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

Sacred family in a Nativity Scene. Origami figures by Leyla Torres

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.

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


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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

Sacred family in a Nativity Scene. Origami figures by Leyla Torres

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20 thoughts on “How to Make an Origami Nativity Scene: Joseph –Part 1 of 3”

  1. 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!

  2. 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

    • 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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,

  5. 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.


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