In the spirit of the season, today I’m sharing a nativity project that I have noticed on several crafting sites in the last few years, and wanted to create for myself.
The fun thing about this full nativity project is that it can be scaled back to a few key pieces if you are short on time, and I’m sure I can think of a few new pieces to add next year. It’s the perfect gift for a friendship where small items are exchanged each season – start with Mary, Joseph and the manger. Add the angel, wisemen, shepherds, animals, etc. in future years.
I’m thankful for my friend Darcie who helped in anticipation of Christmas, and we created three full nativity sets in just 2 hours (plus a 24-hour rest for glue to cure!). Supplies from Tommy ART, Thibra and Better Ultimate Adhesive take this project from simple to striking, and the first-rate quality of the supplies means the sets will be enjoyed for years to come.
- Tommy ART Neutral Wax
- Tommy ART Metallic Colors
- Tommy ART Mineral Colors
- Tommy ART Antiquing Coating
- Thibra Thermoplastic
- Better Ultimate Adhesive – FAST
- 1 – 8 foot piece of 2×2 lumber that can be cut to individual pieces – we used a circular saw (don’t forget your safety glasses!)
- 180-grit sandpaper
- 8 – 1 ¾” round wood knobs
- 4 – ½” round wood knobs
- Burlap scraps
- Silver Wire – 10” piece
A few affiliate links to reputable sources have been used in this post at no additional cost to the buyer.
Directions for Creating the People
Step 1: Cut your character pieces from the 2×2 lumber and quickly sand to smooth any rough edges, especially at cuts on each end. We used a circular saw. Please be sure to wear your safety glasses – a great idea when snipping dies, too! (Ask me how I know!)
You have some flexibility, but these measurements seemed to work well with proportion of the 1 ½” knob heads. The measurements and colors of this set as shown this set are:
- Joseph – Tommy ART Petroleum – 6 ¾”
- Mary – Tommy ART Pale Blue – 6”
- Angel – Tommy ART Metallic Pearl – 8”
- Manger – Tommy ART Brown Black – 3”
- Shepherd 1 – Tommy ART Dove Grey – 5”
- Shepherd 2 – Tommy ART Wheat – 6”
- 3 Wiseman – Tommy ART Avocado, Plum and Navy Blue – 7” each
- Donkey – Tommy ART Dove Grey – 2”
- Sheep (cut 2) – Tommy ART Cashmere – 1 ½” each
- Cow – Milk and Dark Brown – 3”
The stable shown here is made entirely of scrap wood. My friend Darcie whipped this together for me – in 10 minutes, and I do not have a pattern or angles for the mitered cuts. The base is 6” x 20”. The sides are 7.5” tall on the left and 9.75” tall on the right. The roof pieces are 19.75” and 11.25” long. The pieces were glued with Better Ultimate Adhesive and secured with finishing tacks. The stable was painted with Dark Walnut and Honey Tommy ART Mineral Color.
Step 2: Use a natural bristle brush (these are super affordable at your local craft or discount store!) and apply thin swipes of Tommy ART neutral wax to all of the edges of each 2×2 pieces. Allow the wax to rest about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Paint each of the pieces and allow to dry. Again, the colors shown here are:
Tip: If painting animal heads, glue heads to the animal bodies before painting. (Better Ultimate Adhesive gluing instructions in step 5)