How to Build Your Own Outdoor Silhouette Nativity Scene

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Things You'll Need

  • Projector

  • Marker

  • Jigsaw

  • Sandpaper, 220-grit

  • Wooden stakes

  • Wood screws

  • Drill

  • Wood filler

  • Putty knife

  • Primer

  • Paint

  • Paintbrush

  • Hammer

  • Spotlight

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.


Step 1

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.

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Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.


Step 4

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.

Step 5

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

Step 6

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


Step 7

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

Step 8

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