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How To Create A Beautiful Outdoor Nativity Scene

I want to share with you how to create a beautiful outdoor nativity scene. Here you'll find the step by step & materials used in pictures & also in a video.

outdoor nativity scene

The holiday season is fast approaching.  This means I’ll be flying to the San Francisco Bay Bay right after Thanksgiving to to a Christmas decorating job that I’ve done for years. A large nativity scene graces the front corner of my client’s front yard and gets lit every night when the spotlights turn on. It includes a stable custom designed by a carpenter and figures bought over time from different manufacturers, many of which I’ve painted to accent the detailing.

I want to share with you how I create this beautiful outdoor nativity scene, step by step. There’s a video at the end so you can see how I put this together.

outdoor nativity scene

1)  The figures are all brought down from the garage attic . The green kidney-shaped board that you see behind Mary & Joseph is what the figures get attached to. This is an artificial lawn which stakes can’t be hammered into.

outdoor nativity scene

2)  Mike puts the stable together. It’s weathered & slightly warped which makes it look more like an old structure. The 1st year it was put up I painted & stained the plywood because it just looked too new.

outdoor nativity scene

3)  Here’s the stable put together.

The stable is very simple, just like the 1 in Bethlehem would have been.

outdoor nativity scene

4)  Mary, Jesus & Joseph get placed 1st, followed by the angels. The Bethlehem Star is positioned on a shepherd’s hook behind the stable. Everything needs to be wired or secured with fishing line because this is in a valley just 7 blocks from the Pacific Ocean & the winter winds can blow like crazy. We learned this the hard way – the 2nd year many of the figures took flight & had to be repaired or replaced.

outdoor nativity scene

5)  The Gloria Angel is wired at the top.

outdoor nativity scene

6)  The donkey & the ox are added in. They, & the Gloria Angel, are the only figures which came painted. The others were all creamy white & I took the paint bush to them.

outdoor nativity scene

7) The large kneeling angels are the most recent addition. They’re actually a cement grey color & I brushed the wings with gold Modern Masters paint last year. I love these paints & used various colors to accent all the other figures.

outdoor nativity scene

8)  The wise men & the camels are positioned.

outdoor nativity scene

9)  The shepherds, drummer boy & sheep are next.

outdoor nativity scene

10)  Although you’ve seen the palm fronds in some of the above pics, they’re added in last after all the figures are secured. The fronds, cut from the Canary Island Date Palm in the back yard, also gets wired to screws on top of the stable. They’re also placed on & around the green platforms to hide the edges.

Last is the placement of the spotlights. This is very important because the viewing of this nativity scene is most effective at night.

You can see how this outdoor nativity scene gets created:

May peace, love & joy be yours this holiday season & throughout the coming year,

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  1. This is beautiful, Nell!

  2. Hello, I have the same Joseph, Mary and Jesus I purchased used. I love the set and have been searching like crazy for the manufacture, I’m wanting more information on them plus more figurines from the same company.
    Could you please provide me with any information you have on the them. Thank you and Marry Christmass

  3. Christmas Sorry for the misspell caught just as I was posting LOL

  4. BTW you did an awesome job with the nativity scene, everything looks great.

  5. Thank you Darrell! My client purchased the Mary, Jesus & Joseph when she was visiting Portugal & had them shipped to California. I don’t know the manufacturer but I know they were made in the Philippines. Most of the other characters came from a company called Roman, Inc. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Happy holidays! Nell

  6. Thank you so much Mary! I just got back from the SF Bay Area where I created this beautiful scene once again. Nell

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