DIY Wooden Nativity Blocks - Made from Leaves

Make your own Nature Nativity Blocks from fallen leaves. This eco-craft is perfect for capturing all those beautiful Autumnal colours before they disappear. Ideal for adults or older children to make as an outdoor or indoor Christmas craft, & great for exploring natural colour & design. They make a fabulous play set for younger children too. Here's how we made them.

At this time of year, you can't help but notice the colourful leaves falling from the trees like fabulous natural confetti. We're fortunate enough to have a variety of trees close to where we live & often admire the vibrancy & luminosity of the leaves as they change.

For this craft we collected a selection of leaves, making sure they were clean & free of insects. Once home we spread them on a surface to dry & then pressed them to make them as flat as possible. You could use a flower press if you have one, but we pressed ours between the pages of heavy books & left them overnight. When they're pressed, carefully remove the leaves & spread them out so you can see all the different colours, textures & patterns.

Then think about which Nativity Character you'd like to create with the leaves. As you ponder look at the leaves & think about which colours your character might wear; will they a headdress, are they going to be big or small? As you think about these things choose your leaves. We found the larger leaves worked best for creating the oval body shapes & the headdresses.

Carefully without pressing too hard draw the outlines of your design with a biro onto the leaf & then cut it out. You could use scissors or craft punches to create your shapes. This star-shaped punch created the most amazing stars with the yellow leaves.

Take a flat piece of wood (we picked our wooden blocks up from a local Farm Shop where they were being sold as firewood) & add a layer of PVA glue or Modge Podge using a thick paintbrush. Then layer your leaf shapes onto the surface adding a little more glue where they overlap. 

Once you've finished, carefully brush another layer of glue over the whole design to seal it. We used Modge Podge & our blocks were dry within 3-4 hours. You'll find the leaves look a little darker than before due to the glue, but the distinctive colours will still be visible & they take on almost a leather-like appearance under the gloss of the glue.

We loved creating these Nature Nativity Blocks so much that we ended up making a full set of Nativity characters along with this beautiful stable & simple manger created from half a Beech leaf. 

I love how our Mary & Joseph Nativity Blocks came out, with the natural knot in the wood above Mary's head looking a little like an angelic light shining down.

Our leaf Angel had the most amazing wings made from an Ivy leaf (the ideal shape) & her yellow Sycamore halo was just perfect. The colours of the leaves made beautiful regal robes for our King, along with a fabulous crown adorned with jewels made from hole-punched Oak leaves.

These Nature Nativity Blocks are a fabulous way for children to explore the Christmas Story & the many characters within it. It's a great craft for encouraging creativity & design, but also offers a connection with nature & an appreciation of the amazing natural resources around us. I know we're going to treasure our set for many years to come.

Looking for more Nativity ideas?
Take a look at our Nativity Activities