DIY: Recycle Cereal Boxes Into Christmas Village

When my daughter was little, building a Christmas village full of charming houses and towns was a Christmas tradition. If you’ve got the time and patience, It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon or evening with the kids and is easy to do if you prepare things ahead of time. Let the kids help out by rummaging through the recycling bins for material you can use.


In their new book, The Farm Chicks Christmas, the Farm Chicks, explain how you can use gift wrap to decorate pre-made houses you can buy.  However, since we are into recycling big time (right?) and because I’m basically frugal,  I suggest that instead of dashing off and buying a pre-made models, you make your own with stuff you already may have in your recycling bin. You can build a house or a whole village from the templates that I mention below.

For this project, you can easily recycle stuff like cereal or other food cardboard boxes, leftover gift wrapping paper, any bits of tinsel, file folders, and sheets of paper printed only on one side. I print out the templates on the blank side of printed paper that I keep on hand. Ask you neighbours, bring home stuff from the office. Don’t assume that you need to buy stuff to create this Christmas wonderland.

There are plenty of downloadable, printable templates that you can print and cut out, and most come with easy to follow instructions. All you have to do is substitute whatever material you have collected for whatever is required.

Paper Houses and Towns (Free Template Printable Downloads)

Martha Stewart provides instructions and templates for making a winter village out of paper. Martha uses paint to decorate her houses and lots of glitter. You can use cereal boxes and other food product boxes for the houses and cover them with leftover wrapping paper instead of paint. For glitter, why not use superfine sugar – it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly!

Martha also offers instructions and a template for making a very simple, and modern-looking village out of coloured file folders. Check around the office to see if there’s any old file folders in the recycling bin you can bring home.

Country Living magazine has instructions as well as templates of a paper village for your mantel.

Other Paper House Template Download Printables

Marilyn Scott-Waters, also known as the Toymaker, has a cutout paper house template that she designed for Habitat for Humanity for you to download and decorate.

Enchanted Learning has a template (and instructions) for making a paper house. The template shows a lot of house details and you may want to print this one on plain card stock and have the kids colour it.

DLTK kids crafts also has a couple of cute house templates.

And, finally, Family Fun has instructions for you to make a gingerbread village out of brown paper bags. These actually look like the real thing. Only drawback, you may have to buy something called puffy paint for the directions.

Have fun!