Even though I have the advent string up now, and we've been unwrapping an item each night and adding it to the nativity scene, I still have a few parcels left to add to the string. I decided to keep the Mary and Joseph figures out from the beginning, and build the rest of the set around them, so I need two more people to open in the last week, so I figured I'd forget about the angel (or just make it an extra one) and make the three kings.
Of course, I didn't have the materials for them, so I've just ordered a bunch of prefelt and whatnot from Fibre Fusion. But now, because I wanted a different colour for each of the kings, I think I've got enough for about a dozen nativity sets!!
Here are the instructions for how to make a Shepherd (much the same for Mary & Joseph, though with an extra prefelt cloak layer, and I'm assuming for the kings, though I've ordered some gold "silk tops" (I'm not exactly sure what that means, should I say a gold silk top?) which I'm expecting to be able to use either as the clock or around the head as a sort of crown, to distinguish them from the shepherds).*
Materials (per shepherd): 1 piece of wool batting, around 12cmx8cm, a smaller rectangle of coloured prefelt (ideally a different colour for each shepherd), some fleece for the hair and cloak, and a piece of string, about 10cm long.
1. Roll over the long edges of the wool batt, about 1cm towards the middle. If you have three pieces of batting the same size and you want three different sized shepherds, just vary how far in you roll the sides.
2. Roll up from the end like a sushi roll:
3. Tie the string approximately 2 cms from the top to make the head. Choose the best area for the face and gentle pull the wool up a little and over towards the back of the head:
4. Fold the rectangle of prefelt over to fit the body. Wrap around the body with the fold facing out:
5. Attach garment together using needle and thread of a felting needle** (shown). Be sure to join the top and bottom of the garment well. Trim the bottom if necessary or tuck it under.
6. Select the hair/beard and cloak (ideally you will have a different colour for each shepherd), and attach with your felting needle:
8. Find a "crook" in your garden (mine are old curly bits from a grapevine) and tuck through the cloak.
(Sheep are made as per instructions in The Nature Corner: Celebrating the Year's Cycle with Seasonal Tableaux.)
*These instructions are adapted from the ones we were given in playgroup, but I can't credit them because they were hand written by someone at the school and I'm not sure who that someone was.
**This link tells you what size felting needle is ideal for different purposes but for this I just used a 36 or 38 gauge needle - whichever I happened to pull out - for all of it, and that seemed to work.
This post has also been linked in Just Something I Whipped Up Christmas edition at Project Inspire.