How to build a model of a tabernacle from scratch

Written by jose leiva
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In modern times, a Mormon temple is called a tabernacle. However, the word "tabernacle" simply means a "the place of worship" as defined by the Princeton WordNet project. Tabernacles are usually also associated with Judaism and The Tabernacle which was a sort of portable temple that the Jews used to carry the Ark of the Covenant with God when they left Egypt. With plastic Tabernacle kits you can build a model Tabernacle but it is easy enough to build one from scratch using household items.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large shoebox lid
  • Sand-coloured washable poster paint
  • Paintbrush
  • White washable poster paint
  • Brown washable poster paint
  • Balsa wood
  • Multipurpose glue
  • Square building block
  • Thimble
  • 12-by-5-inch strip of cloth
  • Sewing pins

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  1. 1

    Place the lid of a large shoebox on your worktable upside-down for the base of your Tabernacle model. Any size shoebox that you can find will work but the larger your shoebox lid, the larger your model can be.

  2. 2

    Paint the inside bottom of the shoebox lid a brown, sand-like colour with washable poster paint and a paintbrush. The inside bottom of the lid will be the ground on which your Tabernacle model will sit. Let the paint dry for 20 minutes.

  3. 3

    Paint the inside edges and outside edges of the shoebox lid white. The edges of the shoebox will be your Tabernacle enclosure or gate and this is usually portrayed as a sort of cloth fence running along the entire perimeter of the Tabernacle. Let the paint dry for 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Paint brown posts along the perimeter of the edges both on the inside and outside of the shoebox lid. The enclosure was held up by wooden posts; this is what you're painting now. Each post should be no more than 1 inch apart from another post. Let the paint dry for 20 minutes.

  5. 5

    Build a balsa wood rectangular box that measures 4 inches in width by 5 inches in length and 5 inches in height. Attach the balsa pieces together with multipurpose glue to build the box. This will be the proper tabernacle building. There is no need to have a roof or ceiling on your tabernacle for now.

  6. 6

    Attach the balsa building to the shoebox lid using multipurpose glue. Place the building so that there are 3 inches between the back of the building and the edge of the lid, 3 inches on either side of the building and 10 inches between the front of the building and the edge of the lid.

  7. 7

    Glue an upside-down square building block piece such as a square LEGO piece halfway between the front of your Tabernacle and the edge of the shoebox lid. This will be the altar of burnt offerings. Use a brown building block to match your tabernacle.

  8. 8

    Glue an upside-down thimble halfway between the covenant box and the front of the tabernacle. This will be where the fire is made for the altar of burnt offerings.

  9. 9

    Place a 12-by-5-inch piece of cloth across the top of the tabernacle so that the cloth reaches the floor of the model on either side of the building and pin the sides of the cloth to the bottom of the shoebox lid with sewing pins. Use a piece of cloth from an old purple or brown sweater for a more detailed model.

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