Introduction: Nativity Scene - Plywood

About: To learn is to live!

We needed a backdrop for our nativity scene. After searching the internet for some ideas I decided to cut one out of 4mm plywood using a CO2 laser cutter. While I have listed the software that I used, I have not gone into any detail with respect to creating the image. Instead I have just provided a high-level overview.


  • 4mm Plywood
  • Clear varnish
  • 12mm Clear acrylic
  • Epoxy Glue



  • CO2 Laser cutter
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper

Step 1: Creating the Artwork

Using LibreCAD I drew basic shed, exporting it to an SVG. I then opened this in Inkscape and using the line tool, distorted the lines as well as added the etch lines. I also created the star.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Pieces

Using the above SVGs, the pieces in Stable2.svg were cut out of 4mm plywood.

The two pieces of the star in Stable2-Star.svg were cut out of 12mm acrylic.

Step 3: Making the Star

Initially I tried using velcro to attached the star to the roof of the barn but this did not work well. I therefore cut our an acrylic backing for the star, leaving a channel for it to clip onto the roof edge.

Using epoxy glue, the acrylic star pieces were stuck to the back for the plywood star.

Step 4: Putting It All Together

Varnish was applied to all the plywood and and simple line of battery powered lights wound through the star.

Unfortunately it turned out that I did not quiet get the holes and tabs properly lined up on the roof meaning that I needed to sand some of the tabs down so that all the pieces would fit together properly. In the end however, this was not noticeable.

To assemble, put the fences and walls together first. Then line-up and insert the walls into the base. Once in place, apply the roof (some of the roof tabs needed a little sanding here; before doing any standing check that the roof pieces are the correct way round as there is a right and a wrong way round). Attached the star so that the acrylic part clips onto the edge of the roof. Finally add your nativity figurines.

Next year I might try to add a false ceiling into which I can add some lighting using LEDs controlled by an arduino mini. I might even try to drill some LEDs into the back of the acrylic star so that the star can emit its own light. For now however, the shed turned out just how we wanted it to.