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Make a Christmas Village

21 November 2010 37,044 views 13 Comments

by heather

The dollar store usually sells a porcelain village at Christmas time. Last year, I picked up several pieces so I could have a few fun, cheap Christmas decorations that my kids could handle and enjoy without me freaking out and worrying that they would break. (I mean, it's possible for these to break, but they're sturdy, and it's no big deal if I have to toss one). This year, Dollar Tree is selling the whole village online for $36 (and the whole set is ONLY available on the website).

I love the idea of having a small collection of Christmas decorations that are kid-friendly. I love the idea of tucking a few of these porcelain village buildings in a corner in a child's room so she has her very own Christmas decorations. And even if the child is too young to have breakable decorations in his room, it's nice to have kid-friendly Christmas decorations down low where younger kids can touch and play with them.

lemax medical building at Amazon

A $25 Lemax Medical Building at Amazon

My mom has a fabric Nativity scene wall-hanging with detachable characters that kids spend hours playing with. She also has a couple of soft crocheted snowmen that sit on an end table that kids can touch. I, on the other hand, have spent a large portion of the last four years HAVING children, so I haven't had a lot of time or energy to get my kid-friendly Christmas decorations in order. I'll have to remedy that this year, since I'm neither pregnant or experiencing the sleep-deprivation of the parent of a newborn, and my older boys are ready to have a full-blown Christmas experience.

But back to the villages.

dollar store porcelain village

Dollar store porcelain paint job

Brand-name porcelain Christmas villages take a long time to collect because each building costs over $20 (see the Lemax Medical building photo here - I found it on Amazon for about $22), but each piece is perfect in detail, whereas the dollar store porcelain village has a decided lack of uh, paintmanship (see the photo on the left).

You can either live with these little imperfections (especially if the village is for your children to play with), or you can correct them yourself.

With a coat of spray paint, these dollar store fixer-uppers become a cute holiday decoration. You can choose spray paint in classic white, or go with a fashion color to match this year's decor. Since these are cheap, you can always repaint them if you get tired of their look, or repaint them each year to go with your color scheme.


  • Cheap porcelain house, $1
  • Spray paint, $1 and up
  • Acrylic paint, optional, on hand or $.50 and up
  • Glitter, optional
  • Glue, optional

Total: $1 and up

Do this:

  1. If desired, prime each house with acrylic paint. This will help you cover all the little crevices that might be hard to cover with spray paint alone.
  2. Spray paint each house, making sure to get paint in all the crevices (like windows). Repeat if necessary.
  3. If you want some sparkle, brush some paint on desired areas (like roof), and sprinkle glitter on top. A clear chunky glitter will provide good snowy sparkle.

Alternatively, prime them with white paint and then let your little Picassos repaint them to their own liking with acrylic paint.


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  • Michelle L. said:

    Wow, that IS a deal. I actually love your blue-painted one, simple and beautiful. I go with the dollar ones over the 25 dollar ones any time!

  • april said:

    totally rad idea to spray paint them a solid color! i had never thought of that!

  • Lisa said:

    Growing up, my mom used to always buy white porcelain houses for her village and paint them. I never got my own chance too, although I wanted to! This is perfect and something I think my 9 year old boys will enjoy painting as well. Thank you so much for giving me a cheaper alternative.

  • Marilyn said:

    why oh why did you have to mention that the dollar tree is offering the whole village online?? Now I want it and have to get it :P..lol

  • helen said:

    I love this idea My daughter painted a whole village a few years back and spent hours do it. It is beautiful but I dont have her talent This is great for me Thanks again and you are doing such a good job with this site I look forward to it every week Helen

  • Mary Lou said:

    Great idea!

  • april said:

    I did this! Thanks for the wonderful idea! I really like your turquoise one too, and almost did that (since our Christmas decor is always blue and silver), but chickened out and went for the white! Here is is, if you’d like to take a look!


  • Laurie Moore said:

    I love the idea of spray painting them. Thanks!!

  • amy dame said:

    ooh, you read my mind! last year i fell in love with the pastel vintage houses, but they’re collectibles and pricey, so i thought i’d pick some up at the $ store and paint them myself, but i ran out of time. it was on my list for this year, and now you’ve re-inspired me!

  • Amy @ Living Locurto said:

    Great idea! Love it!

  • Bon said:

    An optional idea would be to take a small amount of brown or black paint, tap the excess paint off on a paper towel and “swipe” lightly to give an antique appearance!

  • meg said:

    Wanted to let you know that this craft was highlighted on the at play blog yesterday.



  • Amanda said:

    Love these!! I really want to paint them black and use for Halloween! May have to buy two sets….. :-)