Skip to Content

Wooden DIY Nativity Set for a Modern Holiday

This DIY wooden nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

How to Make A Wooden DIY Nativity Set

Hi there! Jennifer from Brave New Home here to share what will likely be my last holiday project of the season – a modern DIY nativity scene.

I’ve been wanting a nativity set for years but they’re pricey and I was having trouble finding one that wasn’t too kitschy. What better reason to DIY than saving money and nailing your own style?

Wooden Nativity Set

Wooden peg people and balls

For this modern DIY nativity, you will need

  • 3″ wooden dolls – 7
  • 2″ wooden doll – 1
  • 1 1/8″ wooden doll – 1
  • 1 1/2″ wooden ball – 1
  • 1″ balls – 2
  • Small wooden bowl
  • Cardboard
  • Chopsticks
  • Toothpicks
  • Acrylic paint
  • Felt
  • Brown paper bag
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paintbrushes (including detail brushes)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Craft knife
Drawing on wood peg dolls with a pencil

Using the pencil, sketch out your designs on the peg dolls. You can add the shape of the hands, clothing, hair, and more (you’re going to paint over these lines).

Wood ball on a sanding block

Sand the wood balls so that they sit flat, since they are going to be individual animals.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

Begin painting. The key is to paint individual layers. Paint one layer, let dry, and then come back and paint another layer. When it comes to doing the hands, hair, and faces, use detail brushes to paint.

Small wooden bowl and chopsticks

To make the manger, cut the tips off of two pairs of chopsticks. I wanted the bassinet to have the look of a MCM bullet planter for a more modern feel.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

Hot glue these pieces to the bottom part of the bowl. Paint the manger with white acrylic paint.

hot gluing cardboard into a barn shape

Construct a barn from cardboard, using the general shape above. I had originally planned to make one out of wood, but I wanted to build a prototype out of cardboard first.

I liked the way the cardboard looked so much, that I decided to keep it for this nativity. I may just use the wood I bought for a different project!

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

After hot gluing the barn together, use a craft knife to cut out a window.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

Cut a few toothpicks down to size with scissors. Hot glue them together to form a star pattern. Then hot glue the star to the top of the barn, on the cardboard.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

For the angel wings, cut a pair loosely out of white felt. Hot glue them to the back of the angel peg doll.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

Cut pieces of brown paper bag and crumple them to create the “hay” in the manger.

Then all you need to do is style your wooden nativity scene.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

This is a great craft to do with older kids.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

Or it can be given as a gift since the pieces are pretty kid-friendly.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

These wooden doll pieces will be easy to store, and I won’t have to worry about them breaking like many other holiday decorations.

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

If you wanted to make a more elaborate DIY nativity scene, you could embellish the barn by adding a roof, and decorating the inside with a theme. Or you could add more animals. It’s really up to you!

Yield: 1 nativity

Wooden Nativity Set

This DIY nativity set with wood peg dolls is budget friendly and not too kitschy. If you love modern, this set is for you!

This wooden nativity scene is easy to make and easy to paint.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $15

Materials

  • 3" wooden dolls - 7
  • 2" wooden doll - 1
  • 1 1/8" wooden doll - 1
  • 1 1/2" wooden ball - 1
  • 1" balls - 2
  • Small wooden bowl
  • Cardboard
  • Chopsticks
  • Toothpicks
  • Acrylic paint
  • Felt - white
  • Brown paper bag

Tools

  • Pencil
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Sanding block or sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes (including detail brushes)
  • Craft knife

Instructions

  1. Using the pencil, sketch out your designs on the peg dolls. You can add the shape of the hands, clothing, hair, and more (you're going to paint over these lines).
  2. Sand the wood balls so that they sit flat, since they are going to be individual animals.
  3. Begin painting. The key is to paint individual layers. Paint one layer, let dry, and then come back and paint another layer. When it comes to doing the hands, hair, and faces, use detail brushes to paint.
  4. To make the manger, cut the tips off of two pairs of chopsticks. Hot glue these pieces to the bottom part of the bowl.
  5. Paint the manger white with acrylic paint.
  6. Construct a barn from cardboard, using the scissors and a hot glue gun.
  7. After hot gluing the barn together, use a craft knife to cut out a window.
  8. Cut a few toothpicks down to size with scissors. Hot glue them together to form a star pattern. Then hot glue the star to the top of the barn, on the cardboard.
  9. For the angel wings, cut a pair loosely out of white felt. Hot glue them to the back of the angel peg doll.
  10. Cut pieces of brown paper bag to create the "hay" in the manger.
  11. Style your wooden nativity set to your heart's desire.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

Would you like to see some of my favorite Christmas projects? Click on any of the following holiday decor posts:

If you've never used washi tape, the holidays are the perfect time. These 15 DIY Christmas washi tape crafts are perfect for gifts and home decor. Use for wrapping, tree cards, ornaments and more. You'll love these ideas!
Previous
15 Festive Christmas Washi Tape Crafts
Have you ever wanted to make a Christmas tree skirt? It's easier than you think. These 16 ideas are pretty and easy - you'll have a tree skirt in no time!
Next
16 Ways to Make a Christmas Tree Skirt

Erin

Friday 2nd of November 2018

Do you know how much it cost to make this nativity set? I would love to do it but am not sure it's feasible for making for several families as gifts.

april

Thursday 25th of October 2018

would love to know where you found these items to paint. my daughter would absolutely love to try to make these.

Amy

Thursday 25th of October 2018

Hi April! I'd go with Amazon (https://amzn.to/2D5Biu4) or Consumer Crafts (https://fave.co/2OU1Ogw). I believe JoAnns and Michaels might have them, but I'm not sure. I bet Hobby Lobby would as they sell dollhouses.