Dept 56 Village: Design Tips
I've become an avid fan of the Dept 56 village collections. I have a nice collection of buildings and pieces for the Dickens Village which I make into a realistic looking diorama. My wife has a North Pole collection with the complete set of "SANTA" buildings from 2005. She also has two buildings from the Christmas in the City collection. Anyway, each year my diorama gets bigger and more complex. In 2006 we bought a house that has a great room with a fireplace on the south wall. This wall is huge and on either side of the fireplace are cubby holes for stereo equipment. Below these are cubby holes with windows. This is where my diorama will be set up from now on. Check out the galleries to see the pictures from each years setup. I have a lot of ideas for setting up my villages so I thought I'd better make some notes on what I planned and what I really did. The fun of doing this is in the design and building of the diaorama, which means the structure the village sits on, the layout of buildings, plants, walls and trails and so forth.
- 2006 Design Overview
- Creating hidden display lighting
- Howto accurately position grains of sand, snow or other small particles
- Buy the foam insulation board used for walls from Home Depot or Lowes. It's a lot cheaper (and you can get much larger pieces) than getting foam board from Michael's or other craft stores.
- Lighting: I currently use a lot of Lemax spot lights (Dept 56 no longer makes these) but the 4 light sets shut off when they get hot (after about an hour) while the two light sets seem to be okay. However, in 2008 I had great luck using a string of 30 LED lights I purchased from a hobby store. The lights were very small and I could simply align them down a thin channel in the styrofoam base, placing grass mats, trees, roads and figures around them. Next year, I'll probably use nothing but these LED lights (if I can find more small sets – like 15 count – of them).
Most of the tricks and ideas I had while creating my village displays are now included as captions on the photos in the galleries. You'll need to browse the galleries to get to the captions. Use the PicLens option. It displays the captions in the upper right, making it easier to read them without having to scroll on large photos. Galleries The galleries include (at present) photos that are rotated. My apologies for that. I'll try to fix that at some point in the future.
- 2010 – Dickens Village and North Pole Series finds a new home
- 2009 – Dickens Village 2
- 2008 – Dickens Village and setup
- 2007 – Dickens Village and setup
- 2006 – Dickens Village and North Pole Series (along with other holiday images)
- Houses: Dickens Village an Dickens Christmas Carol Series
- Houses: North Pole Series
- Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim
- The Big Prize Turkey
- Holiday Quintet
- The Coffee Stall
- Making Wonderful Music
- Royal Coach
- Father Christmas's Journey
- Until We Meet Again
- Advertising A Reading By Mr. Dickens
- Members of Parliament
- Ghost of Christmas Present Visits Scrooge
- Get Your Spices 'Ere
- Christmas Carol Christmas Morning Figures (only the man waving his hat)
- 2009 Additions
- Non-character accessories
Other sites with useful tips: