Christmas Room Box
Deck the Mantle with Christmas Minis
During the Christmas season, room boxes are for the masses -- not just hobbyists. They represent one more way to deck the halls, walls, or mantle. You can use them in your own living room. You can also bring one as a gift to a holiday party, as long as you know the recipient's style of décor. The box itself can be painted, left natural, or, for a whimsical touch, done up like a Christmas package.
What goes inside a miniature room setting? One option is to display a miniature tree, complete with homemade ornaments. Another is to create a mantle with Christmas stockings and perhaps some cookies for Saint Nick. That works well in a small shadow box of the sort that lacks a lot of depth. (You can see my room setting there in the photo, but not the actual frame -- I couldn't use it because I kept getting an image of myself and my camera reflected back in the glass.)
Yet another option is to take a flight of fancy. It doesn't have to be your house, or a contemporary's, that you represent. How about commemorating your heritage or that of a loved one? Then again, you can always drop in on Saint Nick himself and create a little workshop.
Decorating the Miniature Tree
It's not difficult to make your own ornaments
Miniature trees are widely available at hobby shops and even discount stores. It can be a challenge finding ornaments in the right size, however. The best option is sometimes to make your own. Use glass beads, gold seed beads, and fine gold wire. You may want to buy a package of glass beads that has a theme: Victorian colors, for instance, or pears. This will give your work unity.
If you buy the type of tree that's sold at Michael's -- a sturdy little affair -- you can use 8 mm beads and standard size seed beads. If you go with a smaller dollhouse scale tree, you'll want petite seed beads and glass beads somewhat smaller than 8mm.
Two beads: one representing the Christmas ball, the other the rim. Put the seed bead on top of the round bead. Double a small piece of wire and bring both ends through both holes. There should be a small loop at the top -- big enough to hand the ornament on a little bough. Coil the ends of your wire around the bottom hole; the wire should not be too obvious, but should keep the loop from slipping through the hole.
Video: Make a Miniature Angel
This tiny angel -- a bit larger than your thumbnail -- can make a miniature mantle display or a Christmas tree showpiece. It uses basic jewelry making materials including crystal beads, eye pins, and an earring backing.
The word miniature can mean so many different things when it comes to Christmas trees and décor. If you're ordering something online, make sure you know the size. A one inch item would represent a foot in traditional dollhouse scale.
I've been on the lookout for items that are pretty close to dollhouse scale -- or at least could work in a small scale setting. Some represent tree ornaments and others, the toys under the (tiny) tree.
Creating and Salvaging Miniatures
You can appropriate miniatures from many places. Christmas cards and gift tags can be cut from catalogs. Tiny dolls, bears, and musical instruments can be bought in the Christmas section of craft stores or drug stores -- you might even want to hit the after Christmas sales to be ready for next year.
The jewelry department is another potential source of small treasures. Use jewelry findings to make candle holders... and more musical instruments. If you rub on metallic stencil cream, it can give your little clarinet a softer and more muted appearance.
As for Christmas stockings, you may want to make your own. The one you see here is glued, not stitched. What makes good goodies to go inside? Fimo or salt dough.
Home and Hearth - Elegant Burgundy Fireplace Garland
Miniature fireplaces come in a variety of styles. Some you can paint yourself. Whatever style you opt for, you will want to make sure there's room for stockings -- unless you use some other elegant décor, like this fireplace garland. The mantle is sold separately, but it's not an expensive investment. You can buy one for as little as $5.00 on Amazon.
Video: Christmas Room Setting in a Suitcase
Can't decide between a miniature Christmas tree and a a fireplace? How about one on each side of a little suitcase or vintage lunch box? You don't have to invest a lot -- you might find just what you need at the thrift shop.
The scale here is a little larger than the traditional dollhouse scale of 1:12. In the world of Christmas minis, you may find this scale easier to work with. That's because there are a lot of ready-made items available. (Think Hallmark minis.)
Christmas Room Box Inspiration
Here you find miniatures settings to suit a variety of tastes. You can recapture your past... or celebrate the color pink... or...
- Recreating a German Christmas
This heirloom see-through Christmas room box recreates a German Christmas circa the 1950s -- quite an elaborate piece to commemorate a nation left behind.
- Homemade Room Box
More than a dozen pictures of a homemade room box complete with winding staircase.
- Decoupage Christmas Room Box
An elegant little box on Flickr.
- Room Box How-to
Visit this Blogspot blog to see pictures of a little Christmas room setting at various stages of completion. (It was given as a gift to the maker's parents.)
- Pink Christmas Room Box
Delicious in pink with rosettes on the Christmas tree!.. and lots of baked goodies.