Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Crafting: Traveling Miniature Nacimiento {TUTORIAL}

I am so excited to be able to share with you this tutorial for creating your own traveling nativity, that was lovingly created by my friend Lisa Renata of Sabor a Cajeta for her own children and yours. If you haven't visited her beautiful blog, please do. And if you like this tutorial, please, please leave her a message below thanking her for all the hard work she put into creating it for MommyMaestra readers.   ~xo

We are in the middle of the Holiday Season. Some are getting ready to travel afar and visit loved ones for the festivities. Some are staying home and celebrating. Many will be attending Posadas. Unfortunately, where we live there is no one I know of that celebrates Las Posadas, something I loved doing as a child.

Our house is decorated and we have a Nacimiento displayed, in fact, we have the entire Bethlehem City. You know, one of those really-nice-don't-touch-or-you'll-break kind. Yea, that kind? For the longest time I wanted a small set for my kids, one that they could play with. We received a beautiful one from the grandparents, but it is still breakable. The chiquitos can play with it, but they can't really take it along with them. This year I decided I needed to make one for them. I'm a great believer that one learns best through hands-on play. That is exactly what I want for my kids. To learn about the reason for the season, sort of say, through play. So I made them this:

It is perfect! It is small enough that they can take it where ever they choose to, even travel with it on a plane, or a car, if need be.

Want to learn how to make it?

This is what you need to do:

To begin, start by painting all the faces. Let them dry completely before you begin to paint another layer.

Next work on Maria (Mary). I find her to be the easiest to paint. After painting the face (and letting dry), paint her blue dress and head scarf. It is very simple, just paint it all blue. Once you've done that and it has completely dried, add some details with a deeper blue (or you can leave it as it is.) Finally, with a black permanent marker, add some hair locks around the face and also add the eyes, mouth, and nose.

Continue with the Angel.

1. Paint face and body. 2. Paint hair. 3. Add dress details with a gold permanent marker. 4. Cut out wings out of wool felt. 5. Glue with hot glue (or any other strong adhesive). 6. Front view. 7. Back view.

For José (Joseph) and the Reyes (Wise Men) you are going to follow similar steps.

After the faces have dried, add the hair, mustache, and beard following the steps below. To make them each a little different, I colored their hair in different shades.

Again don't forget to...

Now you'll add the finishing touches to José (Joseph):

After painting the face and body and letting it dry completely, add the head scarf following the steps above.

Those wise Reyes:

Add details to each garment with a gold permanent marker. Make each crown a bit different.

For the Niñito Jesus (Baby Jesus) you will need two tiny pieces of felt. One in off-white the other in tan.

Cut your off-white piece of felt about an 1 inch square. Then a tiny oval piece using the tan color. Glue the tan piece in the center of the 1 inch square (see above), then start to fold each side and keep in place with a dab of glue. (Follow steps above). Finally, round the tip of the corner about the baby's head. You now have a swaddled Niñito Jesus.

Lastly, decorate your box however you like. I wanted to leave some of the natural wood showing, so I just added color in certain areas. I also added small "x" details with a gold permanent marker.

Once everything is completely dry (about an hour or so), then:

Listo! You are done.

Now give it to a little someone you love and let them:

Have fun crafting!


Lisa Renata is a US-born Latina who experienced Mexican culture first-hand when she lived there as a child. A book lover, a mama raising her two kids bilingual, and a crafter- with a camera always in her hands. You can often find her interpreting and testing for the local school district ESOL program, working on her blog Sabor a Cajeta, or making new items for her Etsy shop SaborCajeta.


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