Sunday, December 14, 2014

~DIY~ Primitive Rustic Nativity

I love to make things...and I've been wanting to make a more Primitive Nativity scene for years. I've done some one with glitter, and have some store bought ones but none of those really fit my home. This one does!

Today I am going to show you how to make your own Primitive Nativity!

What you will need
Pot or Jar
Paint Brush- good size
Glue gun
Jar of Instant Coffee (any kind)
Needle & String (not thin sewing thread)
Osnaberg (or similar beige fabric that tears easy)
Batting (I used a piece from an old ripped up quilt)
Three Old Clothespins or Round Dowels cut to size, two tall one short
Small Wood Strip Cut to size (Thin is best, about 1 1/2" to 2" wide)
Two Acorn Caps
Bunch of Twigs
Knife or something to cut twigs

Optional Items
Small bottle of brown craft paint

First things first cut the batting to fit around the clothespins. You don't want a huge amount of overlap. Next tear slightly smaller strips of Osnaburg to go around the batting. You will also need a small rectangular piece of osnaburg to go over the baby Jesus' head and another for the padding in the manger.

Wrap the batting around your clothespin and sew closed.

Next wrap the osnaburg around your clothespin. No need to sew this cloth. Next you will wrap the string around. Do NOT cut this off of your roll of string as you never know how much you will need. If you want to make Joesph like I did you will also need to do it up and around the back side. See the photo if you need help. I learned fast that the best way to get the V shape was to NOT go all the way to the top of the batting, go up and across then around the back then back down and across.

When you are ready to tie it off cut your string leaving quite a bit extra and use the needle to run it under the rest of the thread twice and then knot.

On the baby Jesus the only difference is before you put the osnaberg wrap you will do the cap. Fold it over the sides and back then sew it around attaching it to the batting like so and knot. The repeat the osnaberg and string. If you want added texture you can wrap some cheesecloth around before the string.

Next you will need to make your coffee dye. I made mine dark by adding some of the brown paint, but you don't have to. Add about 4 scoops of the instant coffee to your pot or jar and then add water until it's the color you like. Test on another piece of fabric if your not sure of the color. If you do add paint, don't over add. You can always add more if needed. If you mess up and get it too dark rinse off your fabric with cold water and start again.

Put your Mother Mary, Joesph and Baby Jesus and the manger blanket in the coffee dye and let soak for a few minutes. Then pull out to dry. I recommend a baking tray, putting the heads on the edge so any excess dye flows away while drying. I usually lay mine by our wood burning stove for faster drying. You can also do it in the oven, but keep a good eye on it or it will end up black and you'll start a fire. The oven will also make it have darker streaks across it. Some people LOVE that but I am not one of them.

While your Holy Family are drying you will begin your manger for the Baby Jesus. Turn on your glue gun. You'll need to cut your twigs, Mine were around 2 1/2 to 3" long. Make sure the four twigs for the cross part of the stand are identical in size and width. Take your glue gun and glue the cross pieces together. I tied them for extra support with string. I wrapped it around a few times and tied it off. Do both sides.

Next put the initial center twig down, using the biggest one you have on the bottom, going down in size as you go up the manger. Glue on both ends as you go.

Your finished manger should look similar to this.

Once your manger glue is totally dry which it should be quickly, take the paintbrush and brush some coffee dye onto the string wrapped around your manager till it's dark enough for you. Let sit to dry.

Once Mother Mary, Baby Jesus and Joesph are dry they should look similar to this and this is what you should have left to work with.

You will need to glue the hats on the clothespins and then glue them to the wood bases. All you need to do is use your glue gun to glue the middle and back of their heads and attach the acorn caps and then around the bottom of the fabric wrapped around them. Then just sit on the stands. It will be dry almost as soon as you do it. Lastly put Baby Jesus and the manger blanket in the manger and voila You are DONE!

This idea is 100% of my own design. If you need any help please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me on facebook!


  1. This is such a beautiful and creative design! Great post! I love all of the photos and how simple it is, this will make a great family project! Thank you for the how-to guide!

  2. love, love, love!! (Sharon Moylan Mariner)