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DIY your own Christmas nativity/crib scene

  • Christmas
Dec 19, 2022
homemade nativity scene

Kochi-based designer Vanessa Meister Varma takes us through a simple and fun tutorial creating a Christmas nativity box

With this DIY we would like to celebrate the spirit of Christmas and the festive season in general. Each family, each home, has a unique way of celebrating the end of the year. From traditional customs to personal rituals, Christmas echoes with very intimate memories to each one who celebrates it. We invite you to look inwards, into your homes for things that make this time of the year special to you.

Avoid buying new things, instead, open drawers and boxes full of knick-knacks kept for a future occasion, because now is a good time to use them.

A simple and fun way to create a Christmas nativity box.

Here are basic steps to make a Christmas crib that will delight both kids and visitors to your home. If you’re wondering what a Christmas crib is then let me explain: also called a nativity scene, or manger, it is a setting that represents objects and the situation of the story of the birth of Jesus. The nativity scene is set in a barn, mimicking the circumstances of the birth of Jesus and often contains various elements like animals, the Three Wise Men, Jesus’s parents Joseph and Mary, shepherds and others.


In this version, the scene is much simpler but you can go as maximalist or minimalist as you like. Be unique, make it personal and use any colour, trimmings and decoration that you like and represents best your personal taste and style.

Remember it's about intention, not perfection.


Let's get started!

  1. First step is to tape the stripes over the box.

  2. And then we turn the box over and match the stripes to the edge.

  3. Using the set square we can keep checking that your angles are still in line

  4. We're only going to paint the top and the edges of the box, so you can tape all the other areas of the box so that the paint doesn't get everywhere.

  5. We'll have to paint red and white alternatively. So start with red and then white and go on from there.

  6. To do the background, first measure the inside of the box and draw the background to that length.

  7. With the leftover cardboard, draw and then cut out a little star.

  8. Once the paint is dry remove the tape.

  9. Use any sort of fancy border you have to decorate the lid.

  10. Use a golden marker to cleanly define the edges of the painted lines.

  11. Based on the measurements, cut the fabric for the inner base of the box.

  12. Drill a hole and fix the LED lights. I’ve used two lights taped to the top of the box with a wire going through the hole at the back.

  13. And most importantly: This DIY is not about perfection or duplicating the same box I've done. It is about finding things in your home which you can fit and put together something that matches your creativity and likes. 

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