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How To Upcycle Old Book Pages Into A Magical Christmas Village

Do you love a magical Christmas Village displayed for the holidays? If so, you will love this idea to Upcycle Old Book Pages into a unique vintage style, old-world DIY Christmas Village display. You’ll never believe it’s made from inexpensive ceramic Christmas houses from Target. I know you will love this fun old Christmas decor transformation.

Instead of the shiny ceramic Christmas Village, I envisioned thatched roofs and tattered siding homes nestled in a snowy English countryside.

I hope you like my old-world DIY Christmas Village Display.

Ceramic mini houses for holiday decorating

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What is A Christmas Village Display?

The tradition of displaying miniature Christmas Villages began in the 19th century. FW Woolworth began selling paper houses and other items from Germany. Now, there is a wide array of ceramic and porcelain available to collect and create festive Christmas Village settings around your home.

Cardboard, paper, wood, and metal mini-houses are also popular materials, especially for DIY Christmas Village Displays.

Rustic DIY Christmas Village made from upcycled old book pages and gathered twigs

Ceramic Christmas Village

Several years ago, I purchased several ceramic Christmas village houses and buildings from Target. With a more rustic, vintage style this year, I felt the white and black mini-houses didn’t work with my decor. Wishing I had an old-world vintage-style village, I began to reimagine the inexpensive ceramic houses, and here’s what I did.

Supplies - ceramic village and old book pages

DIY Upcycle Old Book Page Christmas Village

Y’all know that I love to upcycle old books into unique styles of home decor. As I was packing the ceramic village away, I realized they could be repurposed by decoupaging them. I knew that by using old book pages and gathered twigs, I could create the cozy English countryside village of my dreams.

Gather Supplies

First, you will need some old book pages that are yellowed with age. If you don’t have a book that’s falling apart, you can use new pages and age them with coffee or tea. I thought about using pinecone scales for the roof but later decided that twigs would give the houses a thatched roof appearance.

Here are the supplies I used to transform these plain ceramic houses.

Decoupage The Mini-Houses

The first step is to decoupage the mini-houses with Mod Podge and the old book pages.

Begin by tearing the old pages into strips approximately 1/2 – 1 inch wide. You should determine the width based on the size of your house.

Apply using a small paint brush to the houses and buildings in small sections at a time. Place the strips of old book pages on the glue area to adhere. Add another coat of Mod Podge over the top of the paper.

Continue to layer the strips of paper, allowing each layer to overlap until the houses are covered.

Note: You will be covering the windows and doors, so take a photo of each building before adding the book pages so that you can locate the openings.

How To Cover The Roof

Now, you are ready to cover the roofs of each Christmas Village mini-house with the same old book pages.

Begin by adding a coat of Mod Podge to the roof and cut the roof shape from the pages.

Brush another coat of glue over the top of the paper after it is applied.

Insider’s Tip

When decoupaging with old book pages, I found that you want to saturate the pages with lots of Mod Podge. Apply a liberal coat on the surface of the tiny houses, and then apply another generous coat over the top. You want the paper to absorb a lot of glue so that it doesn’t peel away from the village houses.

Be sure to cover all surfaces, including the chimneys and church steeple, with the decoupage.

How To Cut Out Windows and Doors

Once you have all the pieces covered in decoupage and the paper is dry, you can begin to cut out the doors and windows.

This was a trial and error-process for me, and I tried two different techniques. Plus, I had a little problem.

First, I couldn’t find my exacto knife, and I was ready to open those doors and windows. So, I found a sharp utility knife in Brad’s stash and used it. I think the project would have gone much better if I had used an exacto knife, but as I’m very impatient, the box cutter did the trick.

The second issue was the excess glue got into the openings as I was brushing the Mod Podge. Although the outside of the Christmas Village was dry, the areas inside were still filled with wet glue.

Using the box cutter, I opened the areas while the glue was wet. It was very messy, and I had glue all over my hands.

After a few were finished, I decided to let them dry overnight.

The next day, I began with the utility knife and found that although it wasn’t as messy, it was actually harder to cut the openings with the glue dry. With the Mod Podge dry, it was necessary to scrap the insides of the openings to remove the build-up.

However, it all worked, and I really wish I could find my exacto knife. LOL

cut out windows and doors after the mod podge dries

Add Paint To DIY Christmas Village Display

You may or may not need to complete this next step for your DIY Christmas Village Display.

The ceramic Christmas Village is white, and once the doors and windows were open, I didn’t like the white with the old book pages. Therefore, I used black craft paint to cover the white area just inside each opening.

Using a very small paintbrush, apply black paint. Since the Christmas Village is rustic, I didn’t worry if the paint got on the paper.

In addition, you can add paint to the chimney top and paint lines to look like brick if you choose.

Paint chimney on mini houses in the Christmas Village Settings ideas.

How To Add A Thatched Twig Roof

Finally, you are ready to add the twig roof to the DIY Christmas Village Display.

Gather several twigs in a variety of sizes. You will want to cut them to size as you go.

I wanted the roof to have a good overhang, so I let the twigs extend beyond the roof edge.

Add twigs to roofs of DIY Christmas Village Display

To apply, add a bead of hot glue to the area you are adding the twigs. It’s best to apply the glue one piece at a time, as it dries very quickly.

To avoid injury, I recommend wearing finger protectors.

Continue adding twigs until the roof lines are covered. Save some of the smaller twigs to fill any gaps between the twigs.

Add twigs to roofs of DIY Christmas Village Display for a rustic Christmas Village Ideas

Optional Snowy Roof

If you would like to add a snowy look to your DIY Christmas Village Display, you can add some white glitter.

First, brush the twig roof with Elmer’s Glue and then sprinkle with glitter.

You can add as much glitter as you desire. Once you are finished sprinkling glitter, turn the houses over and shake the excess onto your prepared surface. You can add the excess glitter back to the container.

Another option for adding snow is to use this DIY Faux Snow Technique.

Christmas Village Display Ideas

Now that you have your magical Christmas Village upcycled, let’s look at some display ideas.

Where would be the perfect spot for your transformed Christmas Village setting? Here are a few Christmas Village Display Ideas and places where I tested my rustic village.

First, I added a few bottle brush trees and added the village to an oval wooden tray on my entry table.

DIY Christmas Village Display Idea on a oval wooden tray. Transforming old Christmas Decor.

The Christmas Village turned out just as I imagined it. However, when I tried to add snow to the tray, it wasn’t working for me.

DIY Christmas Village Settings for a rustic upcycled Holiday Decoration

I love the simplicity of the display without the snow and considered leaving it here.

DIY Christmas Village Display Idea on a oval wooden tray.  Old Christmas Decor Transformation.

DIY Christmas Village Display in a Cabinet

Next, I thought the village would look lovely in my dining room cabinet. Mixed with vintage ironstone, I knew it fit right in.

However, the space was a little tight, and the visibility was low in this corner of the house. I didn’t want the Christmas Village to disappear this season.

DIY Christmas Village Settings for a rustic upcycled Holiday Decoration in a dining room cabinets

A Small Table Christmas Village Setting

So, I brought the Christmas Village front and center in the living room, right in front of our new DIY faux fireplace mantel.

What better place to show off this fun new project?

Upcycled Old Book Pages for a Rustic DIY Christmas Village Display Setting. Old Christmas decor transformation.

The table is a perfect size for the DIY Christmas Village Display, and it’s sure to get all the attention it deserves in this spot. So what do you think? Would you leave it here?

Upcycled Old Book Pages for a Rustic DIY Christmas Village Display Setting.Unique transformation of holiday decor.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this transformation, and I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

Yield: 1

Upcycle Old Book Pages for A Rustic Christmas Village Display

Upcycle Old Book Pages for A Rustic Christmas Village Display

Use inexpensive ceramic Christmas Village mini houses to create a magical Rustic Village Display using old book page decoupage


  • old book pages
  • twigs
  • ceramic houses and buildings
  • glitter
  • mod podge
  • black craft paint


  • Exacto Knife
  • Hot Glue Gun


  1. Cover ceramic houses with decoupaged old book pages
  2. Cut the windows and doors out with exacto knife
  3. Paint insides of windows and doors with black craft paint
  4. Use hot glue to attach twigs to the roofs
  5. Add glue to twigs and sprinkle with glitter for a snowy effect.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


See all my favorite craft supplies, plus gift guides for everyone on your list. Click the images below.

Other Old Book Page Craft Ideas

Here are some additional Old Book Page Crafts you may enjoy.

Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

DIY Christmas Village Ideas for a rustic old world holiday. Unique repurposed Christmas decor transformation.


Monday 11th of December 2023

This is pretty amazing. Pinned!


Monday 11th of December 2023

Cheryl, I'm so glad you like it. Thanks for stopping by.

Terri T

Sunday 10th of December 2023

This is so cute Rachel! The directions and tips look easy to follow. Although I’m set for this year I pinned this for my, “must do next year.” Hoping to find some little villages on sale after the holidays to give me a head start! Merry Christmas from “near the pier” in Kure Beach.


Monday 11th of December 2023

Terri, I'm glad you like them. We are coming down after Christmas for New Years. Hoping to hang out near the pier for the beach ball drop.


Monday 4th of December 2023

I just signed up. Can't wait to see what's in store for me. I did spell my name wrong. I don't know how to fix that. It's supposed to be spelled Elsie. It got spelled Else instead. So sorry. Can it be fixed?


Wednesday 6th of December 2023

@Rachel, ok, thank you


Monday 4th of December 2023

Elsie, I'm showing it as Elsie so no worries. Welcome, I'm so excited to have you following along.


Sunday 3rd of December 2023

This is such a great project!


Monday 4th of December 2023

Kristin, I'm so glad you like it. Thank you.


Sunday 3rd of December 2023

Rachel as always your village is thought provoking and "Why didn't I think of that!" It's charming and I love it on the white table. Sprinkle the table with a bit of cinnamon. It will smell good and create just a bit more contrast.


Sunday 3rd of December 2023

Shelley, Thank you and I appreciate the idea.

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