Paper City Nativity Scene

Ever since childhood, I’ve always enjoyed seeing the different Nativity sets displayed around the holidays. This year, I finally tried making my own Paper City style Nativity Scene to share with everyone. I had a great time playing around with different designs, and I think it will be fun to color in, too!

So far the kids are really enjoying it, and our youngest one keeps grabbing the sheep and saying “ba ba ba!”

Happy Holidays!

You can see more Made by Joel winter holiday crafts, including the Hanukkah and Christmas Dressy Cats play sets.

UPDATE: NEW NATIVITY SCENES – Joyfully Expanded & Travel Size Version!

Side notes:

After folding the figures in half, I decided to make small curved cuts at the top of their heads to round them out a bit. You can try that too if you’d like. (See photos above.)

Finally, I printed these on matte photo paper, but any paper will work great.

Also, don’t forget to always encourage your kids to draw their own if they’re in the mood! My son wanted to try it out, and he made this wonderful scene below. I love it!

If you enjoy an activity and would like to support my continuing effort in creating art projects for our kids at home and in schools around the world, a PayPal tip donation would be awesome.


Click on the templates below, then print.


  1. December 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    [...] Paper City Nativity Scene | Made by Joel. [...]

    1. Heather
      December 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Thank you so much for the wonderful work on the paper nativity! Both of my children on excitedly working on theirs, since it is too cold to go outside. You have put more joy and excitement in their anticipation of Christmas day to come!

  2. December 11, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Joel, this is SO beautiful! I love the simplicity and all the details at the same time ... Last year Susie Poole, a British children's book illustrator, let me put her nativity scene on my church coffee blog. Here it is, just in case one of your readers gets into the mood and wants to make more than one: Great to see your children and their creations as well -- all my best wishes for all of you!

    1. Paola
      December 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Very cute! Thank you and merry Christmas!

  3. December 12, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Lovely pictures of people and animals :)

  4. December 12, 2012 at 1:03 am

    It's so simple and so clean that I love it!!!!

  5. Katie
    December 12, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Thank you for sharing this Joel, it's a beautiful activity that I can do with my children before Christmas. I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas!

  6. December 12, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Hello Joel ! Real nice an inspiring, graet artist your son! Thanks for sharing. Joyeux Noël - Happy holidays

  7. December 12, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Thank you for these! My girls will love colouring these and playing with all the little figures!

  8. December 12, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Rad! Your sons scene is awesome. Really dig the simpler standy uppy mechanism. We seem to struggle with the slotted feet ones at ours but they look rad so dad helps a bit:) The simple fold is really nice and well... simple. Thanks

    1. December 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks Pete!

  9. December 12, 2012 at 4:42 am

    J'adopte ta crêche, elle est top, bravo!

  10. December 12, 2012 at 6:07 am

    thanks! vesele vanoce :)!

  11. December 12, 2012 at 6:23 am

    [...] you need me, I’ll be printing out this amazing paper nativity scene for Aveline to “color-color”. Thanks, Made by Joel! Rate this:Share [...]

  12. December 12, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Thank you!!

  13. Hilary T
    December 12, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Thanks! This is going to bump our craft for today to another day. The kids are excited and have already loaded the printer with card stock so I can print it quicker! We are all very! Merry Christmas!!

  14. December 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Joel, I LOVE THIS!!!! I just happened to post on christmas/winter game printables today and when I saw this on FB I had to add it to the post!!! Thanks for all of your wonderful work! Colleen from Life Sprinkled With Glitter

    1. December 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

      oops, here is the link!

    2. December 20, 2012 at 5:32 am

      Joel, I just have to tell you once again THANK YOU!!! This is seriously the coolest paper nativity! My 6 year old son spent two hours meticulously coloring and cutting out one of these! He loved doing it SO MUCH that right when he woke up this morning, he asked me to print out another sheet of the "people" so he can do it over again! You do such great work!!!!

    3. December 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

      That's so great Colleen! I love it when kids get so excited about artwork and creating their own toys! That's the best! Thanks for sharing the success story.

  15. duey
    December 12, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Very cute. It seems your son has a sense of humor... Three N 1/2 Men...

  16. Carmen
    December 12, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Thank you so much for sharing! We will be using this in homeschool today and I am planning on letting my Sunday School kids do this too! Love all your work!

  17. Christina
    December 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Thank you SO much! My boys and I are very excited about this!

  18. Cristina Ortega
    December 12, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Hellody Joel! a few years ago I purchased one of Lori's CDs for my nephew Adán. Both of you autographed it for him... He is now 12 yrs old, is in an excellent aspergers program and doing excellent in school. Just want to thank you for the Nativity Scene which I just printed for my niece who recently turned 4. She has made such a positive impact on Adán as did so many of your activities through the years. Ruby's father, Fernando Ortega, is a Christian music artist so music is very much a part of her life. Adán shares Lori's CD with Ruby often!!! Joel I know you hear this often but YOU ARE AWESOME in the way you touch so many lives. peace. auntie cris

    1. December 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Cristina! Nice to hear from you! I'm very glad everyone is doing great in your family. Thanks so much for the kind note! Joel

  19. December 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much for creating such wonderful paper toys for children. Your book is on my book shelf.

  20. December 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for making this available - I love it!! My kids will insist on coloring it in - perfect.

  21. Bethany
    December 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    A "Made by Joel" nativity?!? Talk about making my day just perfect!

  22. December 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks everyone!!

  23. Renee Kosted
    December 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Joel! I just saw this on your FB page today....LOVE IT!! We (my 3 kids, me and my husband) are such big fans of yours...thanks so much for sharing your creativity in such a generous way. Merry Christmas!! Renée Kosted

  24. min
    December 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Yay! I was hoping you would do a nativity version of this. I'm so happy! Thanks!

  25. sue
    December 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Hi Joel, This is so lovely, thank you. I am also impressed by your comment to encourage kids to give their own a go as well. Once again thanks and a Merry Christmas!

  26. Melanie W.
    December 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talent and creativity with us! Merry Christmas!

  27. Cesc
    December 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    What a charming idea. Thank you so much.

  28. December 13, 2012 at 12:47 am

    [...] So here is my share: Paper City Nativity Scene. [...]

  29. aSprinkling
    December 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

    This is great! Do you think you could add some shepherds?

  30. December 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Freaking awesome!

  31. December 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    [...] Paper city nativity from Made by Joel [...]

  32. December 14, 2012 at 8:00 am

    [...] as well as just chillin’ at home. He has a series called Paper City, and this week he did a Paper City Nativity (it’s a Matthew nativity scene, not a Luke one – no shepherds) and I love it. [...]

  33. December 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

    You are awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this. Merry Christmas!

  34. December 14, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Thank-you for sharing this beautiful and meaningful Nativity Scene. I have printed it out and can't wait to colour and cut it out with my toddler. Merry Christmas!

  35. Maverick Hampton
    December 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Can't wait to use this for Sunday School on Sunday. Thank you, Joel. I love your papercrafts, they rock!!

  36. December 15, 2012 at 3:50 am

    [...] Paper Nativity by Joel Henriques (Free to Download) A new and beautifully simple paper nativity by Joel Henriques, two pdf files makes up the entire [...]

  37. helena
    December 15, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Thanks a lot fot the template.It's beautiful

  38. December 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    This is so great. Thanks for designing it and making it available!

  39. December 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks for the kind notes! Happy Holidays!

  40. Bonnie
    December 17, 2012 at 2:57 am

    This is so lovely, and keeping my 4-year-old happy and occupied as I try to finish off all my office work before Christmas!

  41. Gabbie
    December 17, 2012 at 5:18 am

    My 4 year old loves this and asked to keep it next to her bed

  42. December 17, 2012 at 9:20 am

    [...] another free nativity printable; isn’t it beautiful?  For the two scenes above, have your client place a character in the [...]

  43. drusbi
    December 18, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Muchas gracias, es el belén naïf más guapo que he visto nunca! líneas puras, expresiones dulces y más fácil y económico imposible.

  44. December 19, 2012 at 12:38 am

    [...] doing yoga daily and I adore it. I’m playing Christmas music and I printed off a fun little nativity for Lucy to play with. It’s just not a big deal around here this year, and it’s nice [...]

  45. December 19, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Thank you sharing! I love this!

  46. December 19, 2012 at 6:41 am

    [...] Paper City Nativity Scene | Made by Joel [...]

  47. December 19, 2012 at 10:03 am

    [...] ¿Todavía no tienes Belén? Pues nada, hoy te traemos una idea genial que hemos visto en la web  [...]

  48. Cesc
    December 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    This morning my 98 year old mother and I colored the Nativity scene in her assisted living home's activity room. As other residents walked by, they were delighted by the result. We set it up on a shelf where everyone can see it as they pass by her room. Your designs are marvelous. Thank you so much.

    1. December 20, 2012 at 9:03 am

      That is excellent! My mom volunteers once a month at an assisted living home, and most of the time the residents there are having to do kids crafts that they really aren't interested in. One of my goals is to make simple craft kits for the elderly. So your comment is very encouraging! Thanks!

  49. December 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    [...] nativity craft.  My kids just love paper crafts!!  The one that we will be doing tonight is the Paper City Nativity Scene from Made by Joel.  It’s a beautiful one, but it’s simple for my kids to do tonight [...]

  50. Tari
    December 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you! We love playing with your paper cities and are excited to make a Nativity set now.

  51. December 21, 2012 at 8:06 am

    I do not know in America but in France, Jesus is warmed by a donkey and an ox(beef). I do not see him... Could the Santa Claus draw one for my small Max who plays with the day-nursery(crib) since cut the him(it)? Please...?

  52. December 22, 2012 at 9:39 am

    [...] Leuk, zelf een kerststal maken, gratis te downloaden bij Made by Joel [...]

  53. December 24, 2012 at 1:14 am

    [...] for a nice activity for a bit of down time for the kids on Christmas day or eve, I recommend this lovely nativity scene from Made by Joel, it’s a free download which you print and then color. Maia really enjoyed this quiet activity [...]

  54. jihye
    January 9, 2013 at 12:37 am

    정말 멋지네요~^^

  55. le monde d'Is
    January 18, 2013 at 8:27 am

    encore une bien jolie création... merci pour le partage...

  56. Tiffany
    January 25, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Joel, we love your sight! Thank you for taking the time to share your talents and imagination with us.

  57. February 6, 2013 at 11:16 am

    [...] het zien van de allerlei verschillende kerststallen zo rond de feestdagen. Dit jaar heeft hij zijn eigen kerststal geïllustreerd en deelt deze nu met iedereen via zijn website. En daar moeten we blij mee zijn! Erg mooi om uit te [...]

  58. Sammz
    February 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Wow!..and thank you. This was very helpful.

  59. August 12, 2013 at 2:51 am

    [...] Nativity scene craft trendy, modern looking, cute by [...]

  60. Susan Nagel
    September 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    This is so awesome!! Our church does a Christmas With The Arts day the first Saturday of December--a way kids 4 yrs old thru 5th grade can spend the morning creating while their parents go shopping! I have looked around for a nativity they could do and have it look lovely and this is it!! I'll have my granddaughter color one with watercolor markers and another with colored pencils to see which looks best. This is going to be such a hot-thanks again!

    1. September 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I hope you have fun!! I bet it would look great in watercolor - especially if you have some thick paper. Probably would work well on regular paper too though, once it dries.

  61. November 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    [...] Paper City Nativity [...]

  62. November 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    [...] City Nativity Scene We love all things Made by Joel! This Paper City Nativity Scene is fantastic, as are all of Joel’s other free printables (plus the easy game and toy ideas [...]

  63. November 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    [...] ready to assemble with tacky glue. (Kids should not be given access to hot glue.)  Here is another cute paper nativity from [...]

  64. Ellis Cruz
    November 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Good stuff

  65. November 29, 2013 at 4:04 am

    [...] Nativity Scene Printable from Made by Joel [...]

  66. December 1, 2013 at 2:20 am

    [...] aqui. / Print it [...]

  67. December 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

    [...] making the Paper City Nativity Scene last year, I received many requests for additions. So without further ado, here is the new version [...]

  68. Karyn
    December 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Joel. Have just set up the nativity. My girls (5 & 3) just love your work & are always using the colouring pages too. Happy Christmas from a happy family in Australia!

  69. mj
    December 10, 2013 at 9:23 am

    This is brilliant Joel. What an excellent idea!

  70. December 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    [...] Made By Joel is offering a free Printable Nativity Scene. [...]

  71. Mr. and Mrs. R.
    December 11, 2013 at 10:54 am

    This is wonderful! Our children will agree, too. Thank you so much! :-) Found you today via the Moneysaving Mom site.

  72. December 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I printed this off tonight and my three year old cut it out and colored some as well. She was very proud of doing most of the project herself. After we set everything up, my husband explained the scene to her and then we read a children's book explaining things as well. It was a very special night and I just want to thank you for putting this printable together. I see you have a book, I will definitely have to check that out!

    1. December 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      That's so great! Glad you all had a good time creating and hanging out together. Isn't that so fun!? Thanks so much for the note!

  73. Leanne
    December 14, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Thank you so much for designing this! I teach 2 and 3 yr. olds at my church and they thrive on stuff like this!!! - and so do I!

  74. Janelle
    December 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Thank you!!! This is just adorable. I teach a class of 5/6 year old children, they are going to love this!!! My 11 year old daughter is working on one right now to add to our Nativity collection. Thank you again!!!

  75. December 18, 2013 at 4:00 am

    [...] Made by Joel has a free printable paper nativity. [...]

  76. December 18, 2013 at 7:17 am

    [...] set throughout your home.   If you don’t have a kid-friendly nativity set, Click Here or Here for nativity characters your family can print off and make.  Write a clue to find each nativity [...]

  77. December 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm

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  78. December 22, 2013 at 6:38 am

    [...] Like these super adorable nativity scenes from Made by Joel. [...]

  79. December 22, 2013 at 6:56 am

    [...]                                                                                                                                                  Źródło [...]

  80. December 24, 2013 at 3:01 am

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  81. Cathy
    December 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I was travelling at Christmas this year and not trusting Canadian winter weather I was unsure exactly where I would be on Christmas eve and day. I found your paper creche and decided it would travel with me so I could have Christmas wherever I was. I had a lot of fun staging it in a cigar box, putting baby Jesus in a separate envelop so he would "arrive" on the scene only on Christmas Eve. I attached the tiny birthday envelop to the box with a magnet, ready for the special day. Thanks for sharing this lovely creche. I'll use it every year from now on. I have photos but don't know how to attach them. (I'm better with paper and glue than with computers). Happy New Year to all. C

    1. December 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Cathy! Wow, what kind story. I'd love to see your photos. You can send them to So nice of you to write. I'm glad the nativity was traveling with you. Joel

  82. January 4, 2014 at 8:17 am

    [...] By Joel is offering an awesome freebie right now for a free printable Nativity Set! This is super cute and great to get the kids involved [...]

  83. April 20, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    [...] Paper City Nativity Scene Craft [...]

  84. November 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    […] Paper Nativity Scene […]

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