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Hello Everyone,

It's still a while before Christmas, but I have designed a blueprint for this year's Christmas layout during my spare time.

The materials I plan to use are:

  • Snow-covered blanket for the ground (I am still not sure about which kind of brand or material to use, but I welcome your suggestions/recommendations)
  • Cardboard/wooden boards for the sky backdrop
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint for the stars
  • Dark Blue paint color for the night sky

 

Updated Christmas Train Layout Plan

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  • Updated Christmas Train Layout Plan
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White fleece fabric? As in a cheap throw blanket. (I've used green and brown for no snow versions of the ground.)

Suzukovich uses white throw carpets if you look back a few years. I like that better as the snow is deep and more ’solid' looking than the "misty" look of typical display snow. (Some misty stuff here and there on the rugs looks better yet though)   

Cleaning those should be easier than cleaning fluff fabric too. Vacuum and/or toss in the washing machine. (use a hose vacuum with a nylon over the wand, leave about 5 inches of toe hanging, hold tight. Any little items accumulate in the wand caught in the nylon, and 99% of actual dust passes thru.... some hairs etc picked out quick as you recover those things you didn't really want to suck up. ...and they are clean of dust now too )

Stars... I'm a huge fan of glow-in-the-dark things and even painted some mow-critter headlights/tailights with it.  Stars would work with it too if  they get enough light each day. .

There is another way, using light.  First option is holes in the sky for tiny Christmas bubs to stick out.

Some of the controllers for blinking ones have a "random" setting today too.

Or, still using Christmas bulbs or one or two other types, attach to the main backdrop to light it. (it is now a support). You need to create a top lip, or "curtain rod" support to create a gap between what is drapped off the rod or lip, and the bulbs/support.

Use heavy, dark blue or black satin opaque cloth for a light blocking curtain and hide everything.

Now put tiny (tiny) holes in the cloth (near but not over some, Left, right, above, below, etc. and/or right over others with sm. bulbs, creates variety of bright and dim stars.

Curtain sides, top, bottom can be attached to the support to block escaping beams of light.  Don't use real hot bulbs without adding some venting to the support (Two 3 sided rectangle boxes over a hole, open side down if you're using kinda hot lamps, i.e., don't make an easybake oven out of it

(this is loosy how the night sky background on some stages at Showbiz/Chuck E. Cheese was done. I always liked the effect they got. We also made similar concept drops for theaters when I was a stage and light grip. Some solid, some curtain based. Usually the drama dept wouldn't get good enough cloth without a big push for it early on before the budget was drained by uneeded fancy paints, or pizza, etc.etc.)

 

For the snow blanket for the layout, I am trying to find the one that is most recommended and one you can reuse for the next holiday seasons.

Here are my choices:

  • Prextex snow blanket roll
  • Buffalo Batting snow-covered blanket
  • cotton rolls from Walmart

Any suggestions?

I like the poly-fleece from JoAnn Fabric stores - holds up well through a few years - it is on 72" wide rolls

I like your approach - it reminds me of '30's and '40's style Christmas layouts - there is an old photo collection that has many - I will try to find the link

They were called a Christmas Putz in the Washington, DC and Baltimore area

One of my favorites stepped the track line upward wedding cake style - and yes, as large as yours. The floor level train ran under and out and few times on the bottom

Last edited by Moonman

For the outer length of the tunnel, I want to make it look like that of a snow-covered rock formation. However, it will be temporary and used during the Christmas seasons. What easy-to-use materials would you recommend?

Stacking 2" foam insulation board, gluing and then cutting and carving to shape will provide a tunnel unit that can used and stored each season.

Here is my only fear in using cotton or snow blankets: You have to be careful it does not get up from the track and tangled in the wheels of engines or cars. Been here done that (one was the holiday Celebrations stuff you show). What brand / type track are you using.

For mountain - stacking Styrofoam is fastest and most realistic. Can be painted and stored easily.

@Yojimbo posted:

I would suggest white, tightly woven felt, a la a pool table. It’s durable, easy to decorate and less threads and stray material getting into the engine.

@CurtisH posted:

Here is my only fear in using cotton or snow blankets: You have to be careful it does not get up from the track and tangled in the wheels of engines or cars. Been here done that (one was the holiday Celebrations stuff you show). What brand / type track are you using.

For mountain - stacking Styrofoam is fastest and most realistic. Can be painted and stored easily.

I use thick felt, about 1/8" thick, not flannel.  Any of the cotton blankets I've use over the years have been terrible in terms of getting into running gear and axle bearings.  Also, trees and people aren't all that stable on cotton.

In the picture, you can see some felt being laid over the stryofoam.

Tom Stoltz

in Maine

prelim 2

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  • prelim 2

Does FastTrack interfere with the snow blankets?

There's a version of the fluffy stuff that has metal flakes in it and it will mess with FasTrack power -- ask me how I know. I've had no problem using the same stuff without the flakes on my Christmas layout using FasTrack. However, the other problem, flakes or not, is if you want to screw down the track. If that stuff is directly under the track, it will catch on the screw and start to twist and tear along with it. So the other thing I've learned to do is use the track as a template to cut out the fabric so there's none on the underside.

Another thing I want to know is how many days, weeks or months does it take to set up these Christmas layouts?

When my kids were small = I was very healthy Jan. - Nov. = then used a bunch of sick days between the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade & Xmas to build a floor living room Xmas display.  Diagnosis was "Train Addiction!  Symptoms were: sore knees, leg cramps, tender hands & fingers, etc.   This was in the 70's.  One memorable Xmas Day all the neighborhood kids that had opened their electronic goodies were at the front door waiting to to see the trains.

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