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Building a nativity scene it is not a very difficult undertaking. Much of the required material can be found for free. Let's see what is needed: a sheet of plywood measuring 60 × 45 cm. Three rather thick pieces of cardboard; these can be obtained from a shoe box or taken from the scraps of any shopping center. The first piece of cardboard must be 60x30cm, we will need it for the background, or rather, the sky. The other two pieces of cardboard will be the sides of 45 × 30cm. We also need cardboard for the caves, then we will cut out 2 more pieces of cardboard for the top and side of the two caves drawn in red and blue on the diagram shown here. For the red cave you need a piece of 48x33cm, while for the front part of the cave 25x22cm. For the front of the blue grotto we need a piece of cardboard of 20x20cm and another piece of 40x28cm.
To anchor the pieces of cardboard together you can use the glue, silicone, staples, tape or any other means that may be more convenient for you; the best is to use the hot glue or an economical wall stapler. We start working by fixing the background and the two sides, then we move on to the red cave. We take the biggest piece of cardboard, fold it and fix it to the background. The smallest piece, the front one, must be applied on the front, but on it, it will first be necessary to make an entry hole. The front piece of cardboard must also be folded, so that more entry holes can be drilled. The ideal would be to cut out three arches, one front and two side. Continue in the same way for the blue grotto.
On the blue grotto we can apply two houses and for this it will be necessary to insert a path which in our diagram is represented by a staircase. For build the steps of ours crib we need a piece of cardboard measuring 33 × 6 cm, it will have to be folded to form steps. Attach it to the outer side of the blue cave with glue or tape, to help you, cut two or three more pieces of cardboard and use them as a support by inserting them vertically under the staircase. Don't pay too much attention to the steps, this will only be a path, and most of it will be covered with another piece of cardboard that is large enough to connect the roof of the blue cave with the roof of the red cave. The entire nativity scene will have to look like a rocky area so you will need the paper mache; However, before moving on with the construction, do your assessments, the two caves could be very dark, so to help you work you can install a couple of electric lights before continuing with the papier-mâché.
For build a nativity scene so far we have had to buy only the glue (or the adhesive tape), even the papier-mâché will not have to be bought, we get it from old magazines, newspapers, water and flour. Papier-mâché are nothing more than crumpled newspaper mixed with glue. To make the glue, pour half a liter of water into a small bucket and add some flour, mix with a stick. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes creamy, be careful not to be mushy, but very slimy. Finally add a glass of carpenter's glue (vinyl glue), in reality the glue would not be necessary because the mix of water and flour is quite adherent, the glue must be added to keep the ants away from the crib. At this point, tear off some newspaper sheets and let's cut them into strips. Dip the strips in the glue, remove the excess glue with your fingers and then apply the wet newspaper strip on the crib. Let's start by understanding the Red Grotto. To make the environment more rocky, it is possible to roll up, wrap or wrinkle the paper. Both caves must be covered both at the top, side and front, without forgetting to leave holes for the entrance. Also cover the path to the left of the Blue Grotto.
When the papier-mache has dried and hardened, we will go through the painting process. Again, you don't have to buy a lot, just buy a pack of colored chalks (they cost around 2 euros). Take the remaining vinyl glue and mix it with the chalk powder. Add a little water, the glue must not be liquid but not too thick, create the right mix by making attempts, the perfect combination must be enough to cover the writings in the newspapers. To paint, start with white chalk powder, in the same glue then add the yellow, from this color you get the green and finally the brown. This way you won't waste too much glue. Only at the end can you pass one spray paint. The paint makes everything more sparkling, enhances the colors and makes them more vivid, obviously it should be avoided if you prefer a semi-opaque nativity scene. Let everything dry and start furnishing the crib with the lights and characters you want!
How to build a nativity scene, the ingredients:
- plywood sheet
- cardboard boxes
- vinyl glue
- old newspapers
- colored chalks