How to Make a DIY Nativity Scene from Recycled Objects

A Nativity scene is a must-have decoration at Christmas time. But you don't need to buy figurines to have a beautiful Nativity scene - you can actually make your own from recycled products.
How to Make a DIY Nativity Scene from Recycled Objects

Last update: 02 February, 2019

At Christmas time, no home, school, office or town square is complete without a nativity scene. It is a great way to decorate and create a truly festive atmosphere. In this article, we’ll show you how to make a great nativity scene using recycled products.

Any object or material that you might automatically throw out could actually be reused for something else. By doing this, you’re helping to save the environment. Plus, even if you need to throw them out once you’ve reused them a second time, you should always put them in the recycling if possible.

However, at Christmas time, it’s common to think that everything has to be new, expensive, and impressive. But it doesn’t have to be this way! As long as you can shape and decorate it the way you want, you can make a great nativity from almost any material.

A family affair – setting up the nativity scene

A nativity scene can be made from almost any material.

Setting up the nativity scene is a deep-rooted tradition that goes back centuries. At Christmas time, a nativity is an essential part of the festive decor, along with other decorations such as the Christmas tree, lights, and tinsel.

For many people, it’s important to maintain traditions, and pass them on to their children. Because it is a very simple activity, the whole family can take part, and everyone can set up the nativity scene together.

So, why not make your own nativity scene, in the same way that children put on a nativity play, make decorations and decorate their classrooms at school? Everyone can get involved, as long as you’re on hand to help out.

– The nativity scene has a long history dating back hundreds of years; it’s a tradition that should not be lost. 

Make your own nativity scene: recycled containers

Actimel pots are the perfect shape for making the characters for your nativity scene.

Everyone has a duty to recycle. Instead of throwing out containers and plastic packaging every day, why not try and reuse them? Let’s take a look at some of the different ways you can recycle plastic containers, and see how you could use them to create your own nativity scene:

  • Yogurt pots can be really useful for making anything from castles to buildings
  • You can also use Actimel bottles. They are narrower at the top and wider at the bottom, so they are the perfect shape for making people.
  • Tin cans: these could be used to make a fountain, a bowl for food or straw, or even for baby Jesus’ manger.
  • Glass jars: these are useful for holding candles to simulate a campfire. You can also simply use them for keeping things in.

Reusing wood or cardboard boxes

Even the simplest objects can be used to make a really fun nativity scene.

People often throw out cardboard and wood, when it can actually be reused for a whole variety of different things, other than its original purpose. Here are some of the most interesting ideas:

  • Shoe boxes: these can be used to make the stable for your nativity scene. They have the perfect width and depth, and if they’re brown, you won’t even need to paint them.
  • Glue some cardboard boxes together to build a castle or houses.
  • Wooden crates or boxes, like those you can buy fruit in, can be really useful for making buildings. You could even cut your box into smaller pieces, and use it to make a cart.

Don’t throw out those old eggs you’re not going to eat

Another way to make a nativity scene is to use eggs. We often throw them out when they go out of date, but at Christmas, you can actually use them for something else.

  • Give each egg a painted nose, mouth, hair and eyes to create all the different characters for your nativity scene, including the donkey and the ox.
  • This will give your nativity a fun, and almost comical look. 
  • You’ll also need to glue on fabric and other items to make them look more realistic.

Other interesting options

Modeling clay has always been a great way to create people, houses, plants and much more. Plus, children love playing with it and making different things.

Cardboard tubes are also great for making people. You can also use aluminum foil for making rivers. Sand or straw can also really help to set the scene, both for making roads and for recreating the natural surroundings.

It might interest you...
5 Tips for Decorating your Home for Christmas
Decor Tips
Read it in Decor Tips
5 Tips for Decorating your Home for Christmas

With the arrival of Christmas comes a flurry of new and exciting ways to decorate your home for the festive season. Take a look at some of our top ...

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Spörr, Walter; Von Mehart, Nenna: Cómo hacer belenes, Ceac, 2003.