We were super proud to recently release our brand new wooden nativity set for kids. This was a passion project for us and the enthusiastic response we have received has been incredible! Please come behind the scenes at love.dominique, as we share with you the process of making this special set.
I grew up with a child friendly nativity set
I grew up with a child friendly nativity set, and I remember the excitement each year as my parents pulled down our large “Christmas Box” and unpacked all the festive ornaments. We kids loved our playable nativity sets (we had two!) and always made a dive for them as they emerged from their yearly hibernation! Although we had many gorgeous Fr Christmas ornaments, reindeer and elves, we were brought up to understand, respect an love the true meaning of Christmas. Having a wooden nativity set to play with was a wonderful way for us to always remember the beautiful Christmas story.
The Previous Nativity Set I Made Some Years Ago
With this personal childhood experience, designing a child friendly nativity set has always been a project close to my heart.
Our current set is not the first we have released. Several years ago, when we were still operating at Dominique’s exclusive toys and décor, we released a wooden nativity set for kids consisting of 18 pieces. It was a huge success, only discontinued when we closed down the toy making part of the business (to be able to focus more on our décor line).
Our New Nativity Set: Simple, Affordable, and Playable
This year we decided to revisit the idea, with a more modern look. Basing our design on that of a classic peg doll, we went for a more simple, clean look and chose a beautiful grained wood to work with. From the start I wanted the design to hero the wood, not cover it.
We also chose to make the set smaller, with just 11 pieces, to be able to keep it affordable. Add ons can always be done, but we wanted the basic set to be simple and attainable.
Each figure has a simple shape, with a size that will fit comfortably in a toddlers hand. The paint is child-safe and non-toxic, and the wood can be cleaned with a damp cloth. The figures are sturdy and extremely strong – I don’t think I could break one if I tried! A soft tartan drawstring bag keeps all the pieces together and completes a Nativity Set we are extremely proud of!
The Making of the Figurines
- The first step in making a nativity set is to draw out the patterns onto our thick birch ply. We do this by hand, using a light pencil that can be rubbed out later.
- After the figures have been drawn out (usually several sets at a time, but not massive production) we cut them on our scroll saws. Each figure is cut by hand and we do not use a laser cutter (lasers burn the edges of the wood and would destroy the classic grain line on the edge of the birch ply).
- After cutting the figures we sand them to a super smooth finish. This step takes quite some time and we are careful to sand smooth any splinters the wood might have. I always rub my hand along the entire figure’s outline to check that there are no snags in the wood.
- The painting comes next, and is easily the most enjoyable step (for me anyway!). I enjoy this work so much that I often take the figures home to paint in my free time on a Saturday. It is truly a labour of love!
- Once the figures are complete, we pack them into clear poly-prop bags and then sort the sets into tartan drawstring bags. They are now ready to dispatch! We sell these sets worldwide, so it’s always exciting to see where their new home will be!
I hope you enjoyed this simple behind the scenes post, where we share how our nativity sets are made with love, for you.