This time of year, between all the cleaning and reorganizing, meal planning, guest room prepping, and holiday shopping, we inevitably find ourselves short on time when it comes to decorating. For a burst of holiday cheer, we turn to easy DIY decorations, like these utterly charming winter sugar dioramas. Pick up the components on your next trip to Target, and you can put these sweet little vignettes together in less than an hour.
These DIY winter dioramas are a cross between traditional tableaux, like the holiday crèche, and homemade snow globes—without the dozens of loose, easy-to-knock-over pieces of the former and the leaky glycerin mess of the latter. The sugar anchors the figurines in place, and neither will budge unless they sustain a pretty hard bump. That said, they can be dislodged with enough effort, and the sugary smell may be irresistible to pets and little two-footers, so keep these holiday dioramas safely out of their reach.
With their alpine look, you can keep your winter sugar dioramas on display all season long, then disassemble and pack away the components until next year and make entirely new vignettes. (You can even reuse the sugar, as long as you store it in an airtight container during the off season, to prevent creepy-crawlies from snacking on it.) Pretty sweet, right? Let’s start building.
What you’ll need:
- Sugar—the quantity depends on how many dioramas you’ll make, but we like to buy a large bag of the least-expensive store variety
- Scoop or measuring cup
- Clear or bottom-frosted glass containers with wide mouths
- White paper
- Miniature figurines, like plastic or resin woodland animals, bottle-brush evergreen trees, and houses; or berries and greenery
How to do it:
1. Place each glass container on a piece of blank white paper and trace around the line of the bottom with a pencil. For each container, repeat this up to 4 times, depending on how many layers you want. Cut out the shapes.
2. With the scoop or measuring cup, pour a layer of sugar between 1 and 2 inches thick into the bottom of the first container. Shake the container gently to create a subtle slope.
3. Position one or more of the figurines, or berries and greenery, in the front of the slope, toward the edge of the glass container.
4. Place a piece of paper over the first layer of sugar, curving it and gently anchoring the ends into the sugar slope to create the desired shape over your first vignette.
5. Carefully pour in a second layer of sugar, using your fingers or the scoop to guide the sugar toward the back of the vignette.
6. Add as many additional paper and sugar layers as desired, always curving the paper and gently anchoring the ends into the sugar slope. End with a layer of sugar on top, and place additional figurines, or berries and greenery, on top, if desired.
7. Make as many dioramas as you like, varying the number of layers and figurines, and the shape of the sugar slope and paper layers.