I just finished my very first Christmas craft of the season: A Childrens' Nativity Set made with craft sticks and clay pots. I'm so excited to show you how to make one for your own family or to give away as a gift!
This nativity set is especially for kids. They can play with it, keep it in their room, and best of all...they can help you make it, which makes it even more special and memorable!
(The clay pot figures were inspired by a set that a good friend made for me years ago, there are many versions floating around so choose the one that you like best. The stable and manger are my own designs.)
Craft Stick Nativity Stable
(Finished size: Height 7" without the star, width 8")
Pkg. of craft sticks
Wire cutters and scissors
Hot glue gun and glue
Sm. pkg. of sheet moss
Dark brown stain or paint
Black craft wire
Gold/yellow and cream/gray paint
Rag or foam brush
1. Using a pair of wire cutters, cut two paint sticks in half. Pinch the stick tightly with the wire cutters and then carefully break it off in two or one side may just flip across the room. Yes, we know from experience. :) Cut one-fourth of the length off of 4 more paint sticks. The rest of the sticks used will be full-size.
2. Lay out two sets of four sticks. Hot glue the half-size sticks to the top and bottom. Lay out 9 sticks, glue a full-size stick to the top and bottom.
3. Glue the X on. (You may want to wait to do this step until after your stain/paint the back piece.)
4. Glue the three wall pieces together as pictured above.
5. Lay out two sets of seven sticks. (Leave a small space between two of them to string the wire through for the star.) Glue a stick across, one inch up from the bottom. Glue another stick across at the top so it hangs over the top of the sticks by 1/8" (this will be the peak of the roof).
6. Glue the two parts of the roof together in the center. Use plenty of hot glue. Hold the two pieces in place on the sides of the stable and at the angle you want the roof as the glue dries.
7. Use a rag to stain the craft sticks and the star or paint them dark brown with craft paint and a brush. Let dry. With the rag, gently rub some cream or gray paint over the stain to give it a weathered look. Blend it in with a clean part of the rag as you go.
8. Glue the roof in place on the side walls. Lay out sheet moss on the roof, glue in place, and then roughly trim the edges with scissors.
9. For the star: Paint over the stain with gold paint. Sand to distress. Ink around the edges with a distress ink pad if necessary. Cut a piece of wire, thread it through the roof. Curl the end and hot glue it to the underside of the roof. Curl the top of the wire around a pencil and hot glue the star to the wire.
Clay Pot Nativity People
2- 1 3/4" to 2" clay pots (This is a seasonal item, I found mine at Jo Ann's)
2- round wood balls (1 1/2")
1- round wood ball (5/8")
Small dowel (you can also use an old foam brush handle)
Blue, black, and flesh color paint and foam brush
Hot glue gun and glue
Baby Jesus and Manger
1. Cut 4 sticks just under 2" long using the rounded end, and 6 sticks 1 3/4" long. Criss-cross and glue the rounded sticks at the center. The legs must be glued exactly as shown in the picture for the manger to work correctly.
2. Glue 4 sticks on for the bottom of the manger, glue the remaining two sticks to the ends and then glue spanish moss onto the manger.
3. Cut a dowel 1" long. Glue the 5/8 ball to one end. Paint with flesh color paint. Draw the face on with a fine tip permanent marker. Dip the head of a small pin into white paint and dot the eyes and cheeks.
4. Cut a scrap of fabric. Fold the top of the fabric down an inch, wrap over the head, swaddle the fabric around the baby, tuck the ends under and glue to the back.
Joseph and Mary
1. Paint the pot and the head then hot glue the head to the pot.
2. For the robes, cut a square of scrap fabric. Fold the top inch under and place it over the head. Glue the sides of the robe to the pot. Bring the fabric around and glue at the bottom center. Trim off the excess fabric around the bottom with a pair of scissors.
3. Draw the faces on with a fine tip permanent marker and dot eyes and cheeks with a pin head dipped in white paint.
4. Separate one strand out from a piece of jute and tie it for Mary's bow. Tie some jute (all strands) in knots for the head bands.
I thought that Joseph and Mary could be a little taller, so I cut a piece of wood, painted it black (brown may have looked better), and set it inside the stable. It made them just the right height, you won't notice it there when Joseph and Mary are in place.
As you can see, this nativity set is not too hard to make. My daughter made the stable pictured below almost all on her own. She painted it a dark brown instead of staining it. Paint made the clean-up a lot easier, as you can imagine. :)
If you're looking for an activity that will entertain your kids/grand kids, I suggest buying a large box of craft sticks. Pictured below are a few of the things my kids have made 100% on their own, without any help. It's amazing the creativity that can come from a pile of craft sticks, a hot glue gun, and a little paint. It's so much fun!
We adore our little nativity set and hope that this is something that you can make and enjoy with your family as well!
Today's Fabulous Find...DIY Children's Nativity Set
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