Do you have holiday traditions that you look forward to every year? This scrap wood nativity scene would make a great addition to your holiday line up because it is kid friendly. You don’t have to worry about them banging up or breaking any of the pieces. In fact, banging them up may add to their character.
Every year my mom reenacts the Christmas story with my kids as they set up her nativity scene to decorate the house. It is a tradition that they started many years ago when there was only one Little Pink Toe. Well this Little Pink Toe and his grandmother decided that some of the important characters needed names, so the shepherd in their story became Matt the Shepherd. If I remember correctly, one of the wise men became Gerald.
I made this nativity scene at our house many, many years ago and I love the simplicity and rustic feel of it. It’s not my idea, I got it out of a book, but you can knock off your own version of it:
It fits right in on our mantle in front of the brick fireplace. I think that Joseph, the carpenter, would approve, since it is made of scrap 2×4. I don’t have sketches for the characters, but they are simple line drawings.
When I measured the lengths of the 2x4s, they are not exact which helps with the rustic feel of the entire set. So these measurements are approximate:
Joseph 8 1/2″
Mary 6 3/4″
Baby Jesus 4 3/4″
Wise men 8 1/4″
Sheep 3 3/4″ and 4 1/2 ”
These boards are not even sanded. Cut the 2x4s and mark your characters in pencil. I used a wood burning tool to define the lines, but I think a brown or black Sharpie would be fine. Or paint them with a fine paintbrush. I then color washed the entire pieces with watered down brown acrylic paint (the small container kind that you can buy at a craft store or in the craft section at Walmart). You could use stain, but I would use a water based stain if using acrylics over it (would it accept the acrylics over oil-based? I’m not sure, I try to stick to water based products so not much experience there).
I used watered-down acrylic paints to fill in the characters with color. I suppose you could seal it with something, but I didn’t. I do wrap each one in a plastic bag to store them, so that they don’t chip if they hit each other in the box. They’ve held up great for around 14 years.
The stars are from Crafts 2000 and were an addition to the set that I added 2 or 3 years ago. I just took a scrap of 1/2″ wood and drilled three small holes which I used to hold the star posts.
It is a wide-spread saying–I think I’ve even gotten Christmas cards with this as the text on the card, but it is one that I like:
Wise men still seek Him.
I hope that you do just that this holiday season. Go. Be Gerald.