How to Build Your Own Outdoor Silhouette Nativity Scene

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Painted free from extraneous details, the simplicity of lawn silhouettes --- also called lawn shadows --- makes them all the more striking and dramatic. Share the miracle of Christmas with passersby by adding a silhouette of the Nativity to the front of your house. With proportional outlining and careful cutting, everyone will recognize this blessed holiday scene.

Things You'll Need

  • Projector
  • Marker
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper, 220-grit
  • Wooden stakes
  • Wood screws
  • Drill
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Hammer
  • Spotlight
  • Project an image of the Nativity onto a piece of 3/8- to 3/4-inch-thick plywood. Options for projecting include a digital projector hooked to a computer, a slide projector or an overhead projector.

  • Trace the external edges of figures, animals, the manger and the stable --- including the side posts and roof. Use a black marker to guarantee a clearly visible cutting line.

  • Cut out the elements with a jigsaw. Carefully run the blade of the jigsaw along the black lines. Sand the rough edges with 220-grit sandpaper. Vacuum or wipe away all sanding dust.

  • Screw the plywood cutouts to wooden stakes, 24 to 36 inches tall. Overlap the stakes 12 to 16 inches over the bottom edges of the plywood. Place screws every 3 to 4 inches.

  • Cover the screw heads with wood filler, spreading it into the dimples with a pallet knife. Sand it after the filler has dried.

  • Paint the front and back with outdoor primer followed by two coats of outdoor flat, black enamel paint.

  • Insert the Nativity scene into the ground by hammering the tops of the stakes to drive the pointed ends underground.

  • Point an outdoor spotlight from behind the scene to backlight the figures at night.

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