Crafted from pipe cleaners and yarn, this homemade creche is kid-friendly (after all, there's no right or wrong when it comes to folk art). Once your family learns the basic technique, they'll enjoy improvising!
Here, you'll find the instructions for making the people; see the Tips section at the bottom of the page for links to instructions for creating all the other parts of the manger.
Fold a pipe cleaner in half and twist the folded end into a ¼-inch stem.
Cut the hair yarn into 9-inch strands (5 to 8 strands for a female, 2 to 4 for a male). Center the strands in the V below the stem and twist the pipe cleaner to secure them.
Make another twist 1 inch below the hair, then open it into a loop to form the head and neck.
Twist the center of a second pipe cleaner around the neck, weaving in one end of an unrolled cotton ball. Fold in the pipe cleaner ends to form arms and twist them to secure.
Wrap the head with cotton. Pass the cotton through the space under the neck and wrap the body. Add cotton as needed. Tip: Don't wrap the legs too close together.
Cut the brown pipe cleaner to about 8 inches and form a stand as shown. Twist the tip of each leg around the stand.
Tie the center of the skin-colored yarn around the neck and wrap, double-thick, to the stem and back. If necessary, add glue as you wrap to secure the yarn.
To finish, loop the yarn around the neck, knot it, and pull to shape the neck. Trim the ends and tuck them under at the back. Press the stem all the way down. Tie one end of the clothing-colored yarn around an ankle, then wrap the body, doubling back as needed to cover the cotton.
Wrap the chest, continue down one arm to about ¾ inch from the end, and wrap back to the neck. Repeat on the other arm, then loop the yarn around the neck and knot, trim, and tuck it as you did for the head. To make eyes, cut the sequin in half and glue in place.