Making a River for My Dickens’ Village

EnviroTex Lite RiverBack in 2004, I bought the Tower Bridge of London for my village and ever since then, I have been trying to figure out how to make a river. The best that I could do was a piece of blue felt but I wanted something better.

Last winter, I stumbled upon a message board for train people and read some of the techniques that they use to make a river. The most liked material seemed to be something called EnviroTex Lite. There was also a lot of discussion about the need to follow the instructions to the T. You had to mix two things in exactly equal parts or it would not turn out. I decided that I wanted to try it anyway.

This summer, I baked a few things and realized how hard it was for me to get things measured out exactly because my hands are so shaky. I decided that using something that needed measured exactly probably wasn’t going to work for me. It is one thing to put a little too much flour or milk in something but another when something really needs to be exact. I ordered a different product that some people had success with but other people didn’t like it. It didn’t work for me. I ordered yet another product and that didn’t work either.

I decided to bite the bullet and order some EnviroTex Lite. I couldn’t find Styrofoam locally the size that I wanted and I didn’t really want to order a bunch of stuff online unless I knew it was going to work. The manager where I live was able to get me a bunch of Styrofoam that was the perfect height for what I wanted. I cut out a piece and painted it. The people on the train boards recommended painting the middle of the river black or another dark color to make it look deeper. Everything I read said not to use blue for water because you never see blue water.

My first piece came out pretty good but I played with a couple different shades of colors for the water until I decided on one that I liked. I figured I would put the ugliest ones in the back where they can’t be seen!

EniroTex Lite River

I kept seeing pictures from Ireland with beautiful blue water. When I started putting up my village and set my river pieces in, I didn’t like the river. All I could think about was the beautiful blue water over in Ireland. Dickens was pre-toxic, polluted rivers so a Dickens’ Village should have blue water.  Luckily, I had enough stuff to pour more water. I am going to have blue water in my village!

EnviroTex Lite River

For the record,  my burners on the stove aren’t missing, they are in the dishwasher!

I need to trim down the Styrofoam underneath the bridge to move the two bridge pieces closer together – I need to put the railings in that connects those two bridge pieces and the river is just slightly too wide to do that so I have to trim the Styrofoam where the bridge sits.  I have some walls that I will put along the part of the river and have white lights and snow to use also.   I am going to move a couple things to make the river fit together better at the turn, but overall, I am happy with how it came out!

Hopefully I am on the path to getting this village finished!

EnviroTex Lite River

4 thoughts on “Making a River for My Dickens’ Village

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