How to Make a Model of a Tabernacle

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Add a hands-on project to your study of the book of Exodus by building a model of the tabernacle. Use readily available materials to build a model with a scale of 1 inch equals 5 cubits. Older elementary children can build a model with only minimal adult participation. Older children can use their math skills to build an accurate scale model, while younger children can learn about the tabernacle by building a model with toy bricks and fabric.


Candlestick for the tabernacle

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil

  • Ruler

  • Compass

  • Stiff Paper

  • Styrofoam, 1- By 12- By 24-Inch Piece

  • Thick Tan Fabric

  • Markers

  • Gold Paper

  • Gold-Colored Wire

  • Craft Glue

  • Thick Cardboard

  • Thin White Fabric

  • 5-Inch Bamboo Skewers

  • Two Colors Of Leather-Like Fabric

  • Popsicle Sticks

  • Glue Stick

Step 1

Draw a 10- by 20-inch rectangle in the center of the Styrofoam. Use a compass to orient the foam so that one of the long sides faces north. Mark "North," "South," "East" and "West" on the edges of the board.


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Step 2

Count out 20 toothpicks for each long side and stick them into the foam, spacing them evenly about 1 inch apart.

Step 3

Count out 10 toothpicks and place them along the east side of the rectangle. Place three toothpicks on each end of the east side, leaving an opening in the middle of this end.


Step 4

Glue 1-inch strips of paper together to form a strip 56 inches long. Wrap it around the row of toothpicks. Use a glue stick to attach the paper to the toothpicks. This is the "fence" for the courtyard.

Step 5

Draw a 6- by 3-inch rectangle at the west end of the enclosure with the long sides running east to west.


Step 6

Stick Popsicle sticks into the foam forming a wall or "frame" along the north, south and west sides.

Step 7

Cut a rectangle of white fabric 11 by 6 inches. Draw cherubim on the white fabric with markers. Since there is no exact description of the cherubim you can allow the children to decide what they look like.


Step 8

Cut a rectangle of tan fabric 13 by 7 1/2 inches.

Step 9

Cut 13 by 6 inches rectangles of both leather-like fabrics.

Step 10

Cut two 5 by 3-inch pieces of print fabric. Allow the children to draw cherubim on this fabric with markers.


Step 11

Stick four sticks in a row, running north to south, midway across the enclosure. Glue one of the pieces of print fabric to these sticks.

Step 12

Stick five sticks across the east edge of the enclosure and glue the other piece of fabric to it. These are the inner veil and outer screen.



Step 13

Twist gold-colored wire into the shape of a seven-branch candlestick.

Step 14

Make two tiny wire cherubim for the top of the ark. Cover a small rectangle of corrugated cardboard with gold paper to make the ark of the covenant . Use craft glue to attach toothpicks for carrying rods. Glue the cherubim to the top of the ark.


Step 15

Cover a small rectangle of corrugated cardboard with gold paper to make the table for bread. Use craft glue to attach toothpicks for carrying rods.

Step 16

Place the ark in the inner chamber of the tabernacle. Stick the candlestick into the floor in the outer room and also place the table there.

Step 17

Drape the white fabric over the top of the building, with the longer sides running north to south. It will hang down on the north and south sides. Drape the tan cloth over the white cloth and pull the extra fabric around the east and west sides. Drape the other fabric pieces over the tan fabric.

Step 18

Cut a 1- by 4-inch rectangle of paper for a gate for the courtyard. Decorate it with red, blue and purple markers and prop it in place.


Encourage the children to read the Scripture and decide how to do the details of this project. Every detail is not spelled out, so there is room for some creativity. You may paint the Popsicle sticks gold.

This model is recommended for children from 8 to 10 years old. Older children can add accuracy by cutting the Popsicle sticks to scale and using multiple pieces of white and tan fabric. Younger children can build a model using plastic snap-together bricks and fabric.

Add boxes, cups and tiny figures to furnish the courtyard.


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