Creating a Christmas Light-Up Brownstone Village: A DIY Masterpiece!

Creating a Christmas Light-Up Brownstone Village: A DIY Masterpiece!
New Yorker

Growing up there was always something magical about The New Yorker Christmas cartoon covers. Brownstones in New York covered in snow with us, the viewer, peaking into the windows uncovering the holiday scenes inside.

Inspired by those holiday moments, grab a cereal box (yes you heard us right) and let's make the most magnificent holiday light box you've ever seen! Best part is, it doesn't have to stop there. After making this first one, you can make as many as you want creating a whole holiday village with an item (a cereal box) that was about to go in the trash. 



1. Download Time for Art Holiday Download Pack

2. Print the Gray Stone templates from your email and watch our step-by-step video tutorial.

Grey Stone Building

3. Paint gesso on a giant “Post” cereal box. Allow to dry.

4. Cut and line up the window and door with the other rows of windows. Cut and tape together so that the image would fit on the front facade of the cereal box.

5. Transfer the image you just put together onto the front facade of the cereal box. The box should be upside down. Use either graphite paper or make your own by rubbing graphite on the back of the outline. Apply pressure with a writing utensil to the front side of the lines of outline and the graphite will transfer to the gesso surface.

6. Cut out the insides of at least 7 windows. We provide 7 window illustrations. If you would like to do more, we send some blank ones too! Cut as many as you would like to create scenes for.

7. Transfer the windows and door to lightweight cardboard. I used both chip board from the back of a legal pad and a lightweight box. Transfer the windows, door, horizontal pieces, and roof piece. Cut pieces out. They do not need to be perfect! I was going for a hand drawn illustrative look and used kitchen scissors. The windows need to be open and I left the door shut.

8. Attach the windows and door to the corresponding image you transferred to the box with hot glue. I first tried superglue and switched to hot glue. You can use whatever you have!

9. Paint the entire box outside with a single acrylic paint color. I wanted to make mine look like a chicago gray stone building but it can be any color. Allow to dray.

10. Paint your window scenes with watered down acrylic paint. This is best on lightweight printer paper. Allow to dry and cut them out on the outside line.

11. Using strong tape, apply on 4 sides, sticky side facing up allowing overhang over the four edges of the window scenes. Tuck the paper with the tape into the box and adhere it to the underside of the window openings. There is a good demonstration of this in the video. Make sure the tape stays on the outer perimeter frame so that it doesn’t interfere with the light that will go in the box. Do this for all of your scenes.

12. Using watered down acrylic paint, in the recessed regions paint a darker color and the protruding regions paint a lighter color. This texture painting will show the dimensionality of the sculpture and lend to the aged stone look.

13. Outline some of your big lines with a marker. We used an acrylic paint marker. This will give the craft an illustration quality.

14. We painted my door to look like an oak door. You can use anything color you would like for your door. 15. If you would like to make snow, mix white paint with baking soda to create a gritty heavy body snow texture. Apply with a palette knife or we used a cheese knife in my demonstration. Allow to dry.

16. Trim the lid part of your box at the bottom and display with LED lights in the inside.

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