How To Make A Yarn Doll Nativity (Inexpensive And Easy!)

I always loved making yarn dolls when I was a kid! I think it’s a super great craft for kids because it’s easy to do, you can make them inexpensively, and you end up with a cute cuddly toy that is actually fun to play with and keep around. My kids went through a phase where they were obsessed with making yarn dolls, so I thought, why not twist that to point to the true meaning of Christmas by making a yarn nativity set? I love this DIY yarn doll nativity for kids and they dolls make great Mass toys as well because they don’t make a sound when they’re dropped. Double score! Also, this has got to be one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to make your own nativity set for children, so I am very excited to share this Christmas craft with you today! 

How To Make A Yarn Doll

I made a post last year on how to make a yarn doll angel, and that post has a step by step photograph tutorial on how to make a basic yarn doll, so definitely check that out for your yarn doll base. 

You will want to have several colors of yarn so that your different characters will look different, but you can totally buy the world’s cheapest yarn for these dolls, and we definitely did just that. 

If you have a large family, I suggest letting each member make part of the nativity set themselves. For kids, it’s so much more important that they get to participate than it is to have a perfect nativity set. You could maybe assign more central characters to the older kids (such as the holy family) and let the younger kids make the shepherds and or wise men. 

Holy Family Yarn Dolls 

First, you will need the holy family. I have an entire post devoted to how to make baby Jesus from yarn, along with his little woven manger. You definitely want to read that post to see how to easily accomplish the yarn doll Jesus plus manger. 

For Mary and Jesus yarn dolls, I have made them both “dress” sryle (meaning I don’t tie the bottom of the yarn doll into separate legs) as Joseph is wearing long robes. For Mary we used a blue yarn as blue is generally Mary’s symbolic color, and we used a variegated brown and green yarn for St. Joseph. 

For Mary I added a piece of wired silver ribbon for a mantle around her head. Just bend it around her face and hot glue it in the back. 

Here is a visual of the back. 

3 King Yarn Craft

Your nativity set can also use 3 wise men, and for these we used bright colors of yarn! 

The color that represents royalty is purple, so we went with lots of purple tones! We also have one reddish king, which I also think of Kings wearing red so it worked for me. For their crows I just added one piece of gold rick rack around their heads and hot glued it in place, which worked really well. 

This would be a fun separate 3 kings craft for the Epiphany as well!

Yarn Doll Shepherd

For the shepherd we used a brown yarn. Honestly I wanted to make him with twine, but it didn’t work well at all. The twine wasn’t fluffy enough to make a good doll shape, and well… it looked more like Groot than a shepherd. It was kind of a hilarious Pinterest fail moment, only I actually hadn’t seen it on Pinterest. So I guess it was just a regular fail lol.

Twine yarn doll fail… “I am Groot”

Post continues after this brief information about the Catholic Icing Monthly Membership

Monthly Liturgical Membership

Catholic Liturgical Monthly Membership

Perfect for families! Each month you gain access to printable activity pages, crafts, home altar pieces, and more.
Never has living the liturgical year been so easy and affordable!

Buy ya’ll will be happy to know that whenever I do something for Catholic Icing that is a fail I scrap it and go back to the drawing board, because I am NOT about sharing things that end up as your classing Pinterest fails. My job is to make ya’ll successful at your craft projects, and so I persevered to design an acceptable shepherd for the nativity set. 

Here is our beautiful shepherd that is made from brown yarn and worked out perfectly. We added a pipe cleaner staff and a cotton ball sheep for detail, but you can also check out my how to make yarn animals post here

I really liked this yard I found for the shepherd. That little sheep is just a white pom pom ball with a sheep head cut from brown felt and hot glued on. 

Yarn Doll Angel

As I said above, I have a specific post devoted to how to make this yarn doll angel so definitely read that. 

Yarn Wrapped Star

For an extra cuteness factor in your yarn nativity, why not add a yarn star? You can see how to make this easy yarn wrapped star craft here, and kids absolutely love making these so be ready for them to want to make more than 1! 

The Whole Yarn Nativity

Now, put it all together and what have you got? Ding dong! A yarn nativity, all ready to display in your home or pack in your mass bag!

We really enjoyed ours last year! Also, if you want a tip for how to stand them up nicely, I turned small paper cups upside down and placed the yard around them. This also made their skirts seem extra full and made for a beautiful display!

Related Posts:

More Nativity Resources For Families

You do not want to miss my nativity round up for kids that includes crafts, book suggestions, traditions, songs, printables, and more! Check it out now.

The Advent Christmas Planner- available from Catholic Icing

Check out all of my Advent and Christmas posts here.


  1. Oh this is adorable 🙂