How to Easily Make a Christmas Crib

Updated on December 10, 2015

Diagram of a Crib

You can view the finished crib at the bottom of the page.
You can view the finished crib at the bottom of the page.

Making a Christmas Crib

Making a crib is easy, even if you have never tried doing it before. The materials required are few and you can get most of them for free. I can describe at least five methods of building one. Much of the work and materials involved apply for all methods.

On this page I am going to explain how I constructed my latest crib. Two other methods may be found below.

First Method

Materials:

  • A piece of plywood or stiff hardboard of 24" x 18" for the bottom
  • 3 pieces of fairly strong cardboard which can be cut from a large box as follows:
  • 1 piece of 24" x 12" for the back
  • 2 pieces 18" x 12" for the sides

You also need two other pieces of cardboard for the top and side of the two caves drawn in red and blue on the diagram.

Sizes:

  • For the Red Cave: 19" x 13"
  • For the Blue Cave: 16" x 11"

Finally 2 other pieces for the front of the caves:

  • For the Red Cave: 10" x 9"
  • For the Blue Cave: 8" x 8"

To stick the cardboard together we can use staples, glue, masking tape or whatever is most convenient for you.

  1. Start by fixing the back and the 2 sides to the stiff bottom.
  2. Next set up the caves, starting with the Red Cave. The cardboard for this cave is 19" x 13". Draw a line to divide it into 2 rectangles measuring 13" x 9" and 13" x 10". Fold along this line and glue or tape to the side, back and bottom of the crib.
  3. Now set up the Blue Cave and we do the same as before. The cardboard prepared for this cave is 16" x 11". Draw a line to divide it into 2 equal rectangles measuring 11" x 8" and 11" x 8". Fold along the line and fix to the side, the back and the bottom.
  4. Before fixing the front of the 2 caves you need to make an entrance. For the Red Cave, draw a 3-sided arch and for the Blue Cave draw a 2-sided arch, as in the diagram. Cut out the arches and affix to front of the caves.
  5. On top of the Blue Cave you put 2 small houses, so you need a path going uphill at the side. This is marked by a kind of ladder on the diagram. Cut out a length of cardboard of about 13" x 2.5" and affix to the side with masking tape. Cut out 2 lengths for supports, 6" x 2.5" and 3" x 2.5" and fix upright underneath the pathway.
  6. You need to have the space between the Caves sloping down to the front, so you need an additional piece of cardboard sized 12" x 4". Draw 2 lines to divide the cardboard into 3 sections lengthwise. Fold along the lines and fix in the space between the right-hand side of the Red Cave and the Pathway. It should look like a terraced rocky slope.
  7. At this stage, decide if you would like to have electric lighting in the crib. The inside of the caves would be rather dark so it is a good idea to install a light or two. In that case go below to the wiring section.

Papier Mache'

Now we have arrived at the messy part, where we need to cover the whole skeleton with papier mache'. What is papier mache'? It's a hobby in itself. Newspapers are dipped and soaked in glue and applied to any form desirable and allowed to dry. When dry, the papier mache' hardens and can be painted over quite easily.

To start you need a bucket half full of glue in which to dip strips of newspaper.

  1. To make the glue, pour half a litre of water into a small bucket and begin adding flour and stirring with a stick or a wooden spoon. Continue adding flour until the mixture becomes creamy but not too thick. Remember that the strips of newspaper, when dipped need to absorb the mixture.
  2. Add a little water or some more flour until you obtain the correct consistency.
  3. Finally, add about a cup of carpenter's white glue. Flour is good enough by itself to make the glue but adding the carpenter's glue not only makes it stronger but also to keeps insects like ants and silverfish from eating away the crib during the storage period.

The Red Cave

  1. Start tearing off strips of newspaper. Dip each strip in the glue, remove excess glue with your fingers and apply the wet strip to the cardboard of the crib.
  2. Start by covering the Red Cave. When applying the strips to the cardboard, wrinkle and twist the newspaper to make the roof of the cave look like rocks or rocky terrain. You can also roll some of the strips into loose balls or loosely twist them like ropes and place them on the roof of the cave.
  3. Cover them again with additional strips to make the ground even more uneven. Use your imagination here! The same applies when we arrive at the front of the Cave. We have to bring out a semblance of rocks with our papier mache'. So twist and roll your strips until you obtain a good result.

The Blue Cave

Cover the top, side and the frontage of the smaller cave in a similar manner. Also cover the pathway on the left-hand side.

The space between the Caves

We will make this look like a rocky terraced area sloping towards the front. So we cover it with papier mache' in the same way and cover the parts on the right-hand side of the Red Cave, which are still unfinished.

The inside of the Caves

Next we do the inside of both caves and any remaining unfinished areas. Correct as necessary and be sure that you like what you see. Leave the whole mess to dry out for a day or two.

Painting

When the papier mache' has dried and hardened we can start the painting process.

  1. To make the paint use white carpenter's glue, water and coloured powders (pigments). You need white chalk, yellow, brown and green powder.
  2. In a small plastic container pour 2 tablespoons of glue.
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of water and stir well.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of yellow powder.
  5. Paint the whole project. The paint should not be watery but thick enough to hide the lettering and pictures on the newpapers. If not just add a little white chalk and another tablespoonful of yellow powder.
  6. Allow to dry out for a couple of hours or so. Do not throw away the yellow paint.
  7. Next prepare some brown paint in the same way as we did with the yellow powder in a little plastic container. Make some green paint also.
  8. Even though the yellow coat may not be completely dry, begin painting the crevasses with brown so that the rocks look yellow and much darker in the hollows.
  9. Use another paint brush to dab some green here and there around the brown to make it look like moss. Again use your imagination here.
  10. Finally you can use some of the remaining yellow paint (if any). Make it lighter by adding some white chalk and paint some highlights in the rocks, especially the highest ridges, the top of a mound, the surface of the pathway, etc.

When everything has completely dried out, apply a coat of clear varnish, preferably semi-matte. The varnish brings out the colours and makes them more vivid and sparkling.

Lighting

Now how about installing some small electric bulbs? Just 2 would be enough to start with and would make the crib even more beautiful and artistic.

Drill 2 holes of about 1 inch diameter. You can do this by using a sharp blade or a sharp penknife. Take care how to handle the knife, because this step could be dangerous. Drill a hole at the back of the Red Cave and another at the back of the Blue Cave. The holes have to be high up just under the ceiling, approximately in the middle of the back of each cave so that they light the whole interior and cannot be seen from the front. We do not want to see the light bulbs, but only the light when we look from the front of the crib. We need 2 holders, 2 small bulbs and a length of flex (2-core wire) of about 8 feet.

Wiring (see Diagram below)

Start by cutting a piece of 20 inches from the length of flex.

  1. Peel one end and connect to the 2 terminals of the first holder;
  2. Peel the other end; also peel one end of the longer piece of flex;
  3. Join ends of pieces of flex together by twisting blue with blue, red with red;
  4. Connect to the 2 terminals of the second holder;
  5. Peel remaining end of longer piece of flex and connect to the plug;
  6. Assemble the plug by tightening the screw and insert bulbs in holders;
  7. Test by plugging into wall socket.

Note: the photo of the diagram is not clear enough. The first holder is on the right of the diagram. In second holder we make a joint; the wires go in and out again to go to the plug. That's why we twist them together. If you need a third holder, do a similar joint in the first holder with the wires going to the new holder.

You can see a picture of a similar product at the bottom of the page.

Second Method.

For this method polyurethane foam or 'jablo' is used, the white light material which is used to pack fridges, washing-machines and other white goods. Obtain some of this foam from a White Goods Supplier, the best for our purpose would be about 2 inches thick or more. This method is very similar and great fun to do.

Wiring Diagram

Christmas Crib with Homemade Clay Figurines

Questions & Answers

    Leave your Mark Here

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        joseph joy 

        7 months ago

        its good?

      • profile image

        RAJAN 

        3 years ago

        I would like to have your book, may I know how can I have it please!

      • profile image

        jhalak 

        3 years ago

        thanks

      • NewHorizons profile imageAUTHOR

        Joseph Attard 

        5 years ago from Gozo, Malta, EU.

        Christmas is here again. I'll try to find the time to set up my Crib. Christmas is not complete for me without one. Happy Christmas to all of us x x x x x x

      • NewHorizons profile imageAUTHOR

        Joseph Attard 

        6 years ago from Gozo, Malta, EU.

        Thank you Akhil James, Manoj Sebastian and the others. I cannot have a Christmas without the Christmas Crib. Happy Christmas and a Lucky New Year to All.

      • profile image

        Akhil James 

        6 years ago

        I could make the best crib ever I could

      • NewHorizons profile imageAUTHOR

        Joseph Attard 

        6 years ago from Gozo, Malta, EU.

        Thank you, Deborah and Sanzil. Build a Christmas Crib for your home. It's fun to do and goes well with the other decorations. Happy Christmas to ALL xxxxx

      • profile image

        Sanzil Fortes 

        6 years ago

        wow the idea is to good

      • Deborah Rangel profile image

        Glenn Ryall 

        6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

        Looks quite good, i got an idea from this going to add some features of my own as well.

      • NewHorizons profile imageAUTHOR

        Joseph Attard 

        7 years ago from Gozo, Malta, EU.

        s.pradeep, Are you going to make one?

      • profile image

        s.pradeep 

        7 years ago

        good one

      • profile image

        ron agnel 

        7 years ago

        awesome idea buddy keep it up and do write some more blogs regarding the xmas tree,.wish you all a merry christmas

      • profile image

        yashan 

        7 years ago

        i am going to try this at home too

      • efeguy profile image

        efeguy 

        8 years ago

        am going to try it this xmas.great hub and great info.

        don't rely on forex robot software's.you can see my hubs on forex trade

      • NewHorizons profile imageAUTHOR

        Joseph Attard 

        8 years ago from Gozo, Malta, EU.

        thanks LRobbins. I think it's easier to make the crib than to write the instructions, haha :)

      • LRobbins profile image

        Laurel 

        8 years ago from Germany

        Great instructions, looks like fun and I'm sure it would be beautiful.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://feltmagnet.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)