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Mary and Joseph Cardboard Tube Nativity Craft for Kids

Did you see our Three Kings Nativity Craft and Angel this week for our Storybook Advent? We’ve got some more of the characters for you today all made from toilet paper roll tubes. It’s a classic craft but one that we’ve enjoyed doing time and time again with the kids. It also gives them a playable Nativity Set to use to retell the story of the Very First Christmas. So here we go another Nativity Craft for Kids, Cardboard Tube Mary and Joseph to add to the manger for your own DIY Nativity Set.

Mary and Joseph Cardboard Tube Craft for Storybook Advent on Rainy Day Mum

Toilet Paper Roll Mary and Joseph for the Nativity

My kids have always loved to play with the Nativity characters, from my old set that is a wooden one I got when I was Christened to the finger puppet version we made back when they were both toddlers.

Nativity Story Inspired Crafts and Activities for Kids. Way to help children understand the meaning behind Christmas
Our original Finger Puppet Nativity Set

The year after that I made a Nativity Set out of Cardboard Tubes just like my Mum had made with me and my brother when we were kids.

Cardboard Tube Nativity complete with egg carton sheep
Nativity Set from Recycled materials for kids to make.

They lasted for a while and the kids would play and reenact the story. Then they got wet and that was the end of them.

This year as we are focusing on the Nativity Story for our Storybook Advent they have asked again whether we would create them and I was happy to oblige.

Cardboard tube Nativity Characters
Mary and Joseph Simple Cardboard Tube Craft for Kids

Mary and Joseph Cardboard Tube Nativity Craft for Kids

We have a box of cardboard tubes of various sizes that I keep for crafting. Whether it’s a dragon or a snake there is always something there for the kids to dip into.

In the end, I made a second Joseph with them and used this as a shepherd combined with our Egg Carton Sheep and Lambs we made in the spring it was perfect for completing the set.

using a hot glue to secure the nativity set headdresses in place
Securing the headdresses in place with a hot gue gun makes it easier

Now my kids are older we were able to use a low heat hot glue gun to stick on the fabric and felt headdresses that Mary and Joseph have.

However, a PVA / Elmers type glue will work just as well. But you will need to leave it to dry unlike with the hot glue gun.

Toilet Paper Roll Tube Mary and Joseph Craft for Kids
Cardboard Tube Nativity Set Characters
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mary and joseph cardboard tube craft for Kids

Cardboard Tube Nativity – Mary and Joseph

Cerys Parker
Classic Christmas Craft for kids to create the characters of the nativity with cardboard toilet paper roll tubes. Joseph also can be made to be a shepherd and you will find the instructions for the three wise men here as well.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Activity Time 30 minutes
Drying time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes

Equipment Needed

  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Paint Palette
  • Hot Glue Gun

Materials Needed

  • 2 Toilet Paper Roll Tubes
  • Blue and brown ready-mixed paint
  • skin tone ready-mixed paint
  • burlap or similar fabric for Joseph
  • blue felt for Mary
  • black marker
  • brown felt for Joseph's beard


Prep Ahead

  • Pour the paint into your paint palette so that your kids can easily access it.
  • Set up for messy paints. Painting toilet paper roll tubes with kids can get extremely messy.

Painting Mary and Joseph

  • Take the tube that will be Mary and paint in blue. Leave the space for the face free from paint. You may find it easier to help your child to paint it by putting your fingers inside the tube.
  • Repeat the step above with the other tube and paint it brown for Joseph.
  • Leave to dry.
  • Once dry use a skin coloured paint and paint their faces. Again leave to dry.

Adding Headdresses to Mary and Joseph

  • Cut a piece of blue felt around the height of the cardboard tube.
  • Using the hot glue gun glue the middle of one long edge to the front of the cardboard tube. Let it cool down.
  • Now glue the back of the headdress to the back of the cardboard tube. This will secure it in place and will allow you and your child to fold it over and down the sides. Let cool down.
  • Now complete with the sides glue them in place down the side of Mary's body.
  • Finish off Mary with drawing on her face.
  • Cut out a beard for Joseph from the brown felt and glue this in place.
  • The repeat the steps but with the Burlap or brown felt for Joseph's headdress and add details for his face.


If you are making a Sheperd as well. You may want to draw or make it obvious that he’s a shepherd by adding a crook.
Keyword Cardboard Tube Crafts, Christmas, Christmas Crafts, Nativity Crafts
Have you Made This?Let us know how it went!

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