DIYdiy projectskate pruitt

diy project: kate’s wooden village

by Grace Bonney

wooden village
i purchased these miniature birdhouses from the craft store about six months ago, because they were so adorable and i knew i would eventually come up with a use for them. voila! a miniature wooden village for my mantel during the holiday season. i already had some lights lying around, so i went and purchased some fresh cedar garland to complete the vignette. this takes mere minutes to set up, and the best part is that you can decorate these birdhouses in a million different ways: paint, wood stain, markers, paper, glitter, decoupage, stamps, stickers, moss, to name a few… i like the simple scandinavian feel of the plain wood for now, but i will definitely be trying out some different decorations on my little village in the future. have fun!!! – kate

CLICK HERE for kate’s full how-to after the jump!

wooden village materials

1. small wooden birdhouses (available at michaels and other craft stores or online)
2. drill with a 3/8″ drill bit.
3. small strand lights (i recommend LCD lights for these, but you can use the standard indoor mini bulbs as well)
4. fresh garland (available at most large hardware stores and plant/outdoor supply stores during the holidays)
5. low temp glue gun (optional)


birdhouses: $2.00 each
lights: $2.00
garland: $5.16 for 4 feet


30 minutes (maybe less!)


1. take your birdhouses and drill one hole in the back of each one with the drill. the hole should be placed away from the front window opening so that the bulb will not be directly visible. if you will be looking down on the houses, place the bulb above the window if possible. if you are placing the houses high above you, place the hole below the window if possible.

wooden village process

2. lay out your garland and place a rough composition of your houses.

3. un-string the lights and plug them in to check that they work. you can leave all bulbs lit and spread them throughout the garland so that they twinkle within the greens, or you can deliberately place burnt out bulbs in the sockets between the houses so you do not see any lights except through the house windows. just make sure your whole chain will still illuminate if you have burnt out bulbs in it.

4. plug in your garland and begin working across your vignette, poking on light bulb through the back of each house in the hole you created, and then scattering and concealing the rest of the wire within the garland. if you can’t get the houses to stay put the way you want them to, try putting a dab of hot glue on the base and gluing it to the garland branch, or use a small piece of double stick tape to stick it your surface.

5. plug in! your houses should glow with activity! you can now adjust the house position or the lights in the houses to make sure you don’t see any direct bulbs through the house windows. you could also solve this problem by taping a small piece of transparent paper inside the house behind the window to create a frosty windowpane! the bulbs are low temp enough that you should not have any fire concerns, but this is also why i recommend the LED lights.


wood village detail

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  • I love this! I, too, saw these little birdhouses at the craft store months ago. I think I actually had three or four in my basket and then decided to put them back b/c I didn’t have a plan for them. This is perfect. I would use a little paint and some glitter…

  • too cute! I love this, and i really like them plain and simple the way they are.

    I had actually just purchased larger versions of these to hang on our nursery walls!

  • I saw these too and bought a whole bunch and they are now hanging from my tree. I love how you used them!

  • this is one of those “why didnt I think of that” moments…its so simple and cute and achieves that martha stewart village look ive been wanting to do for years but I dont have the time to intricately carve out 1000 windows and glitter everything in the most expensive glitter in the world (im talking about marthas beautiful glitter at Micheals, which I spend around 80 dollars last christmas on to glitter snow flakes)….

    these birdhouses get the same look and the last much longer.

  • I bought the same birdhouses for a party craft for my four-year-old’s “tea party.” I cut cute, graphic card weight paper to the various shapes of the sides (and roofs) of the houses. I gave them each a coat of white craft paint first, and then the girls glued on the paper themselves. We added little feathered birds and clip-on butterflies to some. So cute. I added my daughter’s birdhouses to the top corners of her curtain rods and she has a few on her bookshelf as well. We love them!

  • I bought several last year at Joann’s. They have been hanging out on a shelf in my sewing room waiting for inspiration. Thanks for the great idea! Love it!

  • Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really realise what you are talking
    approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my website =).
    We can have a link exchange contract among us

  • I took this idea one or two steps further. I painted the entire house white. It took a couple of coats and then I put an extra thick coat on the roof and sprinkle with silver glitter. Whe it dried it resembled frost. They were beautiful.