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How To Build a Nativity Scene

Updated on October 13, 2016

Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Jesus, Joseph and Mary in the Manger Scene. There are many easy ways to reconstruct this beautiful scene in your front yard for the holidays.
Jesus, Joseph and Mary in the Manger Scene. There are many easy ways to reconstruct this beautiful scene in your front yard for the holidays. | Source
The Manger Scene from the New Testament is a beautiful moment frozen in time and many people display a manger scene for the month of December.
The Manger Scene from the New Testament is a beautiful moment frozen in time and many people display a manger scene for the month of December. | Source
A miniature Nativity scene depicting the Lord. Many people display miniature Nativity scenes inside their homes to show their love and respect for Jesus on his birthday.
A miniature Nativity scene depicting the Lord. Many people display miniature Nativity scenes inside their homes to show their love and respect for Jesus on his birthday. | Source

How To Construct a Homemade Manger Scene

Here is a really easy way to make a manger scene for your yard that you can use year, after year during the Christmas holidays. This piece is great for your yard and adds a nice extra touch to your Christmas decorations.

These are the items that you will need when constructing a manger scene for Christmas. This is a good project that you can work on with your kids. It's a great project to take on and it's very easy to construct so, it is easy to break down as well. One idea would be to donate it to your church after it is finished. (on a side note: you might want to make sure your church has a place to store this decoration when not being used). If you make one for your home and you don't want to break it down, then you will need to make sure that you have a place to store the manger scene at your home.

You can use grass, leaves or straw around the pallets of your display. also, mud or dirt are recommended but never use paint because it takes away the realistic look of the nativity scene. Also, if you are going to store from year to year, just leave the mud off.

When you get the manger scene finished make sure that it sits a little ways off the road so that people passing by will be able to get a good look at it. You may need several extension cords for this decoration and the figurines that go around it. This is great to be the big "decoration" or the centerpiece for the yard.

1. 3/4 Inch Nails (50 count)

2. Hammer

3. Four Wooden Pallets (You can get these from grocery stores)

4. Straw or Hay

5. One 2" x 2" board or you can substitute a 2" x 4" board

6. Extension cords

You get four pallets and put them together in a square. Then nail them together and use extra wood for support if necessary. I use a 2 x 2 cut in half then in nail them to the back of the wooden pallets at angles for support, which is important during bad winds or other bad weather that can tear your project apart. After this step, you just make sure it is sturdy. Then you put straw in, on and around your new Nativity scene. Put white Christmas lights around the pallets and purchase Jesus, Joseph and Mary figurines to put inside the pallets.

Remember old is the key, so you will want old pallets and wood. You can throw straw, hay, grass and even dirt all over the square that is made up of the composed four pallets. Also, for added decoration get the wise men and have lights to make your scene look nice at night. Usually if you ask grocery stores and thrift stores will give you four pallets especially if you explain the cause and the reason you need the old wood in the first place.

Definitely do not paint your manger in any way as that will detract from the Biblical times look you are looking for. Use white lights when lighting up your manger scene because again your going for a realistic look and colorful lights do not do justice to the true Nativity but, a Cross or Crucifix does in my opinion and it goes with any Christian scene being built. Also, when painting never do it after it just rained or if it is going to rain the next day either for that matter. You need it to be dry when you paint it and it needs 24 to 30 hours without rain in order for it to dry properly.

Side note: Use a rubber hammer if possible so that you don't risk breaking the wood off the pallets and be sure and keep it very homely and you too will have a beautiful home made biblical scene right before your eyes. Also, make sure to build your scene on level ground because if it is not level and rain turns it to a muddy hill, it will be a disaster. Plenty of straw, grass and extra twigs and limbs can also assure this does not happen. Also, In some cases you may want to use a little coping saw and saw off extra wood splinters that might poke someone from the pallets especially on the top area of the manger scene.

Have you ever had a nativity scene?

Have you ever had a manger scene?

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Nativity Scene

Easy To Do!

Making a Nativity scene is actually very easy and it does not take long at all. This is a project that you can complete in a long afternoon.

I tend to not use paint because keeping the realism and look like the old times is very important. If you add paint, the Nativity scene it just makes it unrealistic.

Just picture Biblical times in your head and decorate the scene accordingly. It's simple and cheap to do and it's definitely a center piece to a holiday yard decoration because, it stands out to visitors and passers by as it should. Put white lights around the manger scene but, not really for decoration but, to light up the scene so it can be seen at night.

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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