Now that the Robin’s Nest contest is over, I thought I would show you some of the things that went into making Elfville. It involved more than a solid month of work. Phew! Would I do such a large project again? Probably not…especially since I can’t find a place in my home big enough to display Elfville (without displacing all the other vintage collections I have).
I have to be honest, amidst the flurry of getting this project done, I didn’t take enough how-to-make photos. So instead of individual tutorials, which would become tedious to read, I am going to give you an overall glimpse of how things were made.
As you can see from the photos, most of the structures began their lives as cereal boxes.
The trickiest part of the houses was adding the roof. The roof of The North Sole shoe shop, nearly drove me to elficidal rage.
One of the trickiest structures to make was the Toy Factory. Here are some of the pieces that went into it.
Eventually it turned into this.
Another tricky structure was the Candy Cane Club.
I made each step individually and covered each one in white duct tape.
The most difficult part of all was creating the stairs and then finding a way to attach the stairs to the tower in an aesthetically appealing way. One method I tried was painting a paper towel tube red and then adding white stripes. I tried painting the stripes and taping the stripes with strips of duct tape. Both the painted white stripes and the torn duct tape looked too messy.
Eventually, I came up with my final solution, which was to cover an entire tube with white duct tape and then use narrow red Washi tape for the stripes. I then attached each individual step, one by one, to the tower.
Elfville’s tree was made from squares of Robin’s Nest Paper hot glued to a paper mache base.
First, I used tin foil to form the basic tree shape. Then I covered the foil in masking tape so that the paper mache would stick to it.
Then I applied the paper mache, let it dry and attached the red ornament.
I made the town’s Hot Chocolate Water Tower from an oatmeal container.
I used chipboard to create the legs, and attached old hardware pieces to form the faucet. I distressed the legs with ink and added lettering to the tower. I made the roof by creating a simple cone and used a toilet paper roll as the base for the toasted marshmallow. You might think the toasted marshmallow would be easy, but it took many, many tries to get it right.
I also used an oatmeal container to create Phairbanks. Phairbanks is the North Pole’s mechanical counterpoint to the the mythical Phoenix. Phairbanks is a giant mechanical bird who uses its immense power and size to manufacture the Northern Lights for all the world to see.
I wish I had taken more pictures of the process of creating Phairbanks, since it was complex. I first got the idea from Blue Dragon Designs, who used an oatmeal container to create a circus box. I cut two symmetrical rectangles on each side of the container. Then I drilled seven holes in a vertical row also on each side of the container.
To make each wing, I used a hot knife to cut the top portion of the wing from a clear plastic dinner plate. I sprayed this with a frosted glass paint. Then I cut a matching piece from white cardstock for the base. I glued the sides and outer wing together. Next, I covered the wires of a battery set of Christmas lights with white duct tape and inserted several lights into each wing, and placed the battery pack inside Phairbanks. I attached the remaining lights to the base of straws in order to create the light beams.
I used a second set of battery-operated lights and placed one light in each of the drilled holes.
I obtained a large lid from Starbucks, which they were nice enough to give me since I never grew up enough to drink coffee. I cut a round base that matched the outside of Phairbanks, added a center hole for the straws and hot glued this in place. I added icicles from the Robin’s Nest and additional glitter glue to this removable lid.
When I was in the planning stages of Elfville back in September, I spotted this toy ferris wheel at a garage sale and knew it would be a good addition. I covered the plastic wheel and roller coaster in Robin’s Nest paper. This was a lot harder than it sounds and I was not entirely happy with the results. If I had to do it over again, I would create the wheel from scratch.
I used a slightly different technique for Dasher’s Diner in that it was the only structure for which I did not create a back.
The serving windows have lots of nice details including a roast turkey dinner (because in Elfville, that is mandatory fast food), pitchers of hot chocolate and candy canes.
My love for mid-century design is apparent in the Dasher’s Diner sign.