DIY cardboard box nativity diorama.

Thanks to Suebee, we have a beautiful and precious nativity scene. Unfortunately, it is too beautiful and precious for the kids to play around with. Solution? Let’s make our own play-friendly nativity scene from one of the cardboard boxes that just arrived in the mail.


colored pencils
glitter (optional)
white glue
cardboard box
paintbrush and black paint
pipe cleaners
masking tape or thick tape
construction paper or other thick paper
printout of three nativity diorama coloring pages
(Nativity diorama sheet 1, Nativity diorama sheet 2, Nativity diorama sheet 3)

Print out the nativity diorama sheets and let the munchkins color them as they see fit. Yes, this means camels will be yelllow and hair will be purple. All part of the charm. As they work on this, you can cut the bottom flap from the box and use the black paint to create a night sky above the top of the manger scene.

Let the paint dry and use your scissors to start cutting out the images and pasting them to construction paper or sturdier paper. You can cut out the figures with paper backing while the glue is still wet. Add glitter and glue to stars or wise men gifts as you see fit.

Now comes one of my favorite parts- the Max invention (a.k.a. the opportunity to use those pipe cleaners). If your box is anything like ours, the night sky did not wish to comply with our request for it to stand up and stop falling over.

Suddenly, a star shone down on the shack we fondly call our castle- the light of Max’s mind. “I know!” he blurted out and ran to the craft drawer, returning with a few pipe cleaners and a roll of thick tape. Then he explained how putting the pipe cleaners into the cardboard siding and taping them down in the back would provide “invisible stability”. Boy was he right. It worked perfectly!

In fact, we had Max add his pipe cleaner stability to all the stand-alone diorama pieces since they exhibited the same tendency of flopping over.

As Max created these backing pieces, we glued the holy family onto the back side of the box.

The wise men held their gifts proudly without flopping over. The bendable pipe cleaner backing- bent into a v shape- also allows for flexibility of positioning.

All that was left was for the kids to position everyone atop the piano. Perfect.

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