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I’ve been obsessed with Willow Tree People ever since I first saw one and it took my breath away. There’s just something about them I love; the simple, humble, emotional aspect maybe. Whatever it is, I’m a big fan and have several on display throughout my house.
It’s no surprise that I am drawn to wooden peg dolls for the same reason: they are rustic, simple, and beautiful.
I used wooden peg dolls to make my favorite craft of all time: the wooden peg people nativity scene I shared about here.
But there’s another craft project (and gorgeous handmade gift idea!) that can be made from a few wooden peg dolls, fabric scraps, and hot glue.
Introducing the HOLY FAMILY NATIVITY SET – a visual reminder of the reason for the Christmas season.
(Below is a video tutorial, or keep reading for step-by-step instructions.)
Much like Willow Tree People, this simple DIY Holy Family Nativity set (which includes Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus) is classic, simple, and beautiful. And it too takes my breath away.
Here’s how to make them!
How to Make a DIY Holy Family Nativity – Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Step 1. Gather Supplies
- Wooden Peg Dolls
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Fabric scraps, string
- Holy Family Printable Pattern (ready for you as a free download in my resource library!)
Step 2. Make Baby Jesus
Of the three people in the holy family, Baby Jesus is the easiest and fastest to make.
Using the free printable pattern from the resource library, cut a square of burlap.
Trim off a small corner of the square to make it easier to swaddle Jesus up.
Lay the small peg doll in the middle of the square. Put a dab of hot glue onto the middle of the body.
Fold the trimmed corner of the burlap up and press into glue.
Once dry, put another dab of glue in the center of the body.
Wrap the left corner of the blanket across the middle of the body and into the glue to secure.
Once dry, put another dab of glue in the center of the body. Wrap the right corner of the blanket across the body and secure into the glue.
Another small dab of glue might be needed in the very corner to get the blanket to wrap tightly and completely around Jesus.
Baby Jesus is complete!
Step 3. Make Mary
There are three pieces needed to make Mary.
- Mary’s body fabric
- Mary’s head covering
- Mary’s belt
Using the free patterns, cut a rectangle body piece and a head covering piece from the fabrics of your choice.
MARY’S BODY FABRIC
Apply hot glue around the body of the peg doll.
Wrap the body piece around the doll, and secure the overlapping fabric in the back with glue.
Trim any excess overlap if needed.
MARY’S HEAD COVERING
Using the detailed description I outlined in my post on how to make a wooden peg doll nativity scene, add a head covering to Mary.
Apply glue across the top of the head from one side to the other, as if wearing a headband.
Lay head covering fabric into glue.
Add a dab of glue to the back of the head, and press fabric down into glue.
Add a line of glue down the back of the head and back of Mary. Fold the left side into the glue line, as pictured below.
Add another line of glue down the middle of the back. Fold the right edge of the fabric in to the glue. Let dry.
(To see a detailed step by step of how to add a head covering, see the MARY section in the DIY Nativity Scene post here.)
Cut a section of string for Mary’s belt.
Tie it tightly around the body of the peg doll. Knot it in the center.
Apply a very small dab of glue to the back of the knot to help secure it and prevent it from moving or sliding off.
Step 4. Make Joseph
Like Mary, there are three parts for Joseph as well; body fabric, head covering, and belt.
Using the pattern printouts, cut the fabric rectangles.
JOSEPH’S BODY FABRIC
Following the same process as Mary, glue on Joseph’s body fabric piece.
JOSEPH’S HEAD COVERING
Follow the same method for attaching the head covering for Joseph.
As I explained in the nativity scene tutorial, the two front corners of Joseph’s burlap head covering will flare out and need to be secured to his body to lay properly.
Add a tiny dab of glue to the insides of the two bottom corners of the head covering, and secure to the Joseph’s body.
Cut a section of leather cord for Joseph’s belt.
Wrap it around the body and knot it.
You can add a dab of glue to the back of the knot for extra security, but I didn’t glue Joseph’s belt. It is thicker and more sturdy than Mary’s thin belt, so it stays in place without glue.
THE HOLY FAMILY
There they are, the holy family! Mary, Baby Jesus, and Joseph.
Mary and Joseph stand up on their own.
Baby Jesus can be propped up against the other two, but the folded burlap makes him tippy without support.
They can be displayed standing up, or with Baby Jesus laying down in front of them.
The three of them can also be tied together with a piece of twine, and displayed that way.
This creates a sense of unity; like they belong together.
This Holy Family nativity set is very Willow-Tree-People-inspired to me.
The rustic feel, the simple design.
I love the faceless wooden people, the muted colors in the clothes, and the humble yet powerful message they convey.
This is a beautiful addition to home decor or Christmas decorations; it would make an amazing Christmas gift too.
It would be perfect for a Sunday School teacher, but honestly I think everyone would love it.
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