A nativity play is a traditional part of Christmas celebrations for many. Most nativity plays are put on by church or school groups rather than by professional theatre companies. Therefore, it could well happen that you find yourself pitching in to make costumes, build props or paint scenery. Painting a simple Bethlehem backdrop is a great way to add visual interest to a nativity play and it doesn't necessarily have to be taxing.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Muslin backdrop
- Pencil and paper
- Drop cloths
- Scene paint
Measure your backdrop. You will need to know how tall and wide it is, and how much of the area will be visible to the audience.
Sketch your backdrop with a pencil on paper. Decide what elements you want to include in your image before you start putting paint on canvas.
Transfer your design to the backdrop by drawing faint outlines in pencil. Create a city skyline with a main building in the centre. Above the building should be a large, bright star. Dot other, smaller stars around the sky.
Place drop cloths on the floor of your working area. Hang up your backdrop or lay it flat above the dropcloths.
Paint the design. Vary the colours of scenic items, using different shades of brown to give building walls an uneven, natural effect and different shades of dark blue to create patterns in the sky. Paint the large star yellow, then highlight it in a brighter yellow shade.
Tips and warnings
- Ordinary house emulsion paint will work for a backdrop, but scene paint is preferable. It works better on fireproofed backdrops and can be more easily thinned.
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