Sierra Hill – Villageville

A vertical Christmas village display.

By Mike Melius

Sierra Hill was designed with a space-saving mindset.  
What if you DON’T have floor space for a horizontal layout? Go vertical.


Create your own village display
department 56 base


It can be set up anywhere in a 3’x3′ square space.  I worked from a rough idea and just kept at it, forming this, shaping that til I got the desired look, always keeping in mind the buildings I wanted to use and how their spacial requirements would dictate just how whimsical I could get.


Department 56 Model Railroad
DIY Department 56 Village base


It is the perfect way to display your favorite buildings in a spiral setting.  Of course, the sheer wall on the Gold Mine side dictated I get even more creative and hence, the scratch built gold mine with its horizontal shafts and one building, embedded in the wall with the dramatic trestle.


Department 56 Christmas village
Department 56 sierra hill


Rounding off the impact were seven waterfalls.
I then added a foam backing, offset 1-1/4″ from the layout and mounted 50 blue, pink and orange mini-lites in-between, positioned to give a sunset effect near the center of the horizon.  Of course, most people under 6′ tall miss this part because of its overall height.

Recommended items for this project:

2″ EPS Foam SheetsFreehand RouterSculpting Tool4″ Hot Knife • Styrogoo Foam Glue