Several years ago, my boys and I made a village out of recycled cartons and we love unpacking it every year and setting it up on our mantle. I made the one pictured above, lit with battery-powered tea lights, for our book, Paper Good Projects. If you look closely you'll see some tiny conical trees and the how-to is in this post.
Here are the original houses that we made together. They're a little messy and wonky but I love them! The kids painted them and drew on the windows and doors which I cut out with a craft knife. (But before that we prepped the boxes, see below.) These are lit with s string of Christmas lights. I cut a notch out of the back of each house to feed in the light string.
We used cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt tube boxes, etc and I hot-glued the them shut. For some of the pitched roof houses, we used milk, cream, and broth cartons. If the carton had a plastic spout, I cut it out and taped over the hole. I cut all the bottoms off so they can be lit from inside. Once the boxes and cartons were prepped, we primed them with gesso and then painted them. Wax paper windows gave the houses a soft glow, After I cut the window holes out, I brushed white glue around the openings on the inside and pressed a piece of wax paper (a bit smaller than the side of the house front) to the inside.
Check out our book, Paper Goods Projects for detailed instructions and more recycled crafts!