Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Christmas Nativity Tree Decoration

At last,  I have got to put together an idea I have been mulling over since I found a pack of wooden counters in The Works ..... tah dah .......
I am so chuffed with how my idea turned out.
As well as the counters, I also used modelling clay from a set of 12 pastel shades from Das also from The Works  https://www.theworks.co.uk/p/modelling-clay/ads-modelling-clay-pastel-colour-collection---set-of-12/8000144006045
The hardest part was working out how to make a simple piece of scenery that would act as a base for the figures and also to secure a hook to hang it from.
In the end I used old ply domino pieces, a whole one for the background and another cut in two crossways for the base.  It took a bit of cutting, but I got there in the end.  I found in the cutting that where one half of the domino tended to warp, the other side stayed flat and was therefore usable.
I covered the picture part of the domino with a cream linen patterned paper.
I am no modeller, so kept the headdresses for the figures as basic as I could, fitting them individually  to each counter.
I was frightened that the headdress shape might collapse in the oven, so to be on the safe side I "cooked" the figure wearing it as well  (130 degrees for 30 minutes) - however I think next time I would risk it without.

As you can see, my Baby Jesus's were also very basic!
When the figures had cooled down, I carefully removed all the baked clay pretty easily and went on to colour in the bodies using Sharpie pens.
Head dresses were then reapplied with a good dollop of PVA glue and left to dry thoroughly.
It was a conscious decision not to put faces on the figures, my hands are not that steady when working on something so small, and if a face turned out to be a bit dodgy I knew I wouldn't be happy, and it would mither me into starting again.
Next I put the base together.  First I screwed a tiny eye hook in the middle of the full domino piece and added faux stitching using a black fine liner pen round the edges.  
On the back I also added faux stitching and "Away In A Manger" but using a black biro so that the ink wouldn't bleed into the wood.
Using a strong glue I stuck the figures down, again in the centre of the domino, so that it should be pretty much balanced when hung up.  I then stuck on the bottom piece and left it again to dry completely.
The final touches were made by adding a clear flat back star gem which I coloured yellow, a few tiny gold stars and a clusters of three black dots here and there to bring it all together.

Some of the finished decorations are missing their large star, I only had three amongst all my stash, so I have had to order a few more from e-bay.  They also need a hanging thread, probably blue, but I can put that on nearer Christmas when I know who they will be going to.

On closer inspection I think I need to gently sand the part of the bottom domino where it was cut.  Only I would probably notice that it is a little rough, but it's one of thoses things that I would also mither over.