Wooden Spoon Nativity {tutorial}

Good day, friends! Thanks for all the kind feedback about the wooden spoon nativity! I've realized that the nativity is just not happening at my house in time for Christmas, but I wanted to post the instructions just in case some of you haven't overbudgeted your time like I have and therefore will have time to put this little number together for the current holiday season. :)

Unfortunately, getting the the tutorial now, before I make my own, means I have no process pictures. I have included a few finished-product pictures, however. The process is pretty simple, so I'll add pictures once I get mine made.

Until then, here's the tutorial:

Wooden Spoon Nativity
for personal, non-commercial use only

**This idea and the original instructions (which I have modified here) were from the December 2003 issue of Crafts magazine, no longer in print and impossible to find online! If you know of any way that I can give better credit, please let me know :) 

What you'll need:
The instructions call for small portions of lots of different supplies. Feel free, of course, to sub what you have on hand or what is most readily available and inexpensive. That's the just Lu way! :)
  • 6" wide pot or basket
  • 6 wooden spoons 
  • Wooden shapes:
    • 1 - 2" star (pot decoration)
    • 2 - 1¼" circle (baby Jesus' halo, sheep face)
    • 2 - 2" oval (donkey and cow faces)
    • 2 - 1½" teardrop (cow ears)
    • 4 - 7/8" teardrop (donkey and sheep ears)
  • Torn-edged scraps of fabric fabric:
    • 1 - 4" square light blue (Joseph's headwrap)
    • 1 - 1x9" strip lavender (Mary's shawl)
    • 1 - 3x5" strip natural (baby Jesus' swaddling clothes)
  • 2 ½x 4½” pink-edged rectangle of tan felt (the manger)
  • Acrylic paint in something like these colors (specific names by DecoArt and NOT the specific colors that I used):
    • Golden Straw, non-metallic gold (star)
    • Grey Sky, light grey (donkey, sheep dry-brushing)
    • Slate Grey, darker grey (donkey dry-brushing)
    • Jade Green (Joseph)
    • Mauve, light pink (cheeks)
    • Soft Peach, flesh color (human faces)
    • Mink Tan, light brown/tan (cow)
    • Sable Brown, darker brown (cow dry-brushing)
    • Warm White, creamy white (sheep, cheek highlights)
    • Winter Blue, pale blue (Mary)
    • Glorious Gold metallic, glittery metallic (baby Jesus' halo, star dry-brushing)
    • Black (eyes)
  • Paintbrushes
    • one to paint the spoons (I used foam)
    • one to dry-brush the spoons (either foam or stiff, short bristles will work)
    • one to dry-brush the cheeks (small and round, with stiff short bristles)
  • Ribbons/trim/cording
    • 6" (or so) lace or narrow trim (Mary and Joseph)
    • 18" (or less) ¼ “ gold ribbon (baby Jesus)
    • 1½ yd - 2 ½ “ sheer wire-edged gold ribbon (pot decoration bow)
    • Brown embroidery floss (Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus' hair)
    • 6" (or so) hemp cord, jute, or string (Joseph's headdress, cow and sheep bells)
  • Raffia or straw-looking potting material
  • 1 - ½” bell, gold/copper (cow and sheep bells)
  • Floral foam brick, to fit inside the pot
  • Flat buttons (optional, meaning I didn't use them :):
    • 1 - 7/8“ yellow (star decoration)
    • 8 - mini cream (sheep "wool")
  • Other supplies:
    • Adhesive for fabric, jewelry, or wood (to glue the characters together)
    • Fine sandpaper
    • Saw (hand saw is fine as long as you're tough!)
    • Toothpick
    • Scissors
    • Serrated knife

What you'll do:

1.  Using the saw, cut the spoons to the following lengths, measured from the top round edge of the spoon:
  • Baby Jesus: 2½“
  • Joseph: 9½“
  • Mary: 8½“
  • Sheep: 7½“
  • Cow: 8”
  • Donkey: 7”
**This seems like an unnecessary step, but having shortened spoons makes it SO much easier to stick the spoon handles in the denseness of the floral foam and have them all be the proper, differentiated height.

2. Lightly sand and paint the spoons and the wooden shapes like this, allowing each coat of paint to dry before applying the next:
Joseph: Draw a horizontal line 1-3/8" below the top of the spoon. Paint the area above the line Soft Peach and the rest of the spoon Jade Green.
Mary: Draw a horizontal line 1” below the top of the spoon. Paint the area above the line Soft Peach and the rest of the spoon Winter Blue.

Baby Jesus: Paint the spoon Soft Peach. Paint one wood circle Glorious Gold (to make the halo).

Sheep: Paint the spoon, one circle (face), and two 7/8“ teardrops (ears) Warm White. Dry-brush with Grey Sky (see “Dry Brush” for  instructions.)

Donkey: Paint the spoon, one 2” oval (face), and  two 7/8“ teardrops (ears) Grey Sky. Dry brush with Slate Grey.

Cow: Paint the spoon, one 2” oval (nose), and two 1½“ teardrops (ears) Mink Tan. Dry brush with Sable Brown.

Wooden star: Paint Golden Straw. Dry brush with Glorious Gold.
3. Paint the human faces by dotting the eyes with a toothpick, dry-brushing Mauve cheeks in a circular motion, and dotting white cheek highlights with another toothpick. (Allow each section to dry before painting the next, of course) 

4. Paint the sheep's face on the white-painted circle: dotted black eyes, dry-brushed mauve cheeks with white dotted cheek highlights, and tiny dotted black nose/mouth lines.

5. Paint the donkey's face on the grey-painted oval: dotted black eyes, dry-brushed mauve cheeks with white dotted cheek highlights, and tiny dotted black nostril swirls.

6. Paint the cow's eyes on the tan-painted spoon (dotted black eyes) and its nose on the tan oval: dry-brushed mauve nostrils with white dotted highlights, and tiny dotted black nostril swirls.


{ Baby Jesus }
1. Make the baby Jesus' hair by cutting eight 1” (or slightly longer) lengths of floss and tying them together at the center in a bundle using a longer strand of floss. Fold the bundle at the center and glue it to the baby's head so that the "hair" comes towards his eyes.

2.  Glue the halo (the gold-painted wood circle) to the back of the head.

3. Wrap the baby in the strip of natural fabric. Crisscross the ¼” gold ribbon around the fabric and tie it into a bow in front. Trim the ends

4. Glue the blanket-baby bundle to the felt rectangle.

{ Mary & Joseph }
1. Glue the lace/trim to the painted spoons along the line between the two sections to divide the "face" from the "body" portion of the spoon.

2. Make Joseph's headdress by gluing the blue fabric square to the top of his head and wrapping/tying the jute/string around the fabric. Glue to secure the string, and trim and unravel the ends.

3. Make Mary's hair by bundling sixteen 4” lengths of floss and tying them together off-center. Glue the hair across the top of Mary's head, around the curve of the spoon, using the tied knot as the "part" in her hair. Wrap and glue the lavender fabric strip around Mary's head.

{ Sheep }
1. Glue the two white-painted small teardrops (ears) to back of the white-painted circle (face).

2. Glue the ear-face combo to the front of the white-painted spoon.

3. (optional) Glue the cream buttons above and below the sheep's face.

4. String a bell on to the hemp cord or string and tie it around the sheep's neck. Glue the string in the back to secure it.

{ Donkey }
1. Glue the two grey-painted small teardrops (ears) to the back of the grey-painted oval (face).

2. Glue the ear-face combo to front of the grey-painted spoon.

{ Cow }
1. Glue the tan-painted oval (nose) to the front of the tan-painted spoon, about 3/4 inch down from the top of the spoon, so that the eyes look right. :)

2. Glue the two tan-painted teardrops (ears) to the back of the tan-painted spoon, just higher than the nose piece.

3. String a bell on to the hemp cord or string and tie it around the cow's neck. Glue the string in the back to secure it. 

1. Cut the floral foam brick to fit in the pot/basket 2-3” below the rim, using the serrated knife.

2. Using a pencil, dowel, or skewer, poke pilot holes in the floral foam where you want the 5 long spoons (Mary, Joseph, and the animals).

3. Insert the long spoons into the floral foam securely. If you have less-dense floral foam, you may want to secure the spoons with glue.

4. Cover the foam with raffia, arranging it around the spoons.

5. Glue the baby-felt manger to the raffia.

6. Tie the wire-edged ribbon around the pot in bow. Glue the star to the center of the bow and (optional) glue the large yellow button to the star.

7. Display your nativity proudly and be sure to proclaim "YES!" when everyone asks if you made it yourself. :)

Have a Merry Christmas!

Photobucket handmade projects


Brandy@YDK said...

so cute....

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

I love this Lorene. It's too cute. Great tutorial, too, for not having any pictures:) Great job!

elizabeth @ twelvecrafts said...

Wow! Those are amazing directions! I think you could explain anything to anyone! ;)

Nick and Keira said...

What a cute idea! You are so stinkin' crafty! :)

Busy as a Bee in Paris said...

Thank you! for linking up and advertising my button. Hope you've had a chance to visit a few of the other links! Have a very merry Christmas! xo, Maria

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