Weekend Workshop--Nativity Playset Mini Lunchbox

Several years ago, I wrote a blog tutorial for the digital art website, Aimee Asher that showed you how to turn a little dollar store lunchbox into a cute nativity play set for children.

Nativity Lunchbox Printable in my Etsy store

We made them with all of our Sunday School children and it was one of my most popular posts ever! Unfortunately, that blog is no longer online, so I've decided to repost it here. 

It truly is a very inexpensive gift that is fun for the children to help make!

Here's what it looks like inside and on the back:

Of course, if your lunchbox is a different size than mine, you will need to change the size of the background pieces or use it for a pattern for your own papers. You can do this by changing your printer settings OR you can print then enlarge or reduce on a copy machine for personal use.

SUPPLIES NEEDED (see photos below)
  • Nativity Lunchbox Printable available in my Etsy Store (click here)
  • Tin lunchbox approx. 5" x 4", any color available at dollar stores and craft stores
  • Spray Paint--only if you want to change the color of your lunchbox.
  • 12+  items to glue to the backs of the figures to make them stand up.  I used a plastic chess set from the dollar store.  Or you can use a pony bead glued on a button.  You could even use paper clips.  (See photos below.)
  • hot glue gun, scissors, corner rounder punch (optional)
  • Ribbons and Tag to embellish

Prepare Lunchbox
I liked the dark blue on this box, so I left it alone.  You can use spray paint to get any color you wish! 
My lunchbox "lid" has a bevel (indentation) on it, but the back doesn't so I had to make the background pieces to fit both. 

Prepare Nativity Printable 
  • Print figures on a bright white, high quality card stock or thick photo paper. You could also laminate the figures for durability, but keep in mind the glue won't stick as well to lamination.
  • Print background pieces on bright white, high quality photo paper.  You could laminate these, but ONLY one side because they won't stay on the lunchbox if they are double laminated.
  • Round the corners of the background pieces to better fit the lunchbox.  You can do this with a corner round punch or scissors.  Glue to lunchbox with hotglue.

corner rounder punch
  • Cut out figures.  To make cutting easier, leave a white border around them.  Also on pieces like the camel, you will need to leave enough white area for the stand to be glued to on the back.

  • Assemble the figures by hot gluing whatever items you choose to make your pieces stand up.  Here are some examples:

Pony bead and button.

Dollar store chess pieces

Plastic coated paper clips

  • Embellish lunchbox as desired.  We tied ribbons and a hang tag with the child's name on it to the handle.

I hope you feel inspired to create this set for your little ones to play with!

And now that that's done, would you like me to start publishing more Weekend Workshops? 
Let me know what you would like to see instructions for!

Feliz Navidad!


  1. Thank you for deciding to share this post with us, the tutorials are on point. How can i grab a set for my son? hopinh to hear from you soon?

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