"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Vintage Fontanini Nativity Given New Life

I couldn't help myself.  
Despite my love of the vintage look, I have
just a strong of a love to combine the old
with the new.  And this old set needed
a face-lift.
It was my first time experimenting with
enamel paints and I'm here to tell you - 
LOVE it!
 The original figurines were all 
painted basically one color.  Even their
hands and faces would have speckles
of color.  Although I dig their funky 
look, my heart cried out for details.
 Yet, I tried to stay true to the 
original color palette.  Example, If one king 
wore lime green, I repainted in a more
subtle jade green and detailed him with 
yellow and gold accents.  
 What kings looked like before....
 and after.
 My new love with enamels was 
purely accidental.  I needed gold and didn't
have it in my stash so I borrowed Ted's
paint, which he used for models 20 years 
ago.  Surprise!  They still worked!
 The gold went on so flawlessly,
I had to try more!  Notice the 
difference in Mary's halo, gown,
and Jesus's crib using gold accents.
 Another reason why I WILL be using
enamels again....SOON....is because
of how well they took to the plastic.
Unlike water-based paints, I didn't need to 
prime first and then put on several layers.
 AND the enamels were excellent
for working in tiny details.  These figures
are only 4 inches tall so I needed a fine
brush to handle teeny areas to paint.
The paint stayed exactly where I 
put it.  No drips.  
 Of course, there are pros and cons
to everything.
 What I didn't like about the enamels were
the strong chemical smells.  Plus, I didn't like having
to wash my brush with paint thinner, which
was also very strong to inhale.  
 Acrylics also come in endless amounts
of color whereas the enamels were very 
limited.  This is where you need to do
some mixing of colors is you want to 
branch out for more assortment.
Santa knows what's on my Christmas
list this year!
This nativity set was actually for a childhood
friend of mine who asked me to put my
"creative touch" to it.  Some have criticized me
for "devaluing" the set.  To this I stick out my
tongue and say, "Ffffffftttt!"


  1. Good job! I bet it was fun, too!
    Happy Holidays!
    Erica :)

  2. Much much better great re-purpose and and perfect up-cycle project! Happy Thanksgiving

  3. Your version brings out such tiny details. Well done. I'm sure your friend appreciates your amazing talents.

  4. Jill you rock out everything you do!! So I say pfffffft too!! It's such a throw away world!! You jazzed it up and gave it a longer life!! Yay for you!! XOXO Love ya Aunt Frannie

  5. You did it again :) So much fun to follow Your art adventures. Love Denise