shopping season got underway, I started seeing cute little house-shaped ornaments and Christmas villages popping up all over, and I suddenly knew my birdhouse collection was destined to become its own one-of-a-kind small town.

turning mini birdhouses into a mini village

To transform the buildings from mini birdhouses into mini people houses, I pried most of the roofs off (with plans to replace them) and sketched windows onto the exteriors.

using a woodburner to burn window outlines into little houses

Then I broke out my woodburner and attempted to trace over my window lines.

little bird houses being transformed into a mini village

I’ve had a woodburner in my crafting stash forever, but this is the first time I’ve actually used it. I quickly discovered it takes a steady hand to make straight lines and even impressions in wood. I also discovered my hand is anything but steady.

tiny houses being transformed from birdhouses into a mini village

It also became apparent to me that no two mini birdhouses are made of the same type of wood. I found myself constantly applying too little pressure on hard wood, which meant I barely scratched the surface, and then too much pressure on soft wood, in which case the wood would almost melt away under the hot tip.

Little white houses in a Christmas village display

When I finished the woodburning, I patched up my deepest and most blatant oopses with woodfiller, then slathered a coat or two of white chalk paint over the buildings.

I also distressed the edges of the houses, which hopefully makes the cattywampus windows look kind of intentional.

mini Christmas village, made from small birdhouses painted white with woodburned windows

As I mentioned earlier, I had plans to make new roofs for the houses, but by the time I got this far, it was almost Christmas and I didn’t have any more free time for crafting.

I set a few of my half-finished houses out on display with some vintage bottlebrush trees and some faux snow and called the project done …

cutting corrugated tin for roofs of mini houses in winter village

… until today, when our forecast called for 5-10 inches of snow. I decided to stay safe and stay off the roads, which meant I finally had a free day and no excuse to put off re-roofing my houses any longer.

crafting metal roofs for tiny houses in a winter village

I made the roofs out of a roll of corrugated tin that I had found at a thrift store for $1.50. The tin was surprisingly easy to cut with a regular old utility scissors.

attaching a tin roof to mini house

After I cut the tin to the right size for each house, I bent the pieces in half and glued the roofs onto their respective houses with Gorilla glue.

mini white wooden house with tin roof

Ta da.

overhead view of corrugated tin roofs on mini houses

Here’s an aerial view of a few of the houses. (The house on the far left had a four-sided roof, which required a slightly different technique and a few tack nails to secure it, since the glue didn’t want to hold there.)

two little white houses in a mini winter village

I thought I was done at this point, but when I looked at the houses, I realized they needed one finishing touch yet: chimneys.

rusty nails to use as smokestacks for mini houses

I’ve been ogling driftwood cottages on Pinterest lately, and a lot of them have nails for chimneys or smokestacks, so I decided I’d totally steal that idea. I also stole a handful of the rustiest, crustiest old nails I could find in my husband’s workshop. I’m pretty sure he won’t miss them.

drilling a hole into the roof of a miniature house in order to insert a nail chimney

Then I drilled pilot holes through the roofs and into the wood …

completed little white house with a nail poking through the roof to serve as a smokestack or chimney

… so I could pound nails in with ease (and without splitting the wood).

completed little white wooden house with a nail for a smokestack/chimney

The chimneys required a lot of extra putzing, but they were worth it.

tall house in Christmas village display

The little chimneys give the houses so much more character, don’t they?

a row of three little white houses with tin roofs and nail chimneys

I put some of the chimneys on the left and some on the right, to make each house unique. I also added a few random tack nails here and there to help hold down the roofs where the glue had come loose while I was pounding the chimneys in. But the tack nails also add a little charm, too.

distressed little white house with rusty nail chimney

I ended up bending and scratching some of the roofs as I was pounding in nails, but I think that gives the houses a more weathered look, in keeping with the cattywompus-windows-and-distressed-paint theme.

shelves holding little white houses with tin roofs, nail chimneys and faux snow around them

Anyhoo, my little post-Christmas winter village is now done. If only our (real-world) snowstorm was as well …

four-sided mini house with a nail chimney

17 Replies to “Crafting | A winter village of little white houses”

    1. Thank you! I love them too, but it’s always a crap shoot when you put stuff out there into the blogosphere to see what the rest of the world thinks. I’m glad at least one other person appreciates my little white houses. 🙂

  1. Just Awesome 😍Love them, I just have to make some myself now, Thankyou for sharing these with us all 😊

  2. LOVE the white village and the cottage…y look. I’m not usually into reading directions but was obsessed with this. Darling, thank you!!!

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