Is your house already decked out with your holiday decor? If you are done decorating, I am jealous! Don’t worry, we are just about done here too, so stay tuned.
So, this year I’ve been bound and determined to be prepared, and I started on my outdoor decor early.  So, I actually made this DIY Christmas Nativity set a few weeks ago. I have to give a huge SHOUT OUT to my friend Judy who has a nativity set like these that caught my eye last year. So, I asked her if I could use hers as my pattern to make a set of my own. I love friends like that! She rocks.
I love how simple it is and the nativity characters look classy and modern.
Christmas Nativity set for front yard 
The nativity set is also super festive and a great reminder of what the holidays are really about. I need that reminder too. Hustle and bustle can get the best of all of us this time of year, right?yard nativity set
All you need is:
  • Two 4’X8’ sheets of 1/2 inch ply wood, I had the folks at Home Depot cut the boards in half for me
  • Three cans of Rustoleum Gold Metallic Spray paint
  • One dowel for the Shepard’s Cane
  • Three 1X2X8 boards and a way to cut them
  • Nine hinges
  • a Jigsaw {we recommend using a corded jigsaw instead of a cordless jigsaw, the batteries go fast}.
  • Six clear transparencies
  • and an overhead projector

After you have gathered your supplies, you need to print out the pattern for the nativity {found below} onto transparencies and use an old school overhead projector to trace the bad boys onto the wood. If you live in Southern Utah, you can come over and trace mine {seriously I wouldn’t mind a bit}.
IMG_2100[1] nativity set 009 
Then, with your trusty jigsaw, cut out those bad boys. If you have a handy hubby, he will be super excited to help. {ahem, hopefully} But really, it isn’t hard to cut these bad boys out yourself. I wanted to see just how hard it is to use the jigsaw, so I tried it. I did pretty well all. by. myself. :) I’m lucky to have Dan do a lot of my dirty work and to let the truth be told, he cut mine out, but you don’t need your own Dan for this project. I promise. You can do it.
nativity set 005    gold-spray-paint  
They will look something like this when you get them cut out.
nativity patternIMG_2111[1]
Then take your spray paint and coat those bad boys with gold. I used Rustoleum metallic gold. I only needed 3 cans to do both the front and backs of the entire set. I tried several gold spray paints and this is the one that performed the best. You do not need primer, the paint adheres great without it.
nativity pattern 5 IMG_2126[1]nativity pattern 2nativity pattern 1
nativity pattern 3 nativity pattern 4
Then you need to install hinges and boards on the back for your nativity characters to stand up with. Cut the boards as long as you need them {depending on your yard incline}, and stand them up in their spots. 
hinges hinges IMG_2144[1]
Don’t forget to paint the dowel and stick it in the ground by the Shepard’s arm.
Voila! Your house will be the favorite in your neighborhood this holiday season!
nativity set in the dark

For the entire set, we spent right around $50.00. Not bad for a nativity that will last for years and years! Judy has had hers for over 20 years! She just repaints them when they need a little TLC. I hope you like them!


  1. says

    Nice idea, I like it but In this Christmas you can also decor your Christmas tree with beer bottles which is very unique, you can also used pine cone for decor your Christmas tree.

  2. says

    Love it! My grandpa made me pieces of a wooden nativity for this year… we were going to stake them into the ground but we can't get our stakes in deep enough! I like the hinge idea, but do they fall over? I guess it's windier here in texas than there, but maybe it would work still?

  3. Brooke @ says

    You can decorate with all sorts of used items, you are right, but beer bottles? HA! I don't drink, so that doesn't appeal to me. But, to some that may be really fun.

  4. Julie Boarder says

    This is lovely. I don't think it will get made at our house in time for this Christmas, but perhaps December 2013! I think it would look great with our snow around it too :-)

  5. says

    You were able to do this with only two 4×8 sheets of plywood?? It looks like it would take more. I love it, I'm going to show it to my David and see if it will motivate him to want to take it on! He's very handy and does all kinds of stuff for me. :) How big or small are the dimensions of the larger pieces?

  6. Brooke @ says

    Jamie! I'm sure Pila is going to HATE me now! I have that impact on husbands at times. I hope you are doing well! xoxo.

  7. Brooke @ says

    Sarah, They haven't fallen over yet, but it isn't windy here much. I bet it would be worth it to try the hinges.

  8. Brooke @ says

    For sure! The snow would just make it look more GOLD. We don't have snow in Southern Utah, but I bet it would be beautiful with snow around it!

  9. Lori says

    Brooke I have wanted to do this for years!! I am so glad I can now show this to my hubbby and get this done for next year. Though at the moment my fingertips are painted white – I'm following your spray painting tips for a project I just build for my daughter's room! I hope it comes out half as good as your stuff. :)

  10. Brooke @ says

    Annette, it definitely fits on two sheets. The patterns may have to be separated into individual pieces to fit. I don't remember which ones were actually traced together, and when I did the project I used my friend's set as my pattern, so I had to make these patterns in photoshop. SO, you may have to play around with the patterns, but they definitely all fit on 2 sheets.

  11. Brooke @ says

    Lori!!! Good luck! You have to send me a picture of your project. FOR SURE. I want to see. If it makes you feel better, I am speckled with gold glitter. HA! XOXO.

  12. says

    Thank you so much for the pictures, templates and supply list for this project. I am the youth pastor of a church in Illinois and knew this was the perfect nativity for our church. This Saturday morning, I gave the templates and supply list to one of our avid woodworkers. Today, I came into church to find the completed scene waiting for me to paint it. I'll get busy on that tomorrow, and by Wednesday we hope to have it displayed. Our church sets on the same street as our local grade, high and middle schools, so we get lots of traffic! This is such a simple and beautiful reminder of the season. Thanks for your inspiration!

  13. says

    Brooke, I just found your Nativity project on Pinterest. I used to make my yard art out of plywood. Then I found I can buy corrugated plastic in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets. Corrugated plastic is the material real estate signs are made of. The corrugated plastic costs about the same, it cuts easily with a jig saw, it is durable, it is light-weight and it is already white. And you can get sheets in many colors. See my Pinterest,

    I stand my yard art up with zip ties and electrical conduit posts (about $2 for ten foot piece).

    • Brooke says

      Nancy, if you click on the images, it will take you to another page where you can save the images. Does that make sense?


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