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Make your own Créche

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Figu­re 24 shows the three pie­ces of the Creche placd­ten­da­tively to the base befo­re door and hatch are glued in. I use 8mm (5/16”) ply­wood. The cor­ner in front of the barn has been cut of in a quar­ter cir­cle to make the Creche more attractive.

The dama­ge in the barn roof can be seen very well in this base-pain­ted state.

The­men­star­ter Ver­öf­fent­licht : 5. April 2015 14:11

Once the Door and hatch have been glued to the sta­ble, we stain them as descri­bed in Step 10. After dry­ing we add some Umbra green and black specks to indi­ca­te decay. The result can be seen in Fig 25 and Fig 26.

For the dirt floor we need to pre­pa­re some “Krip­pen­mör­tel”. To pre­pa­re this we first make some dilu­t­ed wood glue (“Leim­was­ser”). For this we need to mix 1 part wood glue with 5 parts water and stirr well. The Krip­pen­mör­tel is then made by mixing one volu­metric part of chalk with one volu­metric part of saw dust. After mixing the two dry pow­ders well, we slow­ly add Leim­was­ser and keep stir­ring until we get a crea­my, plas­ter like sub­s­tance. Krip­pen­mör­tel will last about a fort­night if kept in a water­tight con­tai­ner (e.g. a jel­ly jar with a screw-on lit). 

For the soil around the house and the dirt floor in the barn, we app­ly the Krip­pen­mör­tel gent­ly with a brush, see Fig. 25. It is important that we gene­ra­te a rough sur­face and not fett­le it too much. The ground should be uneven and worn from use. The sides of the base board are cove­r­ed with Krip­pen­mör­tel as well. For this I use a pal­let – kni­fe or a spa­tu­la from a stuc­co plasterer’s work­shop, see Fig. 26.

The Krip­pen­mör­tel will have to dry for 6 to 8 hours befo­re we can app­ly a base coat.

The­men­star­ter Ver­öf­fent­licht : 20. Okto­ber 2015 10:59

Once the Krip­pen­mör­tel has dried, it can be pain­ted with the base coat. Here we use the same white exter­nal wall paint as we used in Step 7 for the ren­de­ring coat, see Fig 27. 

While the base coat dries we can color the roof., see Fig. 27 In our area the roofs tend to have red tiles on the roof, so we can use the same colors as we did in Step 8 when we colo­red the bricks. With a dry brush we first take up very litt­le red and brush it onto the cor­ru­ga­ted card­board. Some but not all of the ‚val­leys‘ should be touched and most of the ‚hills‘ should have some red. We then add some brown and oran­ge spots in the same man­ner. The final coat would be some red again. Fig. 28 shows the roof after we have added color to it. Still some of the gray base coat is visi­ble. Adven­tur­ous creche makers add some pur­p­le and black spots as well, to make the roof more dramatic.

The­men­star­ter Ver­öf­fent­licht : 20. Okto­ber 2015 12:28

After pain­ting the roof it is final­ly time to color the ground. This time we use the “dark on white” tech­ni­que. This tech­ni­que requi­res pow­de­red paint and a liquid bin­der. Bin­ders can be acry­lic bin­der from the art store, tech­ni­cal gela­ti­ne (Hasen­leim) or sim­ply some beer with a twist off cap. In my aquain­tance the beer is the most popu­lar bin­der: first becau­se after dry­ing the paint can still be was­hed off with water and second becau­se of the dis­po­sal of unused bin­der

The colors used depend on the type of creche. For a folk­lo­ric creche from Ger­ma­ny brown, two greens and some black tog­e­ther with some white for mixing seems appro­pria­te. I make my green from blue and some gold ocre, see Fig 29. The typi­cal yel­lows do not give nice greens for vege­ta­ti­on. Sin­ce the blue is such a strong pig­ment I keep it away from the other pig­ments on the pallet.

The first part is a tho­rough colo­ring of the Krip­pen­mör­tel covering the ground with side by side. It is important to color the ground tho­rough­ly such that all crevices and val­leys beco­me pain­ted. One can­not put too much color on the ground sin­ce the second step will be to wash all the excess paint off with a wet – not drip­ping – spon­ge., see Fig 30 It is important to keep the spon­ge clean and chan­ge the water regu­lar­ly. If the spon­ge con­tains to too much pig­ment it beco­mes the paint brush

The wet spon­ge takes off the pig­ment from the ele­va­ted parts of the ground such that a nice lively pat­tern deve­lo­ps, see Fig 31. One needs to press out the spon­ge tho­rough­ly. If the spon­ge is too wet, it takes off too much color.

The­men­star­ter Ver­öf­fent­licht : 25. Okto­ber 2015 21:51

Once the color of the ground has set, it is time to deco­ra­te. I like to use small pie­ces from plants and bits of sand to give the appearan­ce of a lived-in place. 

I use bird sand from a pet store sin­ce it is fine and flows well. The sand should not cover the ground com­ple­te­ly but sit local­ly in dark cor­ners or along well trod­den paths. I first app­ly some wood glue with a small brush in the rele­vant pla­ces and then sprink­le sand with a spoon on it. The first lay­er of sand will be held by the glue once it dries. The rest can be blown off easily. 

Small stones can be glued in stra­te­gic pla­ces as well. I tend to mix them with dilu­t­ed glue (Leim­was­ser) and then spoon them on the Créche.

Small plants can be repre­sen­ted by pie­ces of lichen. Some sports of moss also resem­ble small flowers, when loo­ked at clo­se­ly. Glue them with hot melt glue in groups of three and four to give a natu­ral appearance. 

The big tree is a pie­ce from a horn­beam hedge with some lichen on it. For trees “parts pro toto” works per­fect­ly. If you want to repre­sent a fir tree, use a bit of fir tree. If you want to have a beech, find some beech root, e.g. from a topp­led over tree after a storm.

The final result with a small – may­be too small – nati­vi­ty group can be seen in Figu­re 32.

The­men­star­ter Ver­öf­fent­licht : 20. Dezem­ber 2015 15:08

Dear Friend of the Créche,

after eig­t­heen steps our Cré­che is done. In this dis­cus­sion I have tried to show various tech­ni­ques. Natu­ral­ly you can build a Cré­che using only some of them (e.g. you can cover the walls with „Krip­pen­mör­tel“ ins­tead of ren­de­ring coat. You are wel­co­me to adapt and vary.

I hope you enjoy­ed our litt­le tour and do post the results of your efforts in this forum.

The­men­star­ter Ver­öf­fent­licht : 20. Dezem­ber 2015 15:11
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