Even a very simplistic manger scene, made from a few slats of wood, can be striking. The wood pieces you use can vary in size, but must be flat and wide. Five pieces, all the same size, plus the miniatures to form the scene, is all you need from the craft store.
Set one slat of wood on a flat surface. You can cover the wood in black or blue velvet, glue on pieces of raffia to represent straw, or just leave the slat of wood unfinished. This first slat will be the floor of the manger scene.
At the ends of the first piece of wood you'll glue on two more pieces - one on each end - and both of them standing on end. Before doing this you can paint the wood, if desired. These two pieces of wood will form the "walls" of the manger scene. Wood glue works well for this project but you can also use hot glue. Be sure the side pieces are straight and that the glue is completely dry before moving on to the roof of the manger scene.
For the roof you'll glue the remaining slats together, at the ends. As the glue dries you'll slightly bend the two pieces into an upside-down "v" shape. Hold the "v" over the walls of the manger and mark where each roof piece meets each side piece. Glue the roof, at these points, onto the side pieces of the manger scene.
The scene has no backing, but you can make a back by simply gluing on a piece of cardboard, fabric or even craft foam. The manger scene looks fine without the back, though, so adding one is optional.
Glue or set the characters onto the floor of the manger. Although the project is now complete there are lots of other things you can do to make the manger even more impressive. Glue a piece of garland, tinsel, or even Spanish moss across the roof, add a strand of lights around the perimeter of the manger, or dangle a star from the center of the roof, to hang over the manger.
There are lots of items, found at craft stores, that can be added to the scene but separate from the actual manger, such as pine trees placed to the side of the manger scene, miniature sheep to stand outside, or even additional travelers standing around as spectators. You'll find a huge variety of old-time characters or animals for the Christmas scene.
The building of the manger is simple and the building itself can become other Christmas decorations besides the manger scene. Make the building and stand mini Christmas carollers inside. Or, fill the building with mini toys and place a Santa and elves inside.
You'll love the ease of making this particular manger scene plus you'll save a bundle over purchasing something similar. Another great thing about this project is that it can be made as tiny or as large as you wish, depending upon the size of slats and figurines you choose. It only takes a few minutes to make the manger scene, but go ahead and get busy, others will see it and want one too!
Published by Emma Salkill
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Emma Salkill has traveled the U.S. and parts of the world. She has visited nearly every state in America and now resides in scenic North Carolina. Emma has been published online over... View profile
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