Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DIY Nativity project coming soon (psst... it's free!)

Lately I've been in the throes of Halloween decorating. I've had Halloween on the brain lately. Then I realized that if I'm ever going to be ready for Christmas, I'd better get in gear.

Last year I came up with this cute, fun idea for a Nativity set. I had my dad cut the wood for me (My dad is amazing at woodworking. He built my mom a gorgeous dining table FROM AN OLD TREE STUMP. A tree stump, people. It is seriously amazing.)

Anyway. I planned last year to make these for a friend and then my baby was born a month premature and was in the Newborn ICU for two weeks, so that pretty much put the kibosh on crafting. Plus it was a nativity set and at that point in my life, I could not think about anything baby-related without breaking down into a hysterical, hormone-induced crying jag.

I'm better now.

This year, my kid isn't in the hospital and he actually takes naps sometimes, so I got to finally finish my Nativity project.

I've thought a lot about what to do with the pattern. I didn't want to do all the work drawing up the patterns for my Nativity set and have me be the only one to ever have access to it. So, I've decided to offer it for free on my blog! Exciting, no?

Hopefully this will be the first of MANY giveaways on this blog. I thought it was fitting to start with a Christmas freebie since the holidays are the season of giving!

Want to meet some of the characters? While I made them, I thought a lot about what their personalities might be like, and tried to incorporate that into my designs.

(By the way, I'm REALLY sorry about the photos. They were taken in a dark room, with a digital point-and-shoot. Someday, someday, I will have the fancy professional camera I dream of. For now, we've got to make do with this.)

Here's Joseph. He's the strong, silent type. His garb is simple but he'd do anything for Mary and Jesus.

This is Mary. She's beautiful, loving, and kind.

The Shepherd. He spends most of his life outdoors, roaming around the fields with his lambs. He lives a simple life. He does his own mending.

The first Wise Man. He's a tribal king from somewhere in the plains of the Orient. He's a gold miner and he's brought a big chunk of it as a gift.

This Wise Man is from the mountains. He's built his kingdom on the incense industry.

The third Wise Man, I imagine, is a seafaring man who's bringing (you guessed it) myrrh from his travels.

Each character is showing reverence for the event they're witnessing.

I'm still working on the angel, some of the animals, maybe another shepherd, the star, and of course baby Jesus. I'll post the rest of them as soon as they're finished, I promise! Following that will be the patterns for every character.

Now. This will all be up before the end of October so that you'll be able to finish your own set before Christmas. I'd give myself an entire day to get everything cut out and glued.

What you'll need to gather if you want to make the Nativity set:

Wood: I used 2x4's. They were scraps, about a foot long or less. The patterns are EASY to lengthen or shorten, so I wouldn't worry much about the length of your wood. I got my wood from my dad's scrap stash, but I hear that Lowe's and Home Depot have scrap bins, too, if you don't have a woodworking person in your life.

Someone to saw the wood: I drew right on the wood. You can see how it should look. Basically the head is shaped like a half circle. There's no exact science to this.

Paper: You'll need scrapbook paper. This is a great project if you've got lots of scraps. You'll need a little bit larger pieces for the bodies of all the characters. If you're buying, I'd estimate about 1 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper for each character, and about 3-4 12x12 pieces for the star. Various colors and values (by value I mean light or dark, not money).

Also necessary:

Glue gun
Mod Podge + brush
Glue stick or pen (I recommend Zig 2-way glue. Find it in any craft store)

These supplies are pretty basic, I'm betting that you've already got most of this stuff if you've done crafts before.

Keep checking back, and don't forget to like me on Facebook. That way you'll know when I've got the next installment of this project up!

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