If you’ve purchased a nativity set without a stable let me show you how easy it is to build a pretty DIY nativity stable out of wood scraps. Are you ready?
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1. Scrap Wood ( I used plywood I had leftover, but you may use 1×4’s and 1×10’s too!).
2. Cuts (these can be different depending on what scraps you have and the size of your nativity pieces, make the height a couple of inches taller than your tallest figurine)
- 1 piece – 10 X 10 inches
- 1 piece – 5 X 10 inches
- 2 pieces -3 X 14 inches each
3. Saw (electric or hand saw)
5. Wood Glue
7. Walnut Stain
9. Sand paper
10. Gorgeous nativity from Hobby Lobby
Step 1: Drill Pocket Holes
Once your pieces are cut, drill pocket holes on the two longer pieces. I used a mini kreg jig to drill the pocket holes. You can see the placement on the picture above.
The cuts are based on the size of my tallest figurine. Joseph is about 11.5 inches, and I decided to make the stable three inches taller to make it roomier and more comfortable for them. =-) The top piece is 1/2 the size of the bottom piece. However, it all depends on what you want your end result to look like. I cut the bottom piece first, placed the figurines on it, and then decided the height and width of the side pieces. My nativity is from Hobby Lobby and with a coupon of 40% off I paid $30.00.
Step 2: Attach the side pieces to the base
Step 3: Attach the top in the same manner
This is the end result ready for finishing
Step 4: Apply Stain
I used Walnut Stain as I was planning on distressing the whole thing. I wanted the dark stain to show on the edges. However, if that is not your thing and you want the end result to be a solid warm white, go for it! You can skip this step.
To apply the stain, I took an old rag, dipped it in the stain, and started applying it. A small amount goes a long way! I used the same stain I have used for many of my projects. You may want to protect the area where you are staining. Put some newspaper or wax paper down for easy clean up. Also, take the time to change into clothes that you won’t care if they get stained.
Note to self: Follow my own advice. =-)
My daughter Natalia wanted me keep it brown. I really liked it too, but it would just get lost with all the wood finishes that there are in my kitchen. My buffet table is also a dark wood stain, and I wanted the nativity stable to stand out. But, if the furniture piece you are placing your nativity on is white or light colored, I would stick with the stain look. It is all about what you have going on in your space.
Step 5: Paint over Stain and Distress
Sadly, I don’t have pictures of my painting process. I got too excited to finish and forgot all about taking more pictures. But, I will explain what I did.
- I applied some vaseline in the areas where I wanted the paint to chip off (most of the edges and some random areas).
- I painted the whole thing with Chalked Paint (NOT chalkboard paint) in white. It took about three coats as chalk style paint soaks into the wood easily and dries really fast.
- I took a sanding block and sanded all of the edges and random areas where I applied the vaseline.
- I applied more paint or stain in areas where I thought I sanded too much, and sanded more where I thought it needed it. It was a good 10 minutes or more of touching up, sanding, stepping back to look at it, and touching up again. =-)
I am pleased with the results! I ended up placing a red runner under it to give it more depth, and added my DIY table top Christmas trees.
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If you want another option for a more traditional nativity stable, check this one out, also made from scraps