Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche

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Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche
Total Time 1 to 2 hours Ages all-ages

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.

What you'll need

  • MATERIALS FOR 1 PERSON
  • 3 pipe cleaners (2 skin-colored, 1 brown)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • 4 to 8 feet (less for a male, more for a female) of bulky-weight, hair-colored yarn (we used Lion Brand Homespun)
  • 3 to 4 jumbo cotton balls, unrolled
  • About 8 feet of skin-colored worsted-weight yarn
  • Tacky glue
  • About 20 feet of clothing-colored yarn (use a bulky-weight yarn like those suggested for the hair)
  • 5-mm sequin for eyes
Helpful Tip:

Click on the links below to get instructions for making the rest of the manger, people, and animals:
Baby Jesus
The Stable
The Manger
The Animals
Heavenly Angel
Biblical Hairdos
Frankincense and More

How to make it

  1. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 1

    The People:

    Fold a pipe cleaner in half and twist the folded end into a ¼-inch stem.

  2. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 2

    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.

  3. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 3

    Make another twist 1 inch below the hair, then open it into a loop to form the head and neck.

  4. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 4

    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.

  5. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 5

    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.

  6. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 6

    Cut the brown pipe cleaner to about 8 inches and form a stand as shown. Twist the tip of each leg around the stand.

  7. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 7

    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.

  8. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 8

    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.

  9. Away in a Manger: Homemade Creche - Step 9

    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.

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