Village Display Tips
By Leigh Gieringer
Author of Village Display Tips books
Producer of Village Display DVDs
Displays look best if there are several elevations. Make them with several different widths of EPS foam. After using the Sculpting Tool to carve the foam, a light spray of water-based black paint can be used to lightly cover the white styrene material. In this example brown paint was also added for highlights. Cans of water-based spray paint are found at craft stores. Don't use an acetate based paint found in a home improvement store, as it will dissolve the surface.
The featured buildings are from Dickens' All Hallow's Eve. Many of the same techniques can be found in Halloween: 101. Background hills featured in Halloween: 101 can be painted black to emphasize the time of day and the detail in front of them. The display doesn't have to be Halloween oriented to use this technique effectively. Any sunset display can also use this technique as seen in the autumn quadrant of Village Vignettes.
The Scroll Table was used to form this bridge. After it was drawn on a two-inch thick piece of foam, it was etched with the short pointed Engraving Tool. Because it has a short point, it is held like a pencil, thus when it is used to draw, it offers a tighter control to sketch cobblestones, bricks and other stone patterns. The tape shows a very effective technique to make the stones look more real. The stones can be painted in natural tones or brightly colored hues for the North Pole or blackened Halloween displays. Complete instructions can be found in the Village Vignettes video. Other types of bridges are created in the Creating Large Displays video.
The Scroll Table and Engraving Tool were used to create the background arches and brick patterns. Because it is a North Pole display, the structure was left white. If used in other villages, the structure can be painted like the bridge in the previous photo. Instructions can be found in the Creating Large Displays video which uses the Sculpting Tool.
The mountains were created with the Freehand Router with inch-and-a-half foam to provide interest and dimension to the background. Shaping is the result of directional cutting and hand manipulation. Although the picture is from the Creating Large Displays video, the technique can be found in the Village Vignettes video which uses the Sculpting Tool.
Acetone paints can be used on foam if used properly. This gray FlexStone paint makes a perfect street for the city, but be careful to apply it correctly. The Hot Knife was used to cut the background in this Village Vignettes St. Patrick's Day Display.