This DIY Christmas nativity stable is a fun Christmas craft for kids and adults made with popsicle sticks. Use this cute wooden nativity stable to make a homemade Christmas nativity scene! (First published November 17, 2016; this post is updated and republished to improve the content.)
Learn how to make a wooden nativity stable with popsicle craft sticks for Christmas! Making a popsicle stick nativity stable with family members or Sunday school is a fun Christmas craft for kids and adults! Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners will need help from a parent, caregiver, or teacher to make this popsicle stick nativity stable craft. But older children and teens might be able to complete this festive DIY Christmas decor project from start to finish on their own.
This handmade craft stick nativity stable is solid once it is built. It may seem fragile, but it can last several years when stored away correctly. We use our DIY nativity stable as an element in our Stone Advent countdown calendar, but it also makes a lovely wooden stable for a simple Christmas nativity scene. You might also enjoy these meaningful Christmas traditions for a magical holiday season.
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Homemade Wooden Nativity Stable
My preschool-aged daughter and I had a great time engineering this homemade wooden nativity stable with popsicle craft sticks for Christmas. Coming up with new and exciting ways to make crafts that others can also enjoy is one of our favorite things to do. This wooden nativity stable craft may seem difficult to make at first glance because of the number of steps involved. But I assure you that this popsicle stick craft is a super simple DIY Christmas decoration!
However, assembling this popsicle stick Christmas craft is much easier if you have a general idea of each step. It’s also best to understand how to make a popsicle stick nativity craft if children will be helping you make one. So, please read through the step-by-step nativity stable craft directions below before beginning this DIY Christmas nativity craft. That said, some of these Christmas nativity stable plans will make more sense once you have built your first wooden nativity stable craft.
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How do you make popsicle sticks stand up?
As you can see in the photograph below, this wooden nativity craft uses simple construction principles to make popsicle sticks stand up. Once the side walls are attached to the back wall of the nativity stable at a 45-degree angle, the popsicle sticks easily stand and stay upright. Follow the step-by-step DIY popsicle stick nativity stable instructions below.
How to Make a Nativity Stable Out of Popsicle Sticks
The irregularities of popsicle sticks can make building with them a tricky business. So, do your best to start by selecting craft sticks that are as straight as possible. Too many crooked popsicle craft sticks will make this DIY Christmas nativity stable tough to complete.
It is also essential to construct the nativity stable as neatly as possible. So do your best to ensure the popsicle craft sticks line up flush. However, lining the popsicle sticks up and making them straight and flush can be challenging for different reasons, depending on the type of glue that you use and whether you will be working with children and their ages.
We recommend taking frequent craft breaks if you will be making this wooden Christmas nativity craft with toddlers or preschoolers. Use glue that takes time to dry, and you will have breaks built in. Take a break after one or two steps in the project and return to work on your wooden Christmas stable once everyone has had time to rest.
DIY Nativity Stable Craft Supplies:
- Mini popsicle sticks for crafts
- Regular-size wood popsicle sticks
- Colored wooden jumbo craft sticks
- Glue gun and glue sticks, or wood glue pen
- Wooden star (1.5 inches)
- Yellow acrylic paint
Safety Note: It is essential to provide supervision and instruct children on safely using a hot glue gun if kids will use one to make this Christmas craft.
Popsicle Stick Nativity Stable Craft Step-by-Step Instructions
Please read the instructions before making a craft stick nativity stable so you know the steps involved and what to expect. You might also enjoy this list of Christmas Art Projects and painting ideas.
2. Build the side walls of the popsicle stick nativity stable.
Use a combination of regular and mini popsicle craft sticks to build two side walls for the wooden nativity stable.
Craft Supplies Needed for each sidewall:
- Five regular-size popsicle sticks (two more to use as guidelines optional)
- Five mini popsicle sticks
- Glue gun with glue sticks or wood glue pen
How to build the side wall of the popsicle stick nativity stable:
- Lay five mini craft sticks down horizontally.
- Place two regular-sized popsicle sticks vertically along the sides of the mini popsicle sticks to help line them up as straight as possible.
- Next, place a regular-sized craft stick on the right and left sides of the horizontally placed mini-craft sticks. It will look like train tracks. (Use the two popsicle sticks you placed along the sides, or grab another two craft sticks while keeping the originals in place, as shown in the photograph below.)
- Use a pencil to mark a dot where the vertically placed regular-sized popsicle sticks overlap the horizontal mini craft sticks.
- Place a glue dot where you made each pencil mark, turn it over, and attach it to the tops of the side at a 90-degree angle to the horizontally arranged mini craft sticks. (Do your best to keep the craft sticks straight and flush; try not to allow any popsicle sticks to extend beyond the overlapped craft stick.)
- Repeat this step on the other side. Flip over your little train track sidewall and glue two more craft sticks to the other side.
- Place a bead of glue along the bottom edge of another popsicle craft stick and attach it to one side of the side wall. Leave the other side of the sidewall as is. (Do not glue another craft stick to it because it will be glued to the back wall of the nativity stable in a later step.)
- Repeat steps one through six to create a second side wall.
- We have included a photo tutorial below to show how each sidewall for the popsicle stick nativity craft is made to complement these instructions directly.
3. Build the back wall of the nativity stable.
Twenty-two regular-sized popsicle sticks are needed to construct the back wall of the wooden Christmas stable.
How to build the back wall of the nativity stable with popsicle sticks
- Lay two craft sticks down horizontally, tip to tip.
- Place a glue line along the top of another craft stick, turn it over, and lay it horizontally on top of the two craft sticks to attach them. Repeat this step five times to make five extra long craft sticks for the back wall of the nativity.
- Line the completed craft stick backboards up horizontally. Place two more regular-sized popsicle sticks on top of the far left and far right sides of the horizontally placed extra-long popsicle sticks. Do your best to ensure they are as evenly spaced as possible.
- Use a pencil to place a dot on the verticle popsicle stick where the craft sticks overlap.
- Place a dot of glue where you have made each pencil mark. Turn the wooden stick over and glue it to the top of the horizontally arranged extra-long craft sticks. Once again, do your best to keep them flush. Do not allow horizontal craft sticks to extend beyond the verticle craft stick on either side.
- Flip the back wall over and repeat this step with two more regularly sized popsicle sticks on the other side.
- Keep the back wall turned over and put a bit of glue where each pair of craft sticks touches in the middle. Place a regular craft stick vertically over the glue in the middle of the back wall to attach it. This will cover the point where the craft sticks meet to help stabilize the back wall of this popsicle stick nativity craft and give it more structural stability.
- Use a glue gun to place a bead of glue along the edge of another craft stick. Attach it to one side of the back wall to cap the edge. Repeat this step on the other side.
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4. Attach the sidewalls to the back wall of the popsicle stick stable.
- Lay down the back wall so the vertical craft stick I-beam down the middle is on top.
- Place a long bead of glue along the upper edge of one side.
- Attach the sidewall with the exposed side down and the capped side up.
- Repeat this step on the other side of the stable.
5. Build the roof of the nativity stable.
You will need three jumbo craft sticks and two mini craft sticks for each side of the roof. In other words, you will need six red jumbo popsicle sticks and four mini popsicle sticks to make the nativity-stable roof pieces.
- Put three jumbo craft sticks side by side, as shown in the photograph below.
- Place a bead of glue along the edge of a mini craft stick, turn it over, and attach it horizontally about one inch from the end of the red jumbo craft stick. Glue the second mini craft stick to the other side of the jumbo craft sticks.
- Repeat the steps above to make the other side of the pitched roof.
- Do not place the mini craft sticks too far from the end of the red jumbo popsicle sticks. The position of the craft sticks will ultimately affect the roof’s pitch.
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6. Attach the roof to the frame of the Christmas stable.
My daughter and I made three of these wooden nativity stable crafts together, and we never attached the roof of it the same way twice. Because how you construct the stable structure will affect how your roof will fit and what you need to do to make it work. Read through the steps to make this DIY nativity stable craft below, call it a STEAM challenge, and set the kids to work at home or in the classroom to figure it out.
- Play with both sides of the roof turned each way on both the left and right sides before you decide how to glue it.
- Move them around to find which way they fit best.
- Lean the mini stick at about a 45-degree angle on one side of the roof into the cradle on the top of the sidewall.
- Find the way that it sits the best and glue it there. (We used hot glue to attach the roof so it would hold fast, but you can also use wood glue, a glue pen, or glue dots.) Repeat on the other side. (See the top two pictures in the photo collage below.)
- Attach craft stick crossbars from one side of the back wall to the opposite roof in whatever way works.
- Use the popsicle stick crossbars and glue to help support and move the roof into place as best you can.
7. Attach the yellow wooden star to the roof of the nativity stable.
- Place a dot of hot glue on the two arms of your star that touch the roof to attach it. This will help stabilize the roof and give it more structural integrity.
- This shooting star represents the Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem.
DIY Nativity Stable Made of Popsicle Sticks
This DIY craft stick nativity stable looks lovely displayed in a nativity scene for Christmas and will add to your festive home decor. A popsicle stick nativity stable also makes a great Christmas gift idea.
DIY Wooden Christmas Stable
We use our DIY craft stick stable as a part of our simple stone advent Christmas countdown calendar. Click the link to assemble a countdown calendar with stones, click HERE to learn how to make our easy DIY wooden peg doll holy family, or click HERE to learn how to set up a Nativity Scene display for Christmas.
This handmade craft stick nativity stable makes a lovely homemade Christmas gift for someone special. Believe it or not, it’s pretty solid once you put it together. It may seem fragile, but it can last several years if stored away correctly.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
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- DIY Christmas Ornaments