Scandinavian Village Scrap Wood Houses

Save the offcuts - they make the cutest Scandinavian Village Scrap Wood Houses! When building the rustic farmhouse wood frame for our dining room earlier this year I noticed the pile of offcuts scattered about the sawdust-filled floor. Looking at those angles I was reminded of the wooden Christmas villages that are so popular during the holidays.



Once that seed was planted, you know I couldn't let that lumber go to waste. Fast forward several months later to our November Int'l Bloggers Club Christmas challenge and finally, I get to play with those pieces of scrap wood.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Rustic Scrap Wood Scandinavian Village

Today is our last challenge of 2020 as we'll be taking a break in December but we have some unique ideas in store for 2021. If you haven't heard of our Int'l Bloggers Club, we are a group of blogging friends from around the globe who come together on the third Monday of every month to share a themed DIY project.



We have members from Spain, South Africa, Australia, the USA, and Canada. We're excited to introduce you to our newest member, Meegan from the USA who blogs over at What Meegan Makes. Please give her a warm welcome and you'll find her Christmas project along with the other members further down in the post. Last month our challenge was Halloween where I repurposed a figurine display shelf into a Spooktacular Miniature Diorama.



Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to make the Scrap Wood Christmas Village, almost all of the DIY projects shared here at Interior Frugalista have step-by-step tutorials so why not get your budget DIY on and subscribe. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.



This is the pile of scraps I found on the floor - do you see the Scandi house potential?



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Those angles were just waiting to become a rustic Christmas village!



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Once we decorate, the Nordic village will welcome guests in our front entry. To add ambiance I decided to backlight the village and have it on a set and forget timer.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Let's take a closer look at the Scandi Christmas houses and trees, shall we? Scandinavian wooden houses have a simple, minimalist look that focuses on shapes like circles, hearts, trees, and stars. Typically the traditional colors are red, green, yellow, blue, gold, and silver.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

I chose to go neutral with a pop of traditional red and green. Because this is a keeper, the traditional yellows and blues don't go with my Christmas decor but red (my favorite color) sure does.



Perfection is not the goal when making Nordic-style houses because the charm is in the hand-painted style. You'll notice I have holes cut out in each house so the light will reflect from the back.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

The new lumber houses have been aged and distressed for rustic charm.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

How To Make A Simple Nordic Wooden Christmas Village

The salvaged lumber used to make the village is fence boards left over from the farmhouse mirror in our dining room. The tallest building in my village is the church which stands 12-inches tall and the tallest house stands 7 1/2-inches tall.

The wooden houses are mounted on a white 34-inch long by 3 1/2-inch deep MDF board, which works with the cabinet the village will be sitting on. You can make your village as long or short as you like plus you can change the scale of the buildings to what suits your home best.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Cut The Scrap Wood Into Houses

The boards will likely need to be trimmed into the appropriate angles and heights for your display. To cut the boards we used a sliding compound miter saw.

Once the houses AND trees (not pictured above) are cut you'll want to sand the rough edges with 150 grit sandpaper.



Staining The Scrap Wood Houses

This step is completely optional, staining them first will provide a rustic base for the paint. If rustic is not the look you're going for then move onto the next step to just paint your houses instead. The houses are stained with a water-based gel stain by Dixie Belle Paint Company that I had on hand in the color Tobacco Road and the trees with Bayou Moss.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

The nice thing about using a water-based stain is that it dries fast and you can paint right over it with a chalky or latex paint.



Painting The Scrap Wood Houses

I use three different paint techniques for the houses as follows...


Dry Brush Technique

Once the stain is dry dip just the tips of a paintbrush into white paint. I used Behr Chalk Decorative Paint in the color Tin White that I had on hand. Dab the excess paint onto a paper towel - hence the term drybrush. With little pressure swipe the brush in one long brushstroke with the grain of the wood. You want the paint to hit just the surface of the rough wood.


Paint Wash Technique

The red houses are painted with red chalky paint thinned to a milk-like consistency that I had on hand. Apply just one coat of color over the stain giving it just a wash of color. You can see how the brown stain is showing through the paint.


Wet Distress Technique

The church is painted with the same white paint but before it dries it is distressed with a lint-free rag to remove the paint in some areas.


How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Pro-Tip

If you want this project to move along quicker use a blow dryer or heat gun set on low to speed up the paint drying process.



Painting Windows And Doors

Time to draw doors and windows on the houses. Instead of free-handing them, make some window and door templates with cardboard (pictured above). It's so much easier this way! Trace the templates with a pencil and go over the pencil lines with oil-based Sharpie markers in white and black. Once the Sharpie ink is dry use small artist brushes and acrylic craft paint to fill in the doors and window panes.



Distressing The Painted Houses

This step is optional if you'd like your houses to have time-worn charm. Once the paint is dry distress them with 220-grit sandpaper. You can see the difference between the house on the top (pictured in step 5 above) that hasn't been distressed and the undistressed one on the bottom.



Adding Some Sparkle With Faux Snow

I had planned on using Snow-Tex to add freshly fallen snow to the tops of the houses. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough nor could I find any at local stores. So instead I used a small artist-fan brush to paint wispy snow with white craft paint. Once it was dry I brushed over the wisps with Mod Podge and sprinkled them with white glitter. I love how it added some sparkle to the houses!



Drilling Holes In The Scrap Wood Houses

Now it's time to drill holes into each house for the light to shine through (pictured in step 1 below). If you don't plan on backlighting your village, then move onto the next step. With Forstner drill bits drill holes into the circles. On the church, I use a small drill bit to drill holes in a circular pattern at the top of the steeple.



Adding Snow To The Wood Board

Also optional is adding glitter to the front of the board (pictured below in step 2) to look like snow. Applied the same way as the snow peaks on the houses with Mod Podge and glitter. First, run a piece of painter's tape 1-inch from the edge of the board. This will also provide a clear line for where to line up the houses when mounting them on the board.



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Mounting The Village Onto The Wood Board

Set the board upright on the worktable so the bottom is facing towards you (see step 3 above). Lay the houses and trees down on the worktable and line them up how you want them mounted on the board. Draw two pencil marks per house on the bottom of the board to mark where they will be attached with screws.



Drill a small pilot hole in each pencil mark and then use a countersink drill bit so the screw heads are recessed into the base. Drill small wood screws into each hole so they pierce through the top of the board (pictured in step 3 above). Press each house firmly up to the board and tighten the screws into the bottom of each house and tree. Go slowly with the drill during this process and hold tight onto the house.



Lighting The Scrap Wood Houses

These are the LED lights I used to backlight the village. I found the cute pine cone lights at the dollar store for $3. They come ten on a strand, just the right amount of lights for the houses. Plus I don't mind if you can see them behind the houses at center angles because they're so darn cute!



How to build a Scandinavian Village with rustic charm, an inexpensive Christmas decor idea for a fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber.

Alternatively, you could use small fairy lights, a short strand of white LED lights, or battery-operated tea lights instead. The only drawback to tea lights is that you'll have to manually turn each one on. Ideally having lights with a timer function provides a convenient set and forget light function. 



Staple the lights so they rest just beneath the holes on the houses so the light reflects through them. Find the optimal placement for the lights and staple them onto the back of the houses. Be careful not to pierce through the wires.



That's it, you now have a cute Nordic style alpine village to enjoy during the holidays. But it could be enjoyed after the holidays too as winter decor. Resting miniature skis and ski poles against some of the houses would be so cute too.



Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today. I hope you were inspired by the handmade Christmas village. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!



If you enjoyed this Christmas village display idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your DIY Christmas ideas or Scrap Wood Christmas Projects board on Pinterest.




How to build a rustic Scandinavian Village back lit with lights for a Christmas fireplace mantel with salvaged scrap wood lumber. An inexpensive DIY Christmas decor idea with Nordic Alpine charm. #scrapwoodhouses #scrapwoodvillage

Now let's see what my talented friend's made for our Halloween challenge by clicking the links below.


Int'l Bloggers Club Christmas 2020 Challenge - Interior Frugalista

Steampunk Christmas Tree - Unique Creations By Anita

Bottle Light Swappable Art Insert - A Crafty Mix

DIY Christmas Sleigh Decor - Birdz Of A Feather

Scandinavian Village Scrap Wood Houses - Interior Frugalista

Easy Wooden Farmhouse Christmas Ornaments - Raggedy Bits

Vintage Style Christmas Wreath - What Meegan Makes



I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.



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Comments

  1. Wow Marie, your village looks magical. It's beautifully lit and just the right amount of sparkle! I may have missed it, but how did you do the backdrop? Is it chalkboard?

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    1. Thanks so much, Sara! Yes, the backdrop is a chalkboard that I stenciled with a chalk pen just for the photos. The village is moving to our front entryway this week where it will sit on a cabinet under a large mirror.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Larissa! I think I'm going to leave this village up throughout the winter.

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  3. I think every home needs a little village like this Marie. All the little houses and the church are so precious and the lighting in the background just add to the whole story. Beautifully done.

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle! I put the village in our front entry last night and it looks so good both by day and night all lit up. Now it needs Meegan's village wreath to hang on the mirror above it. LOL

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  4. Marie, these are all so adorable. I love how you have put them together on the stand with the lights. I am the same as you, I can't throw away scraps of wood. 🤣🤣

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    1. Thank you so much, Anita! You are a girl after my own heart that sees everything has potential, even the scraps of wood on the floor.

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  5. I think the thing I miss most about lockdown is craft shows and bazaars this time of year. Having done shows for over 35 years, I always found wonderful gifts and decor from fellow artisans. I easily would have picked up your sweet village. Northern Denmark is filled with golden yellow homes with red tile roofs, or white cottages trimmed in beautiful copen blue...so many red doors, a photo op everywhere. Very cute idea, and certainly easy for almost anyone---hugs, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. I miss the craft shows this year too Sandi, I love buying handmade items made by local artisans. I'm glad you like my handmade village! I thought about going full on traditional by adding yellows and blues, even had the paint on the worktable. But because this village is a keeper, those colors don't work with my Christmas decor. So I stuck with neutrals and pops of red (my favorite color). I set the village up in our front entry last night and it looks so pretty - I'm very pleased.

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  6. You are SO sweet with the warm welcome. I am excited to be a part of this talented group.
    I have been wanting to make a village like this for so long. Thanks for the tutorial!
    Have a really nice December, Marie!

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    1. Meegan, my Scandi Village needs your Scandi Wreath hanging above it! Seriously, you've got the old gears turning in my head on how to make one.

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  7. Just darling, Marie! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

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    1. Thank you Kim! I put it in our entry last night and love it so much.

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  8. Love your creativity and this gave me an idea :-) I'm thinking I should make some Animal Crossing homes to place over our fire place.

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  9. These are absolutely adorable, Marie! Love them, and love how you backlit them to display. Great tutorial, too. Pinned!

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    1. Thank you very much, Lora, I'm glad you like it! I'm so pleased with how it turned out and it looks so good in front entry. So glad I intercepted that pile of lumber before it went in the firepit. P.S. thanks for the pin too BTW.

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  10. Oh Marie this is so cute. I love the Nordic design. I think we all need a little nordic village in our homes. Super cute. xoxo Kris

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    1. I'm glad you like it Kris! I'm so pleased with how it turned out and it looks so cute in our front entrance both during the day and lit up at night. It's an ode to my husband's Swedish heritage.

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  11. I am crazy about miniature houses. Your little village is ADORABLE !! Completely in love with it.
    Thank you for joining Meraki Link Party. We hope to see you again.
    Naush

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  12. oh I just love all kinds of little houses and these are totally adorable! great use of "extras"! Happy Weekend!

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    1. Thank you very much, Debra, it was such fun making this little village display! Happy Weekend to you as well 😀

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  13. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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  14. Marie,
    OMG, you are so creative. I love these houses. Congratulations, you are being featured at Over The Moon Linky Party. I hope you stop by. https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2020/12/over-moon-linky-party.html
    Hugs,
    Bev

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    1. Thank you so much, Bev, both for the sweet comment and the feature! xo

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  15. Marie,
    How I'd love to be an elf and join you in your workshop! This Scandinavian scrap wood village is adorable! I am most certainly going to be adding some of these cute buildings to my decor. You are indeed frugal but mostly creative and talented. You have VISION!

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    1. You made my Sunday "unknown", thank you for your sweet comments! And have fun making your Scandi houses.

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