I was talking to my cousin about her Christmas dinner and how she would like to have the “Reason for the Season” somehow on her table. As we were brainstorming, the idea popped into my head to make nativity characters out of papier mache eggs and Quikwood. The characters could be place card holders for dinner and then be taken home and hung on the Christmas tree. Each year that ornament would stir the memory that was made with it.
Her children are my Wednesday afternoon art students, so the following week we just jumped in and began designing our egg nativity. We had the fun of making the project together and Sara and Daniel will also have the joy of giving them as gifts. We thought you might enjoy the project too.
Some basic supplies you will need for the project:
- 2 1/2″ papier mache eggs (hobbylobby.com)
- Quikwood (https://www.etsy.com/shop/OldMoonLanePrimitive)
- 20 gauge wire
Of course, you will need other things like some basic sculpting tools, painting supplies and paint; but I am sure you will have those things or other things you can use. Another product that is wonderful when working with Quikwood is Avon’s Silicone Glove hand cream. It keeps the clay from sticking to your hands.
I like to work on a piece of parchment paper or a waxed paper palette.
To Begin you will need about 3/8″ of Quikwood to make your feet. Knead it until well blended and divide into two. Roll each piece into an oval. If you would like toes, use a sculpting tool or knife to create them. Then position the fat side of the egg on feet making sure that it is not leaning sideways or front to back. Allow to cure.
How to make your feet video:
While you are waiting for your feet to cure, you can make the little elements that the characters are holding:
- Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
- Baby Jesus
How to make each of the pieces video:
If you are going to use your characters for place card holders/ornaments, you will need to attach the wire on top. Cut an 8″ piece of 20 gauge wire. Fold over about 1 1/2″ from one end and create a flat loop for attaching. Use a small piece of Quikwood to hold onto egg. Blend into egg using DecoArt Extender.
How to make and attach the wire to character video:
Next you will want to make your arms and attach them to the character along with what they are holding. Cut a piece of Quickwood 1/4″+ and mix together. Divide into two and create a coil about 1 1/2″ long with one end coming to a point. Attach to side and bend to hold object. If needed, use a little super glue gel to hold objects in place.
How to attach arms to characters video:
For the angels you will want to make the wings first and then attach them. You will want to attach them when they are almost set so that you can shape them to the egg. To create the wings use this template – Wings Pattern
Create a coil for the back center. Shape small tear drop for each section on wing and lay in place. Blend clay together using Extender.
How to Create Wings Video:
Now that your wings are made and almost set you will want to attach them to your angel.
How to attach wings video:
To finish the angels you will want to add a halo and a star. The other characters will get a head covering. On the shepherds, Joseph and Mary you will add a roping around the top of their heads and on the kings you will add a crown. They all will be completed with a nose. You will then create the top hook for your place card holder/ornament hook.
How to finish each of the characters video:
Now all that is left is painting them and antiquing them. I first painted them all Warm White.
I then chose some basic colors for skin, hair, and a metallic for wings, crowns, etc.
If you are just going to be giving these for individual gifts you can choose any color you want, but if they are going to be on your table I would select a few colors to be used on the characters. It will give a nice unified look to your table.
My cousin went with two shades of red, two of green and two tans – this went with her Christmas décor. My living room and dining room are one room. The colors I chose are the accent colors for that room. Hopefully this will give you some ideas on what colors to pick – above all else pick colors you like.
I painted my characters with pretty simple faces and limited detail on the clothes.
I like antiquing these pieces. It brings out some of the details and also hides some of the flaws. Before antiquing, I sprayed them with a coat of DecoArt matte spray varnish. I like using DecoArt staining antiquing medium. You can mix it 1:1 with the color of your choice. I also like that it has a long open time and you can wipe it back with a damp paper towel. I like to remove a little extra antiquing on the faces and the angel dresses, but keep it heavier in the feet.
Once they are dry I seal them with another coat of DecoArt spray varnish.
I hope you enjoy these nativity characters and are inspired to create some for family and friends. It is also a fun family project.
Since it is Christmas I would like to give away a few of these…..so if you would like to be a lucky winner, leave a comment in this post. Anyone who comments until December 25th at midnight will be entered in the contest. I will pick the winners on December 26th.
May you all have a very blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.
And the winners are:
- Scheri Bentsen
- Agnes Ketterman Dobert
- Rosalie Williams
- Kathy Swigon
- Shirley Zink
- Bev Newman
Please Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me on facebook with your mailing addresses.