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How to Make an Origami Nativity Scene: Joseph –Part 1 of 3

How to Make an Origami Nativity Scene: Joseph –Part 1 of 3 post image

A popular Christmas tradition for many is placing a Nativity Scene in their home.

I have delightful memories of Christmas as a young child. My mother and I use to work together in the creation of a beautiful nativity scene with Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus in a manger surrounded by angels, cows, mules, sheep, and shepherds.

Under the stair of the house, we would make a hill with a little town filled with  paper houses, and a river from a piece of cellophane. For a lake we used a mirror. For a star-filled sky, we poked little tiny holes in velvety navy-blue paper draped in front of a light, marveling at the sparkly beams spreading a gentle light over our little family in Bethlehem.

With such precious memories in mind, I’ve created five origami figures for a Nativity Scene: Joseph, Joseph’s Staff, Mary, the Child, and a crib.

The following step-by-step video shows how to make the figure of Joseph. The others will be shown in separate videos that will soon be shared with you.

Tips and suggestions for making the figure of Joseph

  • The finished figure shows both sides of the paper. It’s ideal to use paper of different color on each side.
  • Paper known in the US as “kami” is a good choice, but it can be made with heavier papers.
  • As for paper size, I would recommend a 10× 10-inch (25×25cm) or larger.
  • If you have paper of the same color on both sides, before folding, you can color the paper by hand as described in this post.
  • Here is a diagram of the proportion of the papers for each figure. The videos explain how to cut it.
origami-nativity-torres-ratios origami-nativity-torres-ratios-600

The following videos will show you how to make the other figures of the Nativity Scene:

Origami Mother Mary
Click here for blog post  and video

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Origami Baby and crib
Click here for blog post and video
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Nativity Scene in different languages:

• English: Nativity, Creche  Spanish: Nacimiento, Pesebre, Portal de Belén, Misterio

• German: eine Krippe, Weihnachtskrippe,  • French:  La crėche de Noël

• Portuguese: Presépio  • Italian: Presepe  • Dutch: Kerststal

origami-nativity-family-560Sacred family in a Nativity Scene. Origami figures by Leyla Torres

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Jennifer Gerring November 29, 2021, 2:54 am

    Leyla … thank you for sharing the wonderful videos of you origami nativity set. They are easy to follow. I gave a small donation for your kindness. Have a Merry Christmas!

    • Leyla Torres December 10, 2021, 11:51 am

      We are very happy you liked the nativity set, Jennifer. Thank you for your kind donation!

  • Ari November 24, 2020, 3:28 pm

    Wow! This nativity scene looks amazing! I look forward to making my own.

  • Mónica forma Spain November 8, 2019, 12:02 pm

    Hola, quisiera saber si se puede hacer a un tamaño grande como de 60 cm de altura con papel cartón fino y cómo podría conseguir las medidas exactas que tengo que usar. Gracias

    • Leyla Torres November 13, 2019, 2:46 pm

      Hola Monica,
      En teoría sí se podrían hacer en tamaño grande, pero debo decirte que yo no he experimentado con el tamaño al que te refieres entonces no te puedo dar mayor información en cuanto a qué clase de papel usar.
      Para saber el tamaño del papel que necesitas puedes empezar por calcular la figura de José. El que se muestra aquí fue hecho con un papel de 25 x 25 cm.

      La figura final es más o menos de 18 cm. Puedes usar regla de tres para hacer el cálculo matemático exacto, pero haciendo una estimación a vuelo de pájaro quizás necesites un cuadrado de 80 x 80 cm para que la figura de José en origami te quede de unos 60 cm de alto.

  • Cassandra December 19, 2018, 10:21 am

    How would we purchase the Mary, Jesus, and Joseph set asap — made. We are not able to make though would love to display. Where might we purchase ASAP?

    • Leyla Torres December 21, 2018, 11:17 am

      Hi Cassandra, I will respond to you personally at the e-mail address you provided.
      Thank you for your interest in my work!

  • Maleeva December 14, 2014, 1:53 am

    Leyla, Thank you so much. I simply love it!! Waiting for the baby Jesus and the Crib tutorials :D

  • Nina December 11, 2014, 9:18 am

    Lindo , seu trabalho, e o video esta exelente como todos os que vc faz parabéns e obrigado por disponibilizar tão belos trabalhos, sucesso sempre , um abraço,

  • Martin lira December 10, 2014, 7:47 pm

    soy de Guadalajara, Mexico y si pude conectarme… Gracias!

  • Jane Millikan December 9, 2014, 8:48 am

    Leyla, your Nativity makes me happy! Wonderful design. My church has a theme of shepherds this year, so I’m going to use the Joseph figure for that.

  • Jenny Osorio December 8, 2014, 5:30 pm

    Muchísimas gracias Leyla!!! This will make a beautiful Christmas present! xoxo

  • Lisa Jastram December 8, 2014, 7:15 am

    Leyla- this is like an early Christmas present! Thank you so much! I look forward to making my very own origami nativity! Lisa Jastram

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