Mike makes a U-Bild Santa and reindeer lawn display from scratch — vintage plans still available today

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn SetReader Mike is wowing his neighborhood — he had a carpenter build and install this U-Bild Santa and reindeer lawn display on his front lawn. Mike used vintage plans he found on ebay, but guess what: We can still get these mid-century plans (and more like them) made new today by the same company — in business since 1948 — 66 years! This is over the top fantastic! 

Mike writes:

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn SetBackground:  We purchased our 1950 house from its original owner in the winter of 2010, and within a month of signing the contracts I bought a vintage U-Bild kit (Santa, sleigh, eight reindeer) on eBay for around $50.  I don’t really remember how I stumbled upon it or what what prompted the search; I just knew when I saw it that it was the kind of thing that very well may have stood on our front lawn at Christmas 60 years earlier.

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn Set

U-Bild is still in business today, with many of their most popular vintage plans still available for purchase.

Where to buy these plans for DIY Santa displays and more: 

Mike’s story:

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn SetThe kit consisted of high quality paper posters (reindeer done in 5 pieces).  Each piece had to be cut out, glued to plywood, cut out with a scroll saw, assembled and varnished.

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn Set

We had the Santa on our front porch when I was a kid, so it’s very nostalgic to now have the whole set on the front lawn of my own home.

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn Set

Fast-forward 4 1/2 years, and I determined to find someone to finally assemble this for us.  I lucked out when young carpenter Kyle Reckman answered the ad I had placed on kijiji.com (similar to Craigslist).  He was establishing his own business and was looking for jobs, and he was willing to guarantee completion within two weeks.

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn Set

Kyle was very enthusiastic about this unusual project, and he offered to complete every step of it himself: picking up the plans from me, purchasing the necessary construction materials, gluing the patterns onto the plywood, cutting all the pieces out carefully with a scroll saw, assembling everything with screws and wood glue, sealing the finished products with a protective coat of urethane, and delivering them and installing them on our front lawn.  The project ended up costing about twice what I had budgeted, but given its scope and Kyle’s terrific execution it was well worth it.

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn Set

We set it up on the lawn with two strings of old-school C7 lights serving as reins, and two flood lights positioned on the lawn to illuminate it sufficiently at night.

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn Set

Our neighbours are already raving about it! I plan to purchase one more reindeer kit so that we can add a Rudolph (complete with red lightbulb nose) to next year’s display!

1950s U-bild Santa Lawn Set

Jingle Bellzapalooza, this is amazing! We’re gonna guess: Not only are the neighbors all along your street jealous — everyone in Retro Renovation World is, too, today. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Mike — including another great new/old resource: U-Bild. We are already in touch with the company about doing a detailed profile.

  1. Lauren says:

    I have this template set (Santa, sleigh and deer) and plan to build it this summer. Anyone have any suggestions on what types of mounts to add so they stand upright? If you’ve built a set, did you predrill and add mounting hardware before gluing on the template, or did you just drill right through the finished figures? TIA

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Lauren, on questions like this, can you go to the manufacturer — still in business! (This is not a DIY blog – I prefer readers go directly to experts on such questions.) Good luck!

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