If a Christmas nativity scene is part of your holiday decor, this DIY wooden manger is a project that is easy, quick, and will add a rustic touch to your existing nativity figures. Best of all, you can build it with wood scraps!
I’ve had this nativity for years and I’ve always displayed it without a stable. Every year I tell myself I need to buy a stable but I’d shop and didn’t love the prices. The same thing would happen the next year.
This year, rather than shop, I decided to grab my scraps and come up with a DIY wooden manger design that would complement my cute wooden nativity scene. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, and even happier that I spent ZERO dollars.
DIY Wooden Manger
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DIY Woden Manger- Tutorial
Make sure the height of the vertical pieces are an inch or two taller than the tallest figure in your nativity. In mine, Joseph is 5″ tall.
After the main frame was made, I attached it to a 6″ wide piece of craft board I had on hand. I trimmed it to 12″ and attached it with wood glue and shot nails from the bottom and into the 1×3″.
For the A-frame, I cut two 1×4′ pieces at 10″, and beveled one end at 45 degrees using my miter saw. Join the angled ends with glue and brad nails. Make sure you shoot in short nails so they don’t come out the other side.
If you’re not a fan of angled cuts, check out my other tutorial for a nativity stable without angles.
TIP to get the angles right the first time: Stack the two 1×4’s and cut the beveled angle on both of them at the same time. Then stack them again with the pointy angled ends facing each other, mark the desired length and cut to size.
Set the A frame on the main piece and measure the distance for your small angled pieces. For me, the two pieces were 2.5″.
Again, cut the 45 degree angles first, then cut the other end of the boards for length (see step 5). Stacking the two boards and cutting the angles at the same time will make it quicker!
Once your two pieces are cut, mark the placements before you attach. Just set them in place, with the frame on top, make sure all looks square and straight, then mark with a pencil.
Glue the two pieces on your marks and secure with brad nails.
Now you’re ready to place the A frame. Use glue and brad nails to keep it in place. And you’re done!!
Now it’s just a matter of finishing it to your liking! I opted to stain it with dark stain to add contrast. I sanded the edges and made sure everything was smooth before I applied the stain.
Here are some photos of the finished project!
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Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials for novice woodworkers and DIYers. She also works as a university professor in the health care industry. Have a question for Janice? Feel free to send her a message here!