Instructions for Nativity Costumes

Written by andrea hogue reynolds
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Instructions for Nativity Costumes
Baby Jesus in a manger is central to any Nativity scene. (gesù bambino image by www.conlafotografia.com from Fotolia.com)

Since the early 1200s, a Nativity scene has been a part of the visual decoration and celebration of Christmas. The Nativity scene traditionally depicts the birth of Jesus Christ and those who were involved in this holy Christian event. Saint Francis of Assisi's first representation of the Nativity in 1223 contained only an ox, a donkey, and a manger full of straw, but you can create simple costumes to represent Mary, Joseph, a shepherd, the wise men, and the animals in the stable.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 white flat bedsheets
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Rope or twine
  • Light blue scarf
  • White baby blanket
  • Baby doll
  • 3 dark coloured flat bedsheets
  • 3 small containers
  • Gold spray paint
  • Beige flat bedsheet
  • Brown scarf
  • White shirt
  • White trousers
  • Cotton balls
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Brown or black face paint
  • Brown shirt
  • Brown trousers
  • Large cowbell

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Fold a white bedsheet in half width-wise. Place it on the floor or on a large flat surface. The fold will form the top of Joseph's tunic.

  2. 2

    Cut a circular hole on the fold at the centre of the sheet with scissors. This hole should be large enough to fit over the actor's head, so that the sheet fits over the actor's body and the fold sits comfortably on the actor's shoulders. A hole of 10 inches should fit over an average adult's head, while a hole of 8 inches should fit over an average child's head.

  3. 3

    Measure the actor's waist with the tape measure. Use scissors to cut a length of rope twice as long as the measurement.

  4. 4

    Place the tunic over the actor's head. Tie the rope around the actor's waist to cinch the bedsheet fabric like a belt.

  5. 5

    Trim the fabric at the bottom of the tunic with the scissors so that it falls just above the actor's ankles. This will allow the actor to walk comfortably without stepping on the fabric.

  1. 1

    Fold a white bedsheet in half width-wise.

  2. 2

    Cut a hole on the fold at the centre of the sheet with the scissors. The hole should be large enough to fit over the actress's head, so that the sheet fits over her body and the fold sits comfortably on her shoulders.

  3. 3

    Measure the actress's waist with the tape measure. Use scissors to cut a length of rope twice as long as the measurement.

  4. 4

    Place the tunic over the actress's head. Tie the rope around her waist to cinch the bedsheet fabric like a belt.

  5. 5

    Trim the fabric at the bottom of the tunic with the scissors so that it falls just above the actress's ankles. This will allow her to walk comfortably without stepping on the fabric.

  6. 6

    Wrap the light blue scarf around the actress's head so that her face is visible but most of her hair and neck are covered.

  7. 7

    Wrap the baby doll in a small white blanket. Give it to the actress to hold, representing the baby Jesus.

  1. 1

    Fold three dark coloured bedsheets in half width-wise.

  2. 2

    Cut a hole on the fold at the centre of each of the three sheets with the scissors. Each hole should be large enough to fit over each actor's head, so that the sheet fits over the actor's body and the fold sits comfortably on the actor's shoulders, like a tunic.

  3. 3

    Measure each actor's waist with the tape measure. Use scissors to cut a length of rope twice as long as the measurement.

  4. 4

    Place one tunic over each actor's head. Tie the rope around the actor's waist to cinch the bedsheet fabric like a belt.

  5. 5

    Trim excess fabric at the bottom of each of the three tunics with the scissors so that it falls just above each actor's ankles.

  6. 6

    Paint three small containers with gold spray paint. Allow them to dry completely. Give each actor a gold container to represent the traditional gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

  1. 1

    Fold the beige bedsheet in half width-wise.

  2. 2

    Cut a hole on the fold at the centre of the sheet with the scissors. This hole should be large enough to fit over the actor's head, so that the sheet fits over the actor's body and the fold sits comfortably on the actor's shoulders, like a tunic.

  3. 3

    Measure the actor's waist with the tape measure. Use scissors to cut a length of rope twice as long as the measurement.

  4. 4

    Place the tunic over the actor's head. Tie the rope around the actor's waist to cinch the bedsheet fabric like a belt.

  5. 5

    Trim the fabric at the bottom of the tunic with the scissors so that it falls just above the actor's ankles.

  6. 6

    Drape the brown scarf around the actor's shoulders.

  1. 1

    Glue cotton balls all over the white shirt using the hot glue gun and glue sticks. Allow the glue to cool completely.

  2. 2

    Dress the actor in the cotton-ball-covered white shirt and white trousers.

  3. 3

    Paint the actor's nose with black or brown face paint.

  1. 1

    Dress the actor in the brown trousers and shirt.

  2. 2

    Measure around the actor's head with the tape measure. Cut a length of rope twice as long as that measurement.

  3. 3

    String the cowbell onto the rope. Tie the rope together at the ends to make a circle of rope. Place the rope around the actor's head so that the cowbell rests on the actor's chest.

  4. 4

    Paint the actor's nose with the black or brown face paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep the costumes simple and rustic to make them appear more realistic and authentic.
  • To make Joseph, the shepherd, and the wise men seem more authentic, use brown or black face paint to paint false beards on clean-shaven or young actors' faces.
  • If young children are portraying the animals in your Nativity scene, you may choose not to use the rope and cowbell for the cow costume to avoid a strangulation hazard

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