Making a Clay Pot Nativity

Kelli Mahoney
November 30, 2005

Small clay pot nativity characters.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.




  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.
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  16. 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.
  17. For the one wise man, I cut a strip of yellow felt and wrapped it around his head for a turban effect.
  18. 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.

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3 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

October 18, 2006

Some years ago I made a nativity which was in a flowerpot and had Mary, Joseph and Jesus made out of wooden spoons. Would anyone have the pattern for it. I've lost it.

Dianne from Norco, CA


November 7, 20060 found this helpful

I don't know about using wooden spoons...I assume you could substitute the spoons for the beads??? But this is how the kids at our church make theirs....


You will need: 3 mini clay pots (2"), 3 large wooden beads, straw or moss, a gold ring of ribbon, strips of fabric, and tacky glue.

Turn two pots upside down and glue a bead on top of each one, (representing Mary and Joseph). Place one of the fabric strips over Mary's head, the other around Joseph's shoulders. Place straw into the third pot, (represents the manger). Place the third bead (represents Jesus' head) into the straw, then place the gold ribbon around the head of Jesus like a crown.

By Cristie (Guest Post)
November 17, 20070 found this helpful

Our ladies church group made the wooden spoon/clay pot nativity last year (among other crafts), I didn't get to even begin my nativity while there and have no pattern to look at to paint the faces onto the spoons. Does anyone have one?

By Cheryl-Tempe, AZ (Guest Post)
July 26, 20080 found this helpful

I might have the pattern you are be looking for ..Wooden Spoon Nativity. It is darling. The wooden spoons are painted like the characters in the nativity....then stuck in a terra cotta pot.


Contact me at

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September 21, 2009

Where can I buy 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch clay pots for the Clay Pot Nativity?

By Harveyshirley


September 21, 20090 found this helpful

You can find them at your local craft stores especially now with the fall season upon us. Another good option is to see if you have a floral wholesaler, you may be able to call and tell them what you are in search of and they can give a lead. Also try your local plant nursery, especially ones that also carry indoor plants as the size you are looking for are used to start small african violets etc. Also look on line for Michaels arts and crafts as well as Craft warehouse, one last resort is called " The Dollar Store" they are on line and carry this type of stuff as well. Lots of leads and good luck on your project!

October 7, 20090 found this helpful

The only place I know of that sells them in various sizes is a Michael's store. We used to have a Michael's here in Lima, Ohio, but ever since they left Lima it is almost impossible to find anything you need for crafting. We have Joann Fabric and Hobby Lobby but neither even come close to what Michael's has to offer. It's a shame that you have to order online, things that you could and should be able to get at any good crafting store. If you want to check online - go to:
Hope this helps!

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