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Make a Nativity Scene with Bread Dough Clay

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Using a simple bread dough clay recipe you can make your own Nativity scene.

Plan this fun activity for a family night before Christmas.


Nativity Scene

Nativity scenes are an important part of many Christmas celebrations as they represent the birth place of Christ.  They can be a full life-sized scene built in the front yard or a tiny porcelain scene adorning the mantle of a fireplace.  Many families have a collection of Nativity scenes. 

This simple, yet beautiful, Nativity scene is made from a easy-to-make bread dough clay recipe.  Plan to make this Nativity scene craft as a family or with a group of children as you don't have to worry about the pieces getting broken.  If a piece doesn't look quite like you want or does get broken just start over.  It's very inexpensive  to make.

First you will need to prepare the bread dough clay.  This recipe will be enough to make three inch figures of Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, a shepherd, baby Jesus in a manger, a lamb, and maybe enough to make the letters of your name. 

Materials needed:

12 slices of fresh white bread

1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent

White craft glue

Make the dough:

Cut the crusts from the white bread and then break the bread into small piecs.  Crumble them into a bowl by rubbing the pieces lightly between your hands.

Add 1/4 cup white glue and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and mix together with your hands. 

As you knead the dough, it will become like clay and easy to handle.  Add more glue if it seems crumbly.

Shape the dough into two balls.  Place in a bowl and cover to keep it from drying out.  If the dough becomes hard, dip your fingers in some water and knead the dough until it is shapeable.

Baby Jesus and the Manger:


Baby Jesus

Break off a small piece of dough and make a teardrop shape for the body about one inch long.  Make the head about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Slightly moisten or add glue to the had and glue to the body.

Flatten a small piece of dough into an oval pancake a little longer and wider than the baby and curve the edges up.  Mount on a square piece of dough.  Set the manger and baby aside, separately, to dry.

Mary, Joseph, Wise Men, Shepherd:

Wise Man

Use walnut-size pieces of dough for the bodies.  Mold them into cone shapes.  Put a marble-sized ball of clay on top of each body for the head.  Moisten the head with water or a small amount of glue to attach to the body.  Shape the arms into wide sleeves and attach to the body.  Add details such as small balls for hands, make hats, beards, crowns, gifts, etc.  A staff can be made from a toothpick for the shepherd.  Use your imagination as you make these details.



Make a ball about 1/2 inch in diameter for the body.  Make and shape the head and attach small ears; then glue to the body.  Completely cover the lamb body with very tiny balls of clay.  Toothpicks can be used for the legs.

Finishing the Figures:

Mix a teaspoonful of glue with an equal amount of water in a jar lid and paint each figure with the mixture.  This will keep the bread dough from cracking as it dries.  Set the pieces aside and let them dry thoroughly for about two days. 

You can leave the figures plain or paint them with acrylic paints.  Add details such as facial features and designs on the clothing with a fine felt-tip pen.  Coat each figure with varnish or polyurethane and let dry completely. 

Enjoy your new Nativity scene or give as a gift to someone you love. 




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