Make a Tiny Paper Mache Cradle for Your Nativity Scene

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Paper mache cradle for miniature nativity scene.

Paper Mache Nativity Scene Cradle

Our friend Pedro Rodrigues makes tiny, intricately-detailed paper mache sculptures, often with historical significance. If you visit the Daily Sculptors page often you’ve probably seen some of his work.

In this video he shows us the step-by-step instructions for creating a tiny cradle for a nativity scene.

Pedro has a unique way of making paper mache “wood” using layers of thin cardboard layered with paper strips and paste. When it’s dry he cuts it into planks. In the video he uses his tiny pieces of lumber to create the manger, just like you would if you were working with real wood (only a whole lot smaller! πŸ™‚ ).

I must try his method of using a mixture starch, glue and water to create a thick wash that can be scratched to create the texture of old wood. And I’d love to have his patience for working with tiny sculptures.

Thanks, Pedro, for sharing your methods with us!

You can see more of Pedro’s work on his website.

Tiny rustic cradle for a paper mache nativity scene, by Pedro Rodrigues.
Tiny rustic cradle for a paper mache nativity scene, by Pedro Rodrigues.

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5 thoughts on “Make a Tiny Paper Mache Cradle for Your Nativity Scene”

  1. Good instruction for any sculpture. I love the use of household items. I have used cereal box cardboard for building material in other art projects too.

  2. Pedro, you are adorable! Thanks for sharing your process and i love how you got the wood texture by just scratching into the paste. I assume you need to do this in stages as you would need to hold it somewhere while working on it.
    Can i ask how you got interested in doing miniature work?

    • Thank you Eileen, you’re my current new best friend, eh eh eh
      I guess the paste can actually be anything, thin coat of modeling clay, layer of plaster, etc. I use this one because its the same I use to “plastify” the paper garments on my dolls as they are simple sheets of paper that need to be strong in the end…
      6 years ago I was doing busts or full figures of historical people nd when, 2 years ago I went to a shop to try to sell some other stuff the guy said that he wanted to try the historical figures instead to which I said no as they were considered my collection (silly me, i know) but soon enough I thought on creating mini versions of them. So instead of 30cm (11,8′ ?) they became 10cm (3,9′ ?) but no face. With time I managed to sell them on etsy for a very low price – 12 dollars each – but I started to be told off by fellow creators that said to raise up the price and that without faces all looked creepy, so I started to make faces and all grew a bit, dolls became circa 13 to 15cm (5,1′ to 5.9′ ?) and price wise too (now they cost 145$ each) Needless to say that the selling flow ended…
      With these came also furniture making, accessories like swords “and stuff” and with time I understood that dolls and miniatures are quite a niche world wide (!) so I guess i’m not selling that much because I don’t feel enough t ease due to a very small house with very little space and, also, my figures are way too specific. That’s why, after doing some casts of doll faces in silicone in order to reproduce lots, I’m currently working on some dolls with faces but they don’t represent no one, just different epoch ladies. Maybe I can get some more attention that either pays off sponsoring a studio or getting exhibitions somewhere out there πŸ™‚ Sorry for such long text though …


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