How a nativity scene is made

Claudio Carletti PRESEPI

How to produce a nativity scene


The first step in creating a Nativity scene is to have an idea in mind of what you are going to do.
Once decided, a sketch will be made in order to define the size of the project and the details to be included in accordance with the size of the figurines that will be placed inside the Nativity scene, since the structures will have to be proportionate to the size of the figurines.

come si realizza un presepe

come si realizza un presepe

Before preparing the various pieces to compose the scenography of the nativity scene you will choose the material to use which can be wood, cork, extruded polystyrene (the compact polystyrene not the one in balls), which is usually preferred, thanks to its easiness of use and also to its lightness.

In this phase, you cut the various parts that will compose an element of the scene based on the measures we have defined in the sketch, also considering the dimensions of the doors and windows.

After having cut all the parts that you will use to make up – for example – a house, unite them with the use of hot glue, to have a greater grip and quick drying.

This operation must be performed for all the structures of the Nativity scene.



With the help of a pyrography or tin soldering iron, it is possible to engrave the stones and bricks on the walls of the houses.

This is the procedure to follow:

With the welder engrave the stones in a very delicate way (in order to avoid perforating the polystyrene), drawing the shapes of the stones and bricks, using a photograph to get a precise idea of ​​how they should be.

Once this operation is completed, the joints between the stones are to be brushed over with a pencil or pen to better define the appearance of the stones and the bricks. Then you beat the stones with a rock in order to better make them look like natural stones.

Then, you have to apply a background color on the part with the dark brown stones.


It is the moment to fill the joints with white or gray cement, proceeding as follows:

after sprinkling the stones with cement, you first fill the joints with brush and then use it to remove the cement in excess.

You take a nebulizer and spray the water all over the wall with cement. Dab with paper.

Once it dries the joints will be filled and the colour slightly faded.

As regards the plaster, take some white cement or white tile glue, and prepare a soft mixture. Then with the help of a spatula you put it on the parts without stones.

The plaster and tile joints are dry within 24 hours.

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The main colours used are acrylics and natural earths (much more realistic).

The stones and bricks having already received their background colour, now the details can be perfected, the bricks can be coloured with red ocher and burnt sienna, the stones with a little gray and white.

The plaster can be aged using colours such as yellow ocher, and the water of the brushes and some sap green can be used to simulate the effect of mould on the walls.

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For the lighting, single LED lights are generally used or chains of lights preferably in a warm yellow colour and fixed light to highlight the crib and particular points.



As regards the vegetation, you can use moss to simulate grass, teloxis for trees and bushes.

come si realizza un presepe