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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Create Baby Jesus with Clay or Salt Dough {Easy Tutorial}


Last week my sister gave us a *NEW* book - Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing!! My kids don't often see *NEW* books!! Being a frugal mom who acquires all our family books from thrift stores, yard sales, or our local library, brand new books are a rare sight! So my kids were very impressed at the shiny new cover of this wonderfully illustrated book!
 Bambinelli Sunday is about a little boy who makes his own little Jesus out of clay. He and his Grandfather take it St. Peter's square where it would be blessed by the Pope on this special day! Well, my kids were excited to read this cute book!! And that excitement spilled over into creativity! My kids and I decided to make a few Bambinellis of our own!
Our little Jesus figures are not as fancy as the ones on the book, but they are easy enough for most kids to create! If your children are older or extra creative they may like to make their little Jesus fancier.
We made our little Jesus figurines from salt dough, because my air-dry clay had dried out from the last time we used it. Air-dry clay will keep much longer and make a nicer figurine. The air-dry clay is also nicer if you have mice in the house like we had when I was a kid! :-)
But the salt dough is easy to make and always on hand. Plus, it's cheaper. So, fell free to choose the art-media that works best for you! 
To make your own Little Jesus, you will need:
First create the base of the manger. Make an oval shaped "bowl".  Then make the hay. Make a flat pancake like circle and cut it into a "sun" . I used a toothpick to cut the points into the edges. 
Lay the hay into the manger, still keeping the bowl-like shape.
Next make baby Jesus. Form an oval shaped ball that is smaller than your manger and hay. Be sure the ball is slightly flattened on the top and bottom. Use a tooth pick to make a circle for a face and the eyes and mouth. When using the toothpick to make the face, poke into the dough/clay don't scrap it. If you scrap the clay/dough it will create a rough edge. Poking it will make it smoother.
Place baby Jesus into the manger, on top of the hay.
Place your baby Jesus onto a cooling rack for a few days to dry
(both salt dough and air-dry clay take a few days to dry.).
If you are using salt dough and you are in a hurry you can bake the figures in the oven at 300 degrees F till they are mostly dry (about an hour depending on the size of your figure). I don't recommend this unless you keep a close eye on them as they bake. Sometimes the figures can start to puff, and that can ruin the look of your figure.
Once they are dry you can paint them with acrylic craft paint
I recommend you start from the bottom and work your way up.
First paint the manger - brown
Then the hay - yellow
Jesus blanket - light blue
then paint his face in peach or tan
If you get too much paint in the eyes or mouth of your baby Jesus use a toothpick to open the holes up again. 
Then, let it dry. If you like you may want to cover it with a sealer like Mod-podge or an other craft sealer.
My kids had a grand time making all their figures!!
Here are a few finished baby Jesus figurines!
You may also like to read the book, Baminelli Sunday!!
Personal  thought on this book: This book is super cute and we enjoyed it, but I do wish the little boy in the book was shown apologizing for a few things he did that may have hurt others. But the book gave me a opportunity to talk to my kids about the proper way to handle things when they make a mistake.
~*~
I thought it might be nice to have our parish priest bless our Bambinellis! It might give the kids a thrill!!
But if you decide to get yours blessed, remember to bury them if they break. Don't throw blessed items in the trash!
Burying old, broken blessed items is a great family event. I save our broken, blessed items in a special cabinet and when I have a larger amount (every few years), we all take them outside to bury them. It teaches kids to respect sacred items, even when they are broken. 

Hope you all had a blessed Bambinelli Sunday!!
~Jennifer


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