Around this time last year, I was asked to make a beaded Nativity set for Jewellery Maker TV. Now, I had great fun doing this. JMTV sold the project as a complete kit and it seemed to be well received.
Normally, I don’t revisit themes. But on this occasion, I felt I need to come back to this one. Why? You may well ask…
Well, firstly, JMTV has exclusive rights to the pattern. So, unless they decide to bring it out again this year, that beaded Nativity set has had its lifespan already. (And I happen to know that there are plenty of people who would still like it!)
Secondly, my beading designs have evolved a lot over the past twelve months. So, it felt like the right time to revisit this idea. And it probably won’t surprise you to know that I’m not just making Nativity figures… Oh no… My Nativity figures are also beaded boxes! (Or at least, they can be. If you just want ‘normal’ figures, then the pattern will cover that too!)
What’s going to be in the beaded Nativity set?
The name kind of gives it away. Ultimately I do want to create a full set with animals and everything. But for the moment, I’m beading Mary, Joseph, the Crib, Three Kings and two Shepherds. Each character will have its own unique design. However, the basic box structure is similar for all the figures.
Each little person is about 4″ high. You can remove their head (sorry – that’s a little gruesome – I didn’t mean it to be!) to reveal the storage space. So, perhaps I should put that another way: the character’s head is the lid of the box.
That also has a secondary purpose… By altering the angle at which you put the head onto the body, you can make it look as though your characters are turning their heads. So, they could be having a conversation… pretty cool, yes?
Like the majority of my other beaded boxes, this is primarily a Peyote stitch project. However, I have included some basic Herringbone (I love the texture of that stitch!) and a little guided freeform. If you want to know more about beading techniques, then check out this blog>>
How do you get the pattern?
As I write this blog post, I’m still working on the project. So, why write the post now? Well, several people have been asking me if I am going to have a beaded Nativity set pattern. So, this is me telling you more about it.
At the moment, you can see the characters I have completed. I’m going to keep updating this post as I manage to make more of the characters. So, this will give you the chance to see in advance and think about whether you will want this pattern.
My beaded Nativity set is one more character closer to completion now! I have just finished my first Shepherd.
I’ve also had a few questions from people interested in the pattern. So, let me answer one of them here…
Although I have used size 10/0 Delicas, it will be possible to make this project with size 11/0s. I have just two caveats:
- If you are making the beaded box, then it might be a little fiddlier with the smaller beads. But if you are just making the figures, the smaller beads will be just fine.
- I have combined some different bead sizes for adding the features and details. So, if you do choose to use size 11/0, you may need to get a tiny bit creative and make a few of your own adjustments in these details…but it’s quite minor and easy to do!
I now have a Shepherd boy to go with the Shepherd. So, I thought this might be a good excuse to show you how the beaded box concept also gives you the chance to make your characters talk to one another.
It’s very simple… Just take the head off and put it back on moving it slightly round, so the face is now looking sideways instead of forwards.
See what I mean in the two photos below… And if you’re confused, just look at the relative positions of the Shepherds’ arms and crook versus their heads. (I can see you having fun with this concept…!)
Introducing Joseph (and another design innovation)…
I thought it was about time I made Joseph!
I’ve also been putting some thought into different ways of distinguishing characters, even though they are basically the same design. So, altering the height is one easy way to create a distinction.
Since I was just talking about heads, let me point out another little design feature.
Not only can you literally turn the heads on the characters… You can also alter the direction of their ‘basic’ gaze by altering where you add their facial features. (Yes, I do explain how to do this in the pattern).
So, I used this to alter the alignment of both Mary and Joseph’s faces, meaning they appear to be gazing fondly at one another… Pretty realistic for the proud parents of a new-born, I thought!
Yes, this afternoon, I’ve just completed my third King. So, all my beaded Nativity set needs now is a crib.
The Kings are all on their way to the stable. Let’s just hope I can get the Crib finished before they arrive!
For those of you who like a few facts to quote…
- Each figure is taking around 10 hours to make
- Your pattern is going to have over 60 photos and over 30 diagrams
- It looks like it will come in at around 50 pages of instructions!
I’m going to be giving you the option of buying everything in one pattern. So, yes, that’s seven figures and the Crib, all for one affordable price.
Or, if you prefer, you can buy the individual groups separately. So, that would be:
- Mary, Joseph and Crib
- Shepherd and Shepherd Boy
- Three Kings
While you ponder that, don’t forget to complete the form (above) so you will get to hear when the beaded Nativity pattern is released.
The final countdown…
Depending when you are reading this, the pattern is just days – or even hours – away from being released. I can now reveal the star of the scene.