How to Build Your Own Outdoor Silhouette Nativity Scene

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

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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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