Saturday, July 14, 2007

How We Made the Tabernacle

While studying the Ancient Hebrews last year, I thought the best use of our project time would be to recreate the tabernacle that the Israelites built after they left Egypt. I knew this would be incredibly valuable for all of us in understanding the tabernacle and the temple...and Christ as detailed in Hebrews.    

Here are the directions for how we made a model tabernacle from scratch. We kept ours for our  later study of Solomon, so we could reuse parts of it for the Temple.

Tabernacle Model



First we analyzed lots of pictures of the real tabernacle and made notes from the Bible and other sources of details. Then we went to Hobby Lobby where I walk around looking at my list of what I need to represent parts of the tabernacleknowing and look for inspiration. My kids give lots of input too! Then I filled the shopping cart and set my kids to work!l

The base is styrofoam. While at Hobby Lobby I looked at what their supply, then laid them out on the ground to see what size would work best for us. I got 2 pieces to put together. I think the final size was about 24"x18", so the individual pieces must have been 12'x9". I knew glue would not hold them together so I stuck popsicle sticks into one side and mashed the other styrofoam piece into that and got one big piece. Then we pulled all our craft paints of browns and whites in varying shades and painted. (This is a great way to use up leftovers.) This takes forever!!! The styrofoam soaks up a lot of paint. We just let each layer dry and eventually it was enough. I think we started with a dark brown and when we ran out of that we went to another shade and hodge podge it all over. Being frugal in this way, using up my varying shades of brown, added dimension. You can't go wrong here. The idea is to simulate dirt.

Tabernacle Model


For the outer walls I used popsicle sticks and the cheapest white cotton fabric I could find. We put the popsicle sticks into the styrofoam, spaced apart about the size needed for the outer wall. I measured from the end of one opening to the other and cut that out of the white cotton lengthwise. Then while the popsicle sticks remained in the styrofoam, I measured from the base to the top and that is how wide I cut the strip of fabric. Then I took out the two popsicle sticks, one on each end of the entrance, and glued them to each end of the fabric with Aleene's Tacky Glue (in a brown bottle-for me  as good hot gluesticks without the burns and the million stringy pieces). Then we inserted them into the styrofoam and made sure the white fabric fits all around the "fence posts" and is tight.

Now for the Holy Place. I used cardboard from one of the boxes that ship to our house with books. I cut it down to size, making a U shape. We painted that dark brown.

For the door to the Holy Place and the door on the fence, I had dd weave red and blue yarns on a child's colonial loom I had purchased at Colonial Williamsburg in 2004. Then we put them in place. We took our dimensions from what was left of the opening on the white fence and the U shaped walls for the Holy Place. She also wove one for the curtain for the Holy of Holies. I looked high and low for the perfect fabric with angels, but couldn't find any. I had thought we could embroider cherubim on the weaving…but ran out of time.


DS used Sculpey clay to make all the furniture. That is easy to work with, bake, and paint. DS is quite the artist and has wonderful precision to detail (and takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r). He looked at pictures and I helped him decide on the right size to make things fit. I also helped simplify the method of making certain elements.

Model of the Ark

For the curtain coverings over the Holy Place, I looked in two sections of Hobby Lobby. Of course the fabric section. But also in the craft section (on the other side of the store) there are cool elements for felt, making masks…and samples of interesting "fabrics/leathers/etc" These measure about 12'x9".

For the first covering, a weaving of blue, purple, scarlet with cherubim…I think we skipped. We ran out of time to make it and I couldn't find a facsimile anywhere.

The second covering was of Goat's Hair which I found in the craft area of Hobby Lobby.
For the third covering of Ram Skins Dyed Red, we found a "fabric" like that in the craft section of Hobby Lobby. It's a type of felt.

For the fourth covering, Badger Skins, we found a black type of alligator skin looking fabric in the fabric section. I asked for 1/4 of a yard I think, and I cut that down to size.

Presenting the Tabernacle


This took a bit of time but the kids enjoyed the process and we learned the positions and purpose of each part, which I thought was important. Although I had studied the tabernacle in Bible studies, I could never remember anything until we did this.  It was a memorable project!

1 comment:

  1. Dana @ School For UsApril 30, 2009 at 5:59 PM

    Your tabernacle turned out wonderful! And, I bet both you and the kids will always remember this.

    Dana, www.alexml.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete