Using a plain unpainted nativity set and the prettiest (fool-proof!) pearly paint, this easy Christmas craft is the perfect holiday project for kids!
I’ve obviously got nativities on the brain! I posted last week about my favorite modern nativity sets. And then when we were setting up our Christmas decorations the other day, I had a wild idea that we NEED a rainbow nativity set!
My Christmas decor is “Merry and Bright,” or as my husband calls it, “Fiesta Psychedelic Christmas.” lol We were married in San Antonio, so I will totally embrace the Fiesta part! I love the bright pinks and teal and purple and all the glittery things!
Last year, I made rainbow Christmas cones for my mantle. This year its a rainbow nativity set. Aren’t you pumped to see what next year holds?!
If you love the rainbow Christmas trend, like I do, check out this post of my favorite colorful DIY Christmas decorations. So many pretty projects!
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Painting a nativity set
My original plan was to find a cheap (read: ugly) nativity set and re-paint it in solid rainbow colors. But I struggled to find the right size for the right price. I think it would pain me to paint anything that cost over like $25. That’s an expensive crafting experiment!
I did find an unpainted nativity set though, and was able to get it for $9 on Black Friday! SCORE! So that’s what we went with this year. The figures are a little more child-like than I wanted, so I decided to make this more of a Christmas craft for kids thing instead.
But I’m still going to keep an eye out for a more modern set for me to paint. I’ve got time. 😉
Unpainted nativity set (or this nativity set would work too)
Martha Stewart Pearlized Acrylic Paint
Small paint brushes
I think the pearlized paint is the real MVP of this project. The finish is super forgiving, and doesn’t really show brush streaks or fingerprints. Little kids aren’t always the best little painters, but the pearlized paint produces a really pretty, finished look.
The colors I used are:
Mother of Pearl
I had 10 figures to paint, and in order to figure out which piece should be which color, I set them up like I was planning on displaying them. Then I took a picture and used a photo editing app to “color” each figurine so I could decide the right order.
If for some reason you don’t love bright happy rainbow colors (are you dead inside? lol), you could totally paint this nativity in whatever colors you’d like. I think pearly white, gold and/or silver would be pretty, or even traditional colors.
How to make a rainbow painted nativity set
Luckily this set is pretty much ready to go! We didn’t bother prepping or sanding or anything. We just opened the box, poured out some paint, and started painting! I like using paper plates for these types of projects, they’re disposable and have a nice rim to prevent spills.
Also, shirts optional. lol
Originally, I had just planned to paint the figurines myself. But my kids BEGGED to let them paint. So i caved. They each got to paint 2 pieces, and I painted the rest.
I was worried that I’d have to touch them up, because I thought they’d be smudgy and glumpy, but they turned out pretty great! That pearlized finish is so forgiving, its hard to mess it up.
We just did one coat of paint on each figurine, and didn’t need to put a gloss or varnish on top. Super easy Christmas craft for kids, just paint and let dry!
Let me know if you’d like to see more craft projects that include kids. Crafting is so fun and therapeutic for me, sometimes I just want to work on projects by myself! But I know my kids love to paint and make things too, so I’m trying to do projects with them as well.
Merry Christmas, friends!
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