How to Make a Simple Nativity Using Doll Clothespins

Here is a project I did with some preschoolers in Belize, but since I had as much fun as they did, use this with any age.

Mary, Joseph, and an Angel with Baby Jesus

This year, each preschooler made the angel and Baby Jesus.  My helper and I made Mary and Joseph.  We set Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, angels, some toys cows, sheep, donkeys, and other animals under the tree in the classroom.  Since we had read the Christmas story daily for weeks (different versions, of course) they could act the story out pretty well.  I enjoyed seeing the children interact with the nativity pieces.

This was an enjoyable, meaningful craft.  Although it required preparation and supervision from us, it was well worth it.  Hopefully they will cherish the fond memories of using glitter for the angels (the angels look great with tons of glitter or glitter-glue everywhere), and playing with a Baby Jesus they helped make.  They are, however, only four years old; perhaps, I should just be happy if when they are grown, they remember that they had attended a preschool at all.

Doll Clothespin Nativity

Baby Jesus


  • Wooden bead (head)
  • 2.5” square of beige cloth (blanket to swaddle him)
  • Cotton ball or pom pom (stuffing)
  • Toilet paper tube (manger)
  • School glue (to attach head, body, blanket)
  • Shredded yellow paper (hay)
  • Markers
  • Sharpie (to draw face onto bead)


  1. Cut cloth into squares,
  2. Draw faces on beads,
  3. Cut hole in center of a flattened toilet paper tube,
  4. Gather supplies

What Preschoolers Can Do

Using markers, they decorate the fabric as they would decorate a blanket for baby Jesus.

After the blanket is decorated, they pour glue onto the undecorated side

They arrange the head in one corner of the blanket and add the pompom to the head

With the teacher’s help, they can fold up the bottom corner of the blanket up to the baby’s chin, then fold each side around the baby to swaddle him

Add shredded paper to Jesus’s “bed”

Note: Try not to let Jesus get glued to his bed.  He’s more fun for the children to play with if they can take him out of the bed and put him back.



  • Doll clothespin (body)
  • Gold or yellow pipe cleaners (halo)
  • Yellow craft foam (wings)
  • Yellow marker
  • Gold glitter or glitter glue


  1. Draw faces on each clothes pin,
  2. Fold a piece of scrap paper in half.  Draw half a set of wings and cut out to ensure symmetry.  Do this until you have a suitable template you are happy with.
  3. Use template to cut wings from craft foam
  4. Wrap pipe cleaner around neck of angel, up back of head and then into a circle over the head for each angel.  Cut off excess.  Depending on length of pipe cleaners, I could make 2 or 3 angels from one pipe cleaner.

What Preschoolers Can Do

Use a yellow marker to color the entire angel.  Use a paint brush to paint glue or glitter glue all over angel and wings, sprinkle glitter all over angel and wings.

With supervision, they can add the wings.

Mary and Joseph


  • Doll clothespins
  • Fabric
  • Brown yarn or felt (for hair)
  • Markers


  1. Draw faces on Mary and Joseph
  2. Cut fabric long enough to cover entire clothespin except for head
  3. Cut 2.5” squares of fabric in half diagonally to make a triangle for Mary’s head covering
  4. Cut about 1” by 2” rectangles for Joseph’s head covering
What Preschoolers Can Do

Use markers to create custom fabrics for their clothing.

Cut yarn into small pieces for hair.

With supervision, they can glue on clothing and hair.

For Shepherds and Kings

Repeat steps for Joseph.  Add a curved brown pipe cleaner as shepherds staff.  Add crowns cut from paper with glitter added for kings.

Note: not all doll clothespins stand up well.  If yours fall over, a blob of hot glue and a small square of cardboard on the “feet” can provide stability.

Teachers or parents will have to complete final touches and are ultimately responsible to ensure these are quality pieces worthy of display. 

Easiest pieces to create: Angel and Baby Jesus

Use your imagination, and be creative.   When working with small children, the process is as important as the product, so enjoy the project.  



About gowilliams

Strengthening and encouraging the body of Christ around the world.
This entry was posted in Sunshine's Perspective and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How to Make a Simple Nativity Using Doll Clothespins

  1. Chris says:

    Dear Gowilliams,
    Very interesting, Maybe Mary never got pregnant at all and she just placed a plastic or clay doll or in the manger…it might have been enough to fool people in the dim candlelit barn…
    I look forward to your next post

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