View RSS Feed

Crèchemania Blog

"Miniature" Crèches

Rating: 4 votes, 4.75 average.
Click on a corner of a page to see our Miniature Album. The penny provides scale.
Without Abraham Lincoln, would you know that this J.F. Schreiber miniature nativity only measures two inches high? (Flip our Miniature Album pages to see it as "Krippen 5" nativity sheet). 
For a while it seemed that all of's miniature crèche lovers were concentrated in the Netherlands. But now, Annelies de Kort and Joke Louw have some American company: Crèche Enthusiast Carolyn Hobbes (known as DollieMouse on this blog) who writes from her perch overlooking the Rocky Mountains: Dear Alexis,

I'm new to, and astonished to realize the abundance of paper crèches. Since I was a child, I have loved any sort of graphics in paper form. I do feel God's presence in these beautiful paper nativities.

With only three paper creches, I am so new to this I need to learn much more from all of you. And I'm planning to increase my miniature collection with Crèchemania Downloads.

I am a kid at heart, and enjoy making dioramas. I have been making tons of miniatures to go with eight-inch dolls, including a crèche that's about one-and-a-half-inches high.

"I only had one paper creche which I highly treasured for 38 years. Now that I found and know they are out there, I am trying to locate and purchase more paper nativities.

"Thank you for the sculpted relief panel of the Nativity. Adding the Gregorian Chant made it a spiritual experience. I was moved to tears, it is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing."

Carolyn Loshbaugh

Thank you for writing, Carolyn. I especially loved reading that, "After punching out the figures of one paper nativity, I used a brown marker to carefully go around the perimeter edge of each figure to eliminate the white — it gives it a very rich-looking finish."

Spoken like a true CrècheManiac. That's exactly what I have always done as well.

I love hearing from Carolyn, because she — and enthusiasts like you — are the reason exists. And she happened to write me about her miniatures just as I was preparing the Miniature Album that you see on top of this page. I hope you'll enjoy flipping through it, by clicking on a page corner.

Our Album is made up beguiling miniature nativities, and if you feel like you have to strain your eyes to see the details, you're not alone: these "miniatures" are reductions of larger nativitity sheets, once given away by shops as Christmas promotions.

(You may be familiar with the "flour," "sugar," and "coffee" promotional nativity sheets issued in the former Czechoslovakia. Our Zábrdské Betlémy album contains a Perola advertising sheet.)

The Ballermann & Son nativity sheet "En Julekirke" becomes a miniature featuring a cellophane stained glass rose window. 
Small is beautiful

I first began thinking small when the idea of a Crèche Tree occured to me. I needed small nativities to complement the vintage ones in my collection, and I set about creating them.

First, I made a miniature of Ballerman & Son Julekirke (see photo, left), and I well remember the impossible task of trying to position the cellophane stained-glass window — from the inside, after the little church had been completed.

Had my fingers suddenly become as thick as tree trunks? They sure felt that way as I tried, with the help of a twizzer even, to complete my task.

But it was well worth the epic (!) struggle, as many of you have found out in working with miniatures:

"Making miniatures is my passion," says Carolyn. "I make dioramas for every season and holiday, using many forms of paper to create my miniatures. So making paper miniature crèches fits into my love of paper miniatures in general.

"I have had a love of all kinds of paper since I was a small child. Cutting, pasting, folding, graphics, textures, colors, art — all an integral part of who I am. What would I do without X-acto Knives, trimmers, paint, and rulers?

"I am a collector and creator at heart. I appreciate so much the artistic talent of ancient, vintage, and modern artists. Our creativity delights God, I believe, and creating something beautiful that honors Him, like the crèches, is almost a form of respect and worship.

"The downloads are wonderful, and I've decided to use them to make miniatures. I'm hoping to make a Christmas tree in miniature, (about 12 inches or so), and decorate it with tiny creches and candles, just like your Chrèche Tree. What an amazing and respectful celebration of the true meaning of Christmas—I just loved it when I saw it!"

Creating a miniature

As many of you who may have downsized Downloads to create miniature crèches realize, the busier the design, sometimes the less pleasant the result. After all, there's only so many pixels even a fine printer can pack into two inches (the height of Krippen 5, in the Miniature Album above).

Krippen 4 is a good example of the sort of design not to use when creating a miniature. Note the very dark manger which, in a much larger scale, would look fine. But, as pixels gets smaller and are squeezed closer together, the image also gets much darker.

Sometimes, as I have done with Krippen 4, you might be able to lighten certain areas of a dark design and create a pleasing miniature.

Now, what wouldn't I give for a look of the Rockies out of Carolyn's window. Maybe I can trade with her: a miniature nativity for a view?


P.S. Do you have a miniature crèche or nativity sheet? Share it with us!

And Benjamin wouldn't forgive me if I didn't mention that the word miniature derives from the Latin "miniatus," to color with red.
Untitled Document

Submit ""Miniature" Crèches" to Digg Submit ""Miniature" Crèches" to Submit ""Miniature" Crèches" to StumbleUpon Submit ""Miniature" Crèches" to Google Submit ""Miniature" Crèches" to Facebook Submit ""Miniature" Crèches" to Twitter

Crèchemania Blog