Printable Model Paving and Miniature Plazas
Christmas Village Displays
When deciding upon the layout of your Christmas village, it is always a good idea to choose some kind of centrepiece that many of your buildings and houses can be placed around.
A village square or flagstone plaza is the ideal choice and immediately allows you to create some very realistic scenes with groups of figurines, trees, flowers, street lights and shops. You can really let your imagination get carried away here, and positioning figures is easy, since the base is nice and flat, aiding stability.
Although you can readily purchase plastic paved plaza squares (from Lemax) that join together, these can look quite fake, being clearly plastic and artificial. They can also be a little expensive, considering that they are just a glorified piece of moulded plastic, much of which is going to be covered up with porcelain houses, fake snow, trees and figurines anyway.
Therefore, if you have access to a computer and printer, it can be as easy as finding a detailed picture or photo of some paving. Next, print out several pages of this design. These can then be cut to size and glued on a firm, thin base of cardboard, hardboard or plywood, taking care to match in the edges to disguise any joins.
Rather than cutting straight edges, try using a pair of scissors to follow the lines of the full paving stones, making an uneven edge that will better 'vanish' when glued together with another printout.
This image illustrates the best way of joining two sheets of printed paving together, with a staggered edge being cut to make the join more natural and less obvious than a straight edge:
Making and Choosing Your Plaza - Printouts
Alternatively, if you are a dab-hand with Adobe Photoshop or similar graphics editing software, then you may like to draw your own base or piece together some existing images.
Even better, if you know of some interesting blockwork or paving, then take a photo from above and print this out after first cropping to size. When you join it together, any slabs that don't line up properly can easily be disguised by carefully placing a figure on that part of the printout, or by sprinkling some fake model snow over the join.
Many model shops and stockists of dolls house accessories often sell rolls of pre-printed paving or roofing, which may be an affordable way to create your plaza.
The addition of a little fake grass to one side of the paving can really make the scene come to life, being the perfect place to position a bench, frozen lake, gazebo, band stand or perhaps a fully animated ice skating rink.
Printable model paving (click on image to enlarge):
View of cobblestone paving sheets, printed out and ready to stick together, around a sheet of textured modelling grass matting:
Pictures of printable paving in a Christmas village setting, with the Lemax White Swan Hotel and 1901 Medical Building in the background:
Images of a paved pathway and model park:
Image of interconnecting platform supplied by Lemax (20-piece plaza system):