Handmade Gift Challenge: DIY Primitive Nativity Set Ornaments

If you are looking for a personal, yet inexpensive Christmas gift for a neighbor or co-worker- these primitive nativity set ornaments are for you!

I made six of these nativity set ornaments for under ten bucks!

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-UnleashedI did all six sets in one afternoon. Assembly-line style. The kids can even help you with the painting and sanding!

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-2Supplies needed to make your own DIY primitive nativity set ornaments:

Total: 6 sets for $18.68 or less (depending what you have on hand) = $3.11 per set or less

a5I always begin painting the lightest colors first- so start with the flesh colored paint.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a7Here is a tip to make it easier to paint your small wooden furniture buttons- apply some paint to the bottom of the button, and use the paint to “stick” the button to a piece of scrap paper. Once the button is “stuck” you can paint easily over the top and sides of the button, without it sliding around on you. The bottom of the button will not show, so do not be worried about paper sticking to it!

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a6Then move on to the darker paint colors.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a8When painting the darker colors, it does not have to be perfect. One coat will be fine. We will be sanding it and adding some distress to the figures for a worn,  primitive look.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a9When all of the nativity set figures are painted, set them aside and allow them to dry completely.

While they are drying, you can begin assembling your babies.

Cut your muslin into approximately 3″x3″ squares. Lay a cotton ball in the middle of the square.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a10Start wrapping that cotton ball like you would a baby.

Begin by folding the top flap down- (where it would cover a baby’s head) and continue folding. Keep the bundle in proportion to your figures- wrap tightly and secure with hot glue.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a11Be careful with the hot glue here- I chose to use my Hot Glue Gun tools, after I burned myself a few times. (I figured my burn-my-fingers vulgarities were not appropriate for this particular project.)

You should end up with a bundle that looks like this (above)- if you folded the top flap down.

Using hot glue, attach your painted button to the bundle. I tried to tuck part of the button into the bundle a bit.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a12Continue until you have six baby bundles.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a13By this time, your painted nativity set figures should be dry.

Take some sandpaper to the figures. I did not sand the heads- just the darker painted areas.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a14When the nativity set figures are sanded, wipe them with a cloth.

Then, using a small amount of brown paint on a cotton ball, go over the entire figure.  You want a very thin layer of paint.  This will make it look distressed and primitive.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a15When the brown layer of paint has dried- you will want to add a head covering.

Cut a 3″ circle from your muslin. This does not need to be a perfect circle- just eyeball it. Then cut it in half.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a16Add a thin line of hot glue around the head of your figure.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a17Then carefully add the cut muslin. Don’t burn yourself! ( I barely had any fingerprints left by now.)

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a18Now you can glue your nativity set couple together with hot glue.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a19Attach your baby bundle with hot glue, and tie the whole thing with jute!

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a20Repeat with the rest of your nativity set figures.

You can be done here, or if you would like to turn your project into an ornament- it is very easy to do so.

Just add a section of jute to the back of the nativity set.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a4DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a3You will need to secure the jute loop to the heads of the figures, or they will fall forward when they are hanging.

Then add a star to the top of the jute. I created my stars out of cardstock following an easy tutorial for folding 3D stars.


Run hot glue down the sides of two of the star’s “feet?” (prongs? legs?) Then, attach the star to the loop on your jute.

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-a2Now your mini nativity set is ready to hang!

DIY-nativity-set-ornaments-Crafts-Unleashed-3A wonderful reminder of the reason for the Christmas season.



About Shaunte

Shaunte is a 30-something, chocolate-loving, SAHM from Utah. She has been scrapbooking since 1997, the dreaded era of photos cropped with deco scissors. Since then, her work has evolved into a clean, linear, photo-focused style. Her favorite subjects to scrap are her husband and five kids (never a lack for subject material there).


  1. Leslie says

    I ordered all the wood pieces for this project, but the furniture buttons are far larger than what the company sent to you. I don’t feel that I can use them. I am so disappointed. They do not have a smaller button. Any ideas where I might find the size buttons you were sent? Perhaps the link posted in your instructions is the wrong one?

    • Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor} says

      We are so sorry about that, Leslie! The small buttons are no longer available and we removed the link. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  2. says

    I am super excited to try making this for my kids’ ornaments for this Christmas. I would love to also do a grouping of the three wisemen, another of a couple shepherds with sheep, and another of 3 angels together. Do you have suggestions for what I could use for little “gifts” for the wisemen to hold? Or suggestions for the sheep? Or for the halos for the angels? I’m not typically very crafty, but I loved this tutorial and would love, love, love, to make an entire nativity set in groups!

  3. says

    I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your ornament! You can see it here:


    If you have other kid friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *