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Wooden Nativity scenes

Supplies for 3D Nativity:

  1. paint
  2. paint brushes
  3. wood cutout set from Dollar Tree.

The Nativity I bought from Dollar Tree is very easy to assemble. You simply slide the wood places into the grooves where you would like them to go. I thought about making pieces/designs similar to this. So, if you like this piece, then please let me know, and I will make my own designs in the future and show you how to make the base and other pieces as well. 


I painted my pieces different colors, but I was not sure if I liked it. I then added some dry brush of black around the edges of Mary and Joseph. I think this helped, but I was still not sure how I felt about my color choices.


So, I flipped the pieces over and decided to paint them all black. I also did my stain technique for the base and stable. To do this technique I paint my piece brown, and before the paint dries, I wipe it off with a paper towel. It makes it look like you stained the wood, but you do not have to worry about the smell of the stain or the mess. I recommend working in small sections when doing this method to ensure the paint does not dry before you wipe off the extra.

The nice thing about this nativity scene is that you can change it up. If you do not like one side, then you can flip the pieces over and try again. I ended up liking a mix of the all black side and then just keeping baby Jesus on the color side. I think it makes Him stand out more. Here are some different ways I painted and arranged my nativity. If you have painted or done something with this nativity or a similar one, then please share how yours turned out. By seeing mine, you may get inspired to paint one yourself, or change how you were going to paint your pieces because after seeing mine, you decided you did not like that color choice as much as you though. Either way I hope this helped, and please share yours to help give more options to others.

Supplies for small Nativity shadow box:

  1. Paint.
  2. Paint brushes
  3. Wood glue. Other glues would also work.
  4. Small wood frame. I bought mine from Michael’s
  5. My design, which you can find in my library.
    1. Sign up to get access to my free library
    2. Head straight to my library, once you have the password
  6. Wood or vinyl or other material you want to cut my design onto

For the Nativity shadow box, I made the nativity scene very simple. You can find the SVG file of this nativity scene in my library. I used my Glowforge to cut out my design out of some Birchwood. You could also cut this SVG file out of vinyl, cardstock, or many other materials. You could even change up the project completely by using the file for a completely different project. For example, you could resize my design, and then cut it out of vinyl, and put it on an ornament. You could also use it to make a Christmas card. There are so many different possibilities.  


I decided to make a simple shadow box with my design. I purchased this small square box from Michael’s. I like that it comes with twine to hang it, if you want. It can also stand on its own, which would make for a nice addition to a tier tray or sitting on a counter.

I started off by staining my box a dark walnut color. You could also do the technique I mentioned above to make a stain look with just paint. While my piece was drying, I used my laser cutting machine, Glowforge, to cut out my pieces. Cricut machines can cut simple designs out of wood, but the laser printer is a lot easier, and can do a lot smaller detail.

You could stain your pieces or paint them, but I decided I liked the simple look with the wood grain showing. So, I left my pieces as is, and glued them in place with wood glue. I used a toothpick to apply my wood glue to the back of my pieces. This allowed me to control the glue better, so I did not get a lot of extra glue seeping out.

So, which nativity piece did you like better, or which one are you going to make?  I think I like my shadow box one the best. Please share your pieces, we would all love to see what you made, and help get ideas for color choices. Happy crafting.


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