This kid-made baby Jesus in a walnut shell manger Christmas Ornament nature craft was inspired by the children’s book “Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale.” (affiliate)
We are lucky enough to live across the street from a walnut and almond orchard that my daughter and I walk in daily. After harvest, there are always walnuts that don’t get picked up by the harvesting equipment. The owner has told us to pick up and take any stray walnut we find once the season is over.
As we were on a scavenger hunt collecting walnuts the other day, I thought a half walnut would make the perfect manger for baby Jesus. There is “just enough room for a little one.”
Prior to our excursion in the orchard, My daughter and I put together a simple stone advent calendar complete with the holy family. You can see how we have since incorporated the walnut manger into our nativity scene by clicking on the links.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Thank you for choosing to support this blog!
Walnut Shell Manger Christmas Ornament Tutorial
Walnut Shell Manger Christmas Ornament: Materials
- Wooden beads
- walnut cracker try this and/or this
- Scrap of ivory or brown burlap
- Natural jute twine
- Wooden stars
- Glue gun with glue sticks
Walnut Shell Manger Christmas Ornament: Directions
1. Crack walnuts
If you’re wondering how to crack a walnut to get at least one usable half I’m afraid I’m not much help.
My daughter loves cracking walnuts and eating them. I set a bowl of walnuts in front of her with a walnut cracker that we found at a thrift store long ago and let her go for it.
She ended up with a tummy full of walnuts, a pile of shells, and a handful of useable halves. Not bad for a four-year-old.
If you have enough walnuts save a few aside just in case, and pass the walnut cracking off on the kids. It’s a fabulous hand strengthening activity!
2. Cut burlap squares
We cut our burlap squares from a scrap from a sewing project we did a while back. You will need one small square of burlap for each walnut half.
3. Cut twine into sections
You will need 1 10-12 inch section of twine for each walnut half. (You can have your kids practice measuring as you do this.)
4. Glue twine, burlap, and bead into the walnut shell
Glue guns are hot and dangerous tools. Children must be under direct supervision at all times when a glue gun is plugged in.
Please make sure your children are mature enough to handle a glue gun before inviting them to help put this walnut shell manger Chrismas ornament together.
I held the walnut shell for my daughter so it was easier for her to glue the twine, burlap, and bead into the walnut shell. See directions and photos below.
- Place loop of twine into 1/2 walnut shell knot down.
- Prepare burlap square by folding all edges into the middle until you have a little wad of burlap to tuck into the walnut shell messy side down.
- Keep a hold of your burlap as you fill the 1/2 walnut shell with a big dollop of glue right on top of the twine.
- Quickly tuck the burlap into the shell before the glue begins to dry.
- Place another dollop of glue where you would like the head to sit and quickly place the bead into it before it dries.
5. Glue Star onto twine
Place a dollop of glue on the star and place on the twine about 2 inches above the head of baby Jesus.
Awww… isn’t it darling? My daughter and I are in love with them!
Handmade ornaments like this kid-made baby Jesus in the manger are perfect for the Christmas tree. You can also use this craft as a part of a nativity scene. They make beautiful decorations and are a great keepsake gift idea!
This post is a part of the 10 days of kid-made book inspired ornaments series. If you make any book inpired ornaments be sure you use the hashtag #KidMadeChristmas so we can see what you’ve created! Check out these posts from my co-hosts:
- Flash Bugs Studio |Matisse Inspired Ornament, inspired by Henri’s Scissors
- My Storytime Corner | Star Ornament, inspired by Star Bright
- Living Life and Learning | Peppa Face, inspired by Peppa Pig
- Miss Mae’s Day | Cinnamon Stick Ribbon Christmas Tree, inspired by A Merry Little Christmas Tree
- Adventures in Wunderland | Crayon Melt Ornaments, inspired by the day the crayon’s quit
You may also like:
- Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make
- Elf Peg Doll Christmas Ornaments
- Ultimate Gift Guide for Kids
- Christmas Coloring and Activity Books for Kids