Clay Pot Nativity

Kelli Mahoney

This is a fun Christmas project for you and your family. It creates a toy-like nativity that is both a conversation piece and family activity. The pieces can be as ornate or simple as you would like.



  • 6-2 inch tall clay pots
  • 1-1/2 inch clay pot
  • 6-wooden doll heads
  • 1-small wooden bead
  • acrylic paint in dark blue, light blue, yellow, purple, green, white, black, brown, tan, silver, red, gold, and flesh (colors can vary upon your preference)
  • felt (dark blue, light blue, yellow, white)
  • Modge Podge
  • quilt batting


  1. Each character is made in the same fashion. Paint each pot a different color. In this case, Joseph is dark blue, Mary is light blue, the Wise Men are yellow, green, and purple, Jesus is gold, and the Angel is white. You will probably need at least two coats of paint. You can also paint a pattern on each for their clothing. On Mary and Joseph, I painted praying hands (flesh paint) and sleeves (use light blue on Joseph for outline and dark blue on Mary). I painted buttons on two wise men and pleats on the third (just use a different color than the base paint).
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  3. Paint 4 of the doll heads using the flesh color paint, one doll head brown, and one doll head tan.
  4. Paint the small wooden bead flesh color (this is for the Baby Jesus).
  5. Paint the 1/2 inch clay pot gold.
  6. Once the doll heads dry, you can paint on the eyes. Use the opposite end of a small paintbrush or a toothpick. Dip the end in paint and just dot on the eyes. You can use black paint for all the eyes or vary the colors.
  7. On Joseph, dip the paintbrush in black paint and then dab it on a paper towel. Dry brush on his beard, mustache, and hair.
  8. Do the same for Mary's hair, but use brown paint.
  9. You can put hair on the wise men, or leave them bald. I put a mustache and beard on one, a balding head on another, and no hair on the last - just to make them all a bit different.
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  11. For the angel, I painted on a silver halo, and painted the rim of the flowerpot silver.
  12. If you want to seal everything, use Modge Podge in gloss or matte to seal the paint.
  13. Once everything is dry, you can glue the doll heads to the bottom of the flowerpots. Use a glue gun or double sided tape. They adhere better to the paint and wood better.
  14. Then cut a half oval out of the dark blue and light blue felt. The length should be about 3 inches long, but you can trim it to fit your figurine. The dark blue felt will go on the Joseph figurine. With Joseph's hood, you can glue or tape the straight edge of the felt a little past the very top of the head. Then glue or tape the front just where it sets on the figurine. In the back, glue or tape the bottom of the rounded edge to the base. Do the same for Mary, but the front end should start closer to her forehead.
  15. Then cut angel wings out of the white felt. For this angel, I folded the felt in half and cut out a heart shape. Then paint the edges silver, and attach to the back of the angel.
  16. For the one wise man, I cut a strip of yellow felt and wrapped it around his head for a turban effect.
  17. When putting the nativity on display, it is simple to just lay down some quilt batting and place the figures on it. I used a small box underneath the batting to give the angel some height. Also, you can use straw or rocks to give the baby Jesus a bed.

November 30, 20050 found this helpful

Those are too cute! Thanks for sharing!


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December 1, 20050 found this helpful


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December 1, 20050 found this helpful

These are so adorable!! Thanks for sharing.

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August 19, 20100 found this helpful

I am so in love with this nativity! thanks for a great idea on something to do with those tiny tiny terra cotta pots!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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