Baby Jesus and Manger Tutorial

baby jesus two

I think it’s so hard sometimes to get the commercialism out of Christmas time!  I really do LOVE everything about Christmas—I love the lights, the presents, the fun carols, all of it. But it is easy to lose focus, and even harder for my kids!  So we try our best and hope for the best :).

In Matthew 25:40 it says…“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

So we read that scripture to our children and explain that the nice things we do for others around us, is like we are also doing them for Jesus.

I did some research on the idea, and found a cute book on Amazon called The Last Straw.  I am unsure if the idea originated from the book, but the purpose with the manger is that for every act of service someone does, they put a piece of “straw” into the manger for baby Jesus so that He has a soft bed to lay on by Christmas. This is a great thing to do as my kids are looking for ways to serve and coming up with a lot of them on their own. It’s so neat to see their excitement after anonymously doing something for someone else especially!

baby jesus

For the Manger you’ll need:


-vinyl or felt (one of my readers suggested this and it is a great idea!)—this vinyl I bought as a remnant and it has the soft backing on it.  It is thinner than some of the stuff you can buy out there, which makes it easier to sew through two layers like we will today.

-heavy-duty sewing machine needle

-glue gunDSCF3698

Print out the manger pattern here, and cut your vinyl pieces out.DSCF3674

You will just be gluing the pieces together first so they don’t move much (as pins will leave holes in the vinyl).  So glue two of the ends together, then repeat with the other ends, the sides, and the bottom.  DSCF3679

Then zig-zag stitch around them all.DSCF3682

Next zig-zag stitch the sides all together.DSCF3683DSCF3685DSCF3686

For the bottom just kind of pinch it and then zig-zag stitch the bottom to the sides.DSCF3687

Hopefully that all makes sense.  You can hand-sew it as well if you’d rather, but my machine did pretty well through the layers.DSCF3694

Now just take your twine and start cutting so they fit into the manger.DSCF3697

For baby Jesus you will need:

-a wooden ball

-a small piece of felt cut to fit the head and look like hair

-two cotton balls

-a popsicle stick with the bottom couple inches broken off

-a small square of fabric

-glue gunDSCF3714

Glue the head onto the end of the popsicle stick.DSCF3717


Then glue the cotton balls onto the stick.DSCF3723

Glue on the hair, draw a face, and glue the blanket closed around the body.DSCF3738DSCF3727

Let your kids put in a piece of straw for each good deed they do…DSCF3740

until it is all filled up so the baby Jesus now has a soft bed to lay on.DSCF3695DSCF3736DSCF3729

Then smile as your child gives the baby kisses and hugs, and carries it carefully with her all around the house, smiling and saying, “It’s my baby Jesus!”DSCF3732DSCF3733DSCF3744DSCF3745DSCF3749


  1. says

    This craft is so sweet not to mention a great activity. It’s the perfect way to remind my girls that we are celebrating Jesus. Thank you for such a beautifully detailed tutorial!

  2. says

    adorable. i will definitely make this with my 2 smaller children. i love christmas. thank you for the idea.


  3. says

    adorable. i will definitely make this with my 2 smaller children. i love christmas. thank you for the idea.


  4. says

    adorable. i will definitely make this with my 2 smaller children. i love christmas. thank you for the idea.


  5. says

    adorable. i will definitely make this with my 2 smaller children. i love christmas. thank you for the idea.


  6. says

    What a wonderful idea! I wish my son were old enough to do this with! I am defiantely bookmarking this for the future! Do you think the manger would also work with some felt?

  7. says

    I love this! What a neat way to help your kiddos remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas – I must do this!

  8. says

    Thank you for sharing this one. I grew up with a small wooden one that my father made. Every Christmas we would work to fill it up. I loved it and am so glad you shared it!! :)

  9. says

    Very cute! You have some great ideas for Christmas. I have seen some of your comments on I Am Momma Hear Me Roar and on Sew Grown. You are a very creative woman. I’m hoping to learn to sew eventually. I have a sewing machine now all I need to do is learn. :)

  10. says

    That is so darling! Your kids will have so much fun with it, I’m sure :). That’s such a great way to keep your kids remembering the real reason for Christmas. I was talking to my son the other day about sharing some of his shoes and food with kids that don’t have any and he starting bawling, not because he felt bad for other kids, but because he thought he wouldn’t have any shoes or food then. I guess we need to have those talks more often so he understands that giving is good!

  11. says

    wells my goodness, isn’t that just the cutest thing ever.
    + your little girl playing with it.

    i write a blog,
    – i would love to feature this project. go take a look and let me know if that is something you would be okay with :)


  12. says

    I have been wanting to do this activity with my kids but haven’t had the creativity to follow through. Thankfully you do! I love how you constructed the manger itself. Thank you, thank yoU! :)

  13. says

    Thank you sooo much for this post! I had been looking all over for this story during the Christmas season–I remember it from when I was growing up. I really thought it was in the Friend, but it wasn’t there. I finally found this book online today at a decent price (decent being significantly less than $75. They really need to do another printing of this book!) Again, thank you. I am excited for the next Christmas season already!!

    Thanks for all of your uplifting, inspiring posts. I love reading them!

  14. says

    This post literally brought tears to my eyes… And I’m not even Christian! What a wonderful sentiment! And what a beautiful way to describe it to the youngsters in our lives.