Years ago, (I wonít reveal how many) my Beehive instructor brought several loaves of bread and two bottles of Elmerís glue to church for an activity. That night we made bread dough, formed the sticky globs into nativity figures and let them dry. The next week our leader brought paint and fine markers so we could decorate our figurines. When the paint dried we varnished them and took them home. I still have part of that cherished set today.
Because the craft was easy, inexpensive and so much fun, I thought I would share it with you. One batch of bread dough will cost less than $2.00 and be enough to create several figures. However, you may want to have extra bread and glue on hand incase you are having too much fun creating figurines.
What you will need:
One loaf of fresh bread
One bottle of Elmerís glue
One large bowl.
Acrylic paints or permanent markers, if desired.
Fine-point permanent pen, if desired.
Varnish or glue wash, if desired.
An old, damp towel for wiping your hands.
1. Remove the crusts from the dough. You can eat the crusts if youíd like or set them aside in a clean bowl to dry for stuffing or dried bread crumbs later.
2. In the bowl shred, tear, break, crumble and rub the remaining bread into fresh bread crumbs.
3. Using your hands, pour in enough glue to mix the bread crumbs into a dough that can be formed into shapes.
4. Form the dough into small nativity shapes, about three inches high. Make Mary, Joseph and the babe in a manager. If there is enough dough form shepherds, wisemen, angels, camels, sheep and any other nativity figure you would like. TIPS: Use toothpicks for animal legs and leave the toothpicks exposed or press the dough over the toothpicks. Lambís wool can be made by making tiny balls and pressing them lightly onto the lambís body. Clothing can be rolled flat with a rolling pin and then draped over the figurines. Scissors can help you cut the clothing to shape. To help smooth out the final surface, you can dip your finger in diluted glue and gently smooth in and over any roughness or cracks. You donít have to be a sculptor and the figures do not have to be perfect. The fun is in the rudimentary shapes you and your children will form, which you will cherish more and more as the years go by.
5. Let the figurines dry for 2-3 days.
6. Using acrylic paints (tole paints work well for this) or permanent markers, you may color your figurines. However, you donít need to do this. Plain white nativity sets are very pleasing to look at and the beauty of this dough is that it hardens into bright white.
7. Use a fine-tipped permanent marker to draw on faces and add extra details such as stripes on colored tunics or patterns on painted blankets.
8. If you would like you can varnish your finished figurines for added durability. If you donít have varnish, a wash of one-part glue to one-part water will dry to a clear sheen over the figures.
Donít limit the fun to nativity figures. You can also make tree ornaments and gift tags from this glue. Experiment with different Christmas designs, cookies cutters and more.