I love nativity scenes. They are the Christmas decoration that I allow myself to have more than one "set" of. I figure it represents most directly the reason we celebrate Christmas, so why not have one in every room?
My mother in law has a beautiful nativity that is glorious color. I have wanted one like it ever since I saw it, and apparantly it came from costco. I couldn't find it there when I was looking, but maybe they still sell it? However, one day during the middle of the year, I was leaving a church activity and someone had the set in the back of their car and they were giving it away! Hallelujah!! Angels singing!!
A few pieces were broken, but I figured I could work with it.
Then, I found a complete plain white porcelain set at goodwill for about $3 later on. Of course I had to get it. I brought it home and realized that it was a pretty close size and style match for my beloved color set. I immediately wondered if I could paint the porcelain to match.
You can totally paint porcelain! Maybe this is a no brainer to some, but I was shocked when the paint stuck for some reason. I think I had firing kilns and specialty glazes forming a blockage in the creative wall. But good old watercolor and gouache worked perfectly.
When the kids blew through the door after school yesterday, we set out snacks, brushes, jars of water, and our large watercolor palette and turned on the Christmas pandora station. (That palette started out as mine, but I found I prefer a smaller palette with less colors. However, it works perfectly for family painting.)
*Use a lot of water, it will help the pigment cover more evenly.
*Everywhere the paint touches on porcelain, it will stay. Don't let this scare you, you can blend mistakes or paint over the watercolor mistakes with gouache (opaque watercolors) but be aware of it. The paint will not "lift out" of the porcelain like it will paper.
*Even given the above note, this is a perfect project to do with kids. You see results fast. And any "mistakes" really can be fixed quite easily. Again, see above note!
*We use artist quality paints which have a much higher concentration of pigment. If you use a student or craft option (which would work perfectly I am sure) you may need to use more paint.
*If you are using artist quality paints with children, make sure they understand that the paints are toxic. Most people just forego artist paints with kids for the above and also the higher cost.. but I prefer to just give em the good stuff to begin with. My children fully understand the safety issues behind our paints.
We aren't quite done, but I think we can finish it up today after school. I'll share it with you when the whole thing is complete. On second thought, why don't you just come over for a cup of cocoa and a cookie and we can wrap presents together? Wrapping presents with cocoa on hand is probably my favorite Christmas activity.