One of the best times of the year is when we pull the Christmas storage tubs from the closet and begin unpacking the decorations inside! Everyone is so excited.

“Look! I had forgotten about this music box!”

“Here’s my stocking, and here is yours!”

We don’t have a “matchy” tree… instead, our tree is trimmed with an assortment of things that the children have picked out over the years. For example, there’s the Egyptian mummy ornament that Aidan picked out when he was studying Egypt in 2nd grade, Gresham’s farm ornament that he chose when he was 3, Janie’s pink mitten ornament, and so many more.

Today we are sharing a craft project that is sure to become a family keepsake you’ll want to get out year after year! Make some Nativity Painted Story Stones. They are not difficult to make! I also created a set of printable Nativity Story Cards to go with them. (The story cards are a good resource on their own, even if you don’t make the painted rocks!)

If you’ve been following this blog awhile, you probably know that we are big fans of rock painting. I usually use Mediterranean beach pebbles purchased from Home Depot for rock painting, but when we removed am ugly water feature (and mosquito breeding area, ugh) at our new house this summer, we discovered a ton of river rock under it and around it. We want to turn that area back into lawn, so now I have lots and lots of stones to work with!

Supplies Needed:

  • Rocks – if you don’t have access to good river rock like we used, you can always buy a bag at Home Depot!
  • Acrylic paint
  • Good, quality paint brushes. Get a tiny detail brush!
  • Sharpie Oil Based Paint Markers

I used the paint markers for the star and for the words on the rocks that have words. The other details were all painted with a brush as I feel like I have more control with a brush. However, you can use the paint markers for almost everything if you prefer those!

I think it’s always best to sketch out your design with pencil first. Even if you think the paint will cover up the pencil details, it always goes better if you plan it out first.

For each of the rocks with a night sky, I painted the black sky part first. I think that looks a little more natural than trying to paint the sky at the end.

I found the perfect wood tray at Hobby Lobby for displaying our Nativity Story Stones! I put it a little bit of paper gift filler in the bottom of the tray.

I decided that I also wanted to create some Nativity Story Cards to go with the stones. The story cards can be used separately, or you can put them together on a metal ring like I did.

The story cards have Bible verses that go with the elements of the Christmas story. For older kids, I would just read the entire account of Jesus’ birth in the Bible! However, for toddlers and preschoolers, these cards will create a great discussion point while they hold the stones in their hands.

Each of the cards matches with the stones I made, but you can use the cards without the stones, or paint the stones a different way. It’s totally up to you!

Here are some close up shots of the stones, and I’ll let you know which card I intended each stone to go with.

Crown – Goes with Luke 1:31-33 (could also do a Mary stone)

Call His Name Jesus – Goes with Matthew 1:21 (could also do a Joseph stone)

Baby Jesus – Luke 2:7

Bethlehem – Goes with Luke 2:1-5

Shepherds – Goes with Luke 2:8-11

Angel – Goes with Luke 2:12-14

Star – Goes with Matthew 2:1-2

Wise Men – Also goes with Matthew 2:1-2

Stable – Also goes with Luke 2:7

Ready to print the Nativity Story Cards? Click the link below. The file will open, and you can either save it or print it directly.

CLICK HERE: Nativity Story Cards


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  1. Donna Gilman Dec 9, 2018

    What a wonderful idea! I have grand-children that will love painting these. Thank you for sharing your creativity.

  2. David Dec 10, 2018

    Where are these rocks and story cards sold? What are the prices?

    1. Sarah Dec 10, 2018

      The story cards are free to download in the post. Click the link above where it says "CLICK HERE: Nativity Story Cards." The rocks are not for sale. This is a set I made that I am sharing as inspiration for people to paint their own. :-)

  3. Maejean Nov 11, 2019

    I love the story cards that go with the rocks. I was going to make my own nativity rocks this year and was so excited to see your cards. Thank you so much for sharing for free!

  4. Cathy Dec 8, 2019

    I am making the nativity rocks for my grandsons for Christmas. They will a great tool me teach them about Christmas. Thank you for this beautiful idea

  5. Gena Dec 15, 2019

    i made 5 sets of these stones. i ordered wooden cigar boxes from Consumer Crafts. The boxes have hinged lids and a clasp closure.
    Thank you for a wonderful idea for gifts for young families.

  6. Linda Dec 13, 2021

    I love this! Thank you!

  7. cori Oct 15, 2022

    I am totally in love with this idea. I want my kids to be little again so we can do this LOL. Now I will have to do for. my nieces and nephews!

  8. Janny Bastian Nov 5, 2022

    Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with me!...I'm starting on these right away


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