This post is written by guest blogger, Catie. She loves coming up with ideas and dragging her family into helping her achieve them, just like this DIY project!
Part of the joys of the holiday season for me is the preparation. Brainstorming, planning and researching the best gifts, shopping with my mom and helping my parents decorate their home.
For years my dad has wanted to create a nativity scene for the front yard. We’ve talked about how we would do it, but never really had a great plan for how to put it all together, especially since neither of us are professional wood workers.
But, this fall, I came across this great tutorial by coemarie.com while browsing Pinterest. (this site for now is only found in the archives, so try this link for her original instructions) Its simplicity and beauty finally gave us the confidence to give it a try! So this project became my dad’s birthday gift.
You may be wondering though, is this really a do-it-yourself project? Like most others, as long as you have some help, yes! I had never used a jigsaw before, but it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.
The best part is no matter what design you want to make for your yard, you can use the same instructions. You could make a Santa, snowman, or even a holiday themed word like “JOY” or “NOEL.” The possibilities are endless!
This holiday diy project I spent LESS than $100! We actually had a coupon to LOWES so we spent $60 on all the wood, screws and paint supplies.
A few things we learned along the way:
- Buy a couple of new jigsaw blades, you may need more than one. Keep an eye on your blade, make sure it remains tight and follow all of the safety instructions.
- Unless you’re good at freehanding things or have an artistic friend, the easiest way to create the image you want is to print it out, to scale, on regular paper. Here’s the templates we used: manger and lamb, Mary, Joseph. Then, trace it onto your plywood using tracing paper.
If you’ve never used tracing paper, it’s honestly one of my favorite things to use when crafting! You can trace any design you want onto canvas, paper, wood, etc! Plus, each tracing paper sheet is reusable, so you can craft to your heart’s content.
To transfer the design, layout your design and tape it all together so each piece stays in place. Then have someone keep the design aligned as you lift it up to place your tracing paper below, in between the wood and your design. Take a pencil and draw around your design. The design will then be transferred to your wood below. Before taking the paper all the way up, make sure you didn’t miss a spot!
- The easiest way we found to do sharp turns on the jigsaw is to drill a hole in the corners throughout the design. Make sure the drill bit that you use is slightly wider than the blade you’re working with.
- Once you’ve cut out the shapes with the jigsaw, sand down all the edges to prevent you from getting splinters and to make painting easier.
- When you paint, be sure it’s at least 60-70 degrees and you’re able to place it in the sunlight to dry. Of course you can paint colder than this, but it will take much longer for it to fully dry.
- We started with just the 2x4 stakes, but the ground was too hard for us to drive these into it. We ended up having to buy metal fence posts that we attached them to. The picture shows how we screwed two screws into the 2x4 and then tightened a ziptie from those around the metal fence post to hold it in place.
Once we finished with this nativity scene diy project, we were thrilled with the results! My dad even texted a picture later with it all lit up that said, “Happy Birthday to Jesus...and me!” HA!
If you decide to tackle this project, as always, wear protective eye gear and possibly even ear protection as the saw can be quite loud. Follow all the safety precautions so you can enjoy your new decorations for years to come!
We will continue our Yuletide DIY series through December, so be sure to check back for more! Looking for simple affordable hostess gifts? Try this Yuletide DIY gift!