Winter Village Eco-craft from Recycled Boxes


  • Assorted empty, clean boxes and containers, such as milk cartons and cereal, cracker, and tissue boxes
  • Craft knife
  • Masking or white artist’s tape
  • Hot or white glue
  • Scissors (optional)
  • White, nontoxic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Nontoxic craft paint or poster paint
  • Wax paper (we like the unbleached, petroleum-free version from If You Care)
  • Battery-operated tea lights
  • Green cupcake liners (optional)
  • Branches (optional)
  • Clay
  • Bake-able nut cups, small and large (optional)


  1. Prepare the boxes and containers by using a craft knife (adults only) to cut out any plastic spouts from the milk cartons, then taping over the holes. Glue box flaps shut to make flat roofs, or fold them up and glue to make pitched roofs.
  2. Prime the boxes with two coats of white paint. Let dry.
  3. Paint the buildings, making sure to add windows and snowy roofs. Let dry.
  4. Using the craft knife, carefully cut out the windows.
  5. Using scissors or the craft knife, cut out the bottoms of the buildings. Cut rectangular holes or flaps for the doors.
  6. Cut a piece of wax paper large enough to cover all the cut window openings.
  7. Brush white glue around the windows inside the boxes and press the wax paper onto the glue.
  8. Line up the boxes in a town-like arrangement. Place one or two battery-operated tea lights in each house.
  9. For a pretty mantel display, make some leafy branches: Collect a few dried tree branches and cut leaf shapes out of the cupcake liners or scrap paper. Glue a few leaves to each branch. Anchor each branch by poking the bottom into a ball of clay or a nut cup filled with clay.