Our Purpose

What better way to teach kids the Bible than to give them a hands-on project?
In our case, the kids, ages 10 to 12, are part of our “Children’s Church” group at Woodbine Baptist Church located in Mayodan, North Carolina. We meet every Sunday during the preaching service to give them a time of Bible study and learning that is presented on their level and also one that hopefully will be interesting to them.

Our Project

… is building a scale model of the Tabernacle described in the Old Testament book of Exodus.

We began this project on November 6, 2005 and worked on it for 7 weeks in November and December. In 2006 we spent all of March, April, July and August on our project (18 sessions) and finished our model in mid-September. With an average attendance of 5 kids each Sunday, plus one or two adults helping, you can see that we have put in a lot of work! This has truly been an undertaking. All of our time, however, was not spent on the model. We also spend time studying about the Tabernacle, it’s purpose, the furnishings, and the events in the Bible leading up to the building of the Tabernacle.

Our Site

… is to give everyone a chance to see what these kids have accomplished.

The purpose of this web site is two-fold. One is to give our kids, their parents, and their friends a way to see what they have accomplished and how it all came together. We’re not just talking about the model, but also what we have learned. Since we are working on our project on a weekly basis (with a few breaks here and there), the best way to see our work is to follow the links below which show its progress.

The second purpose for this site is to share with other church groups what we have done. Although it is not a project to be taken lightly, this has turned out to be one that the kids have greatly enjoyed. There may be other church youth workers looking for ideas and perhaps, the things we have learned could be of some benefit.

After making the decision that we would go with this project, my first thought was; How to begin? Not knowing that Tabernacle kits were available, I assumed that we would do the math, calculate a scale size, cut all the parts from wood and build this model from scratch. The first step, however, was to do some research and become better educated on the Tabernacle. Obviously, the book of Exodus is a good place to start. The Bible gives a tremendous amount of detail concerning the construction of the Tabernacle and it‘s furnishings. From there I spent time on the internet doing more research and it was there I discovered the availability of kits to build a model of the Tabernacle. I found 2 kits available online. One was a small plastic kit that, according to descriptions, can be assembled rather quickly. Of course, if you want to increase realism, more time would be needed. A larger wooden kit is also available from the Mennonite Information Center located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They also have a full-sized Tabernacle reproduction located there, which I would love to visit one day. After some consideration, I decided to order this wooden kit, rather than work from scratch. This is a photo of our kit laid out.

In this photo the wall boards for the Tabernacle are
bundled at the lower left; a package of furniture (left
center); posts for the courtyard fence along with
the white fence material (bottom center); fabric (felt)
for the tent covering: and yarn to weave the veils and
entrance gate.
This photo shows the posts along with their caps and
bases (right side) that hold the courtyard fence; In the
upper left are the posts for the veils, the rods to lock
the walls together, and the base for the walls to set in.

Additional materials

In addition to the kit, there quite a few additional items needed in order to build a quality model.
I’ll mention some of these here and others as we come to that part of the model.

A plywood base to build the model on. 
In the photos above, our kit is spread upon the base that we used. The kit is designed to fit on a plywood base measuring 2 by 4 feet. I decided to make the width about 2 ½ feet wide in order to have room on the side to add information about the Tabernacle and our model. More about that later.

Gold and silver metallic spray paint. I had some gold metallic paint already, but had to buy some more and discovered that Dutch Boy brand seems to look the best.

Assorted colors of water based paints. I’ll explain in later in the “Finishing Touches” section.

Wood glue

Landscaping sand and scenic cement for modeling. After all, the Tabernacle was in the desert wilderness. Available from most hobby shops, especially those which sell model railroad supplies.

As it turns out, I chose to make a lot of parts from scratch rather than use those supplied in the kit. Although the kit is good, I felt that with a little work, I could improve upon the quality and realism. Most of the furnishings for our Tabernacle were made from scratch. Also the two veils are made from other materials. When we get to the tent coverings, we will probably use other fabric that I came across rather than the colored felt that came in the kit. The Mennonite kit appears to be hand-made rather than mass produced by machine and obviously if they were to put more time into producing a higher quality kit, the cost would be much greater. I’ll talk more about the kit and scratch building as we go along. Be sure to check out the “Things we would have done differently” Section.

For the plywood base, I chose to use 1/4 thick luan plywood. This has a smooth surface and is light weight. This plywood is also too flexible, so to make it rigid, I added a frame around the underside using 1″ by 2″ poplar strips. Another poplar strip was added across the middle. Both wood glue and small nails were used to attach the plywood to the frame and the edges were sanded flush. I didn’t want the kids to get any splinters from the edge of the plywood, so a strip of masking tape was run along the edges. This is only temporary since I plan to add molding after the model is finished. The base we used can be seen (somewhat) in the “Getting Started” section.

The kit includes three pieces of wood that form the base for the Tabernacle walls to fit in. A groove is already cut in the base to accommodate the walls. According to Exodus 26:19, each board of the wall rests in two silver bases or sockets. To give the model a more accurate appearance, it was a fairly simple matter to cut grooves across the base. I didn’t cut completely through the wood. By cutting only part of the way through, (the same depth as the lengthwise groove) you still only have three pieces of wood to glue to the plywood. Later when the walls go up and we are ready to landscape with sand, we can build the sand up to the bottom of the grooves and it will have the appearance of two sockets under each board. Be sure to see the “Things we would have done differently” section. 

Here the cross grooves are cut in the side pieces of the base.
Notice that the saw blade is set to cut only part of the way through.
I clamped both side pieces together and cut both at once.
Note: the saw blade guard is removed for this photo.
In this photo, half of the grooves have been cut. (Every other one)
The other half are marked ready to be cut.
In this photo, all the grooves have been cut in the end base. As you
can see there are 2 sockets or supports under each board as
described in the Bible. Once the landscaping sand is applied on
the model, the solid lower half of


Well there is one thing I can tell you about spray paint and kids ages 10-12. Most kids just can’t spray paint smoothly. But they are ever so willing to give it a try. Spray painting does require a certain amount of coordination, without which you can easily get a little too much here and not enough there. But it’s like a lot of other things; it just takes practice to do a good job no matter what your age. They did a pretty decent job of painting the wall boards and we also painted the posts for the veils and the base for the walls which we had already glued to the plywood board. I did go back and put another coat or two on these pieces to smooth out the coverage.

My experience with gold metallic paint tells me that Dutch Boy brand (K-Mart) appears to have the best look and the best luster among those I have tried. However, one problem with metallic spray paint; the more you handle it, the worse it looks. That luster just goes away quickly when handled. In fact, I sprayed one final coat on the walls just before we put them in place permanently.

Gold metallic paint dries fast. We inserted strips of cardboard in the lengthwise grooves
of the base. This was to keep the grooves unpainted. Wood
glue adheres to bare wood better than painted wood. Paint
on the plywood is no problem since it will be covered with
sand. You can also see lines drawn on the plywood showing
the location of the courtyard fence.

Posts, Posts, and More Posts

Posts for the two veils

There are a total of nine posts in the Tabernacle itself. Five hold up the veil at the entrance and four hold up the veil before the Most Holy Place. The kids glued a base and crown onto each post as described in Exodus. The posts that hold the veil for the Holy of Holies do not have crowns on the top. Interesting. I’m not sure why. After this, each one was painted according to the Biblical description.

Gluing the post onto the base.
The posts for the veils are ready to glue down. You can see the hooks attached to the top of the posts for hanging the veils. We took a cheap gold colored bracelet that had some sort of dangles hanging from it, cut it apart, and tied these in holes drilled near the top of the post. Hanging the veils from these will present a more ornate look. You can also see the walls in this photo. They are painted with the wire staples and rods in place. To provide accessibility to the inside of the Tabernacle, they are not glued in place until later on.
The posts for the veils glued in place.

Gluing these post in place proved to be tricky. The fact that they are lined up side by side exposes any irregularities. Any part of the post, base or cap not cut or sanded correctly shows up as being out of line or not parallel with the other posts. We worked hard to get these in line as close as possible but even then they were not perfect. One mistake here was where I used two pieces of ¼ inch plywood from my scrap box to raise the floor of the Tabernacle. I did this so that the sand to be applied later would come up to the bottom of the previously made cuts made in the base. One piece of plywood should have been used instead of two since the two pieces may not have glued down perfectly level.

Posts for the courtyard fence

About this same time, the kids also glued the base and caps onto the posts for the courtyard fence. Before gluing on the caps, we cut small grooves across the top of the posts and laid small wire “hooks” into these grooves. These hooks were made from inexpensive jewelry wire found in craft stores. I took short pieces of wire and twisted a loop on each end. The caps are glued to the top of the post over these “hooks”. Later on, after the posts and courtyard fence are in place, we will run guide ropes (we will use an off white color embroidery string) from these hooks to tent stakes (¾ inch wire nails) driven into the board.

Painting the courtyard post. You can see the groove cut into the top of the post for the wire hook to lay in. The cap will then be glued over this and painted silver. These will be glued to the board later on.

Test fitting the walls

After the boards were painted and the base was finished, we made a test fit of the walls. This was to make sure they would go in their respective grooves and line up properly. We did not glue them in place at this time because it would be a lot e of the walls. This was to make sure they would go in their respective grooves and line up properly. We did not glue them in place at this time because it would be a lot easier to install the furnishings with the walls out of the way.

We are just making sure everything lines up here. No glue
There are a number of things you can see here. One is the ugly smudges showing up on the gold paint. We will fix that later. If you look closely you can see the two pieces of plywood on the floor of the Tabernacle that was mentioned above. The joint runs the length of the Tabernacle. Also on the back wall there are two boards at each end that are not yet painted. Here an extra board was added for two reasons. First of all, Exodus 26:23-24 indicates that the back corners have double boards. The other reason is to provide some extra surface area for gluing the side walls to the back wall which will strengthen the unit.
In these two photos, the posts are in place, but the walls will come back down to allow easier access to finish working inside the Tabernacle.


The Veils

Here is one place we decided to depart from the materials supplied in the kit. The kit came with several bundles of yarn. One each of purple, blue and scarlet. There was also a plastic net material used to weave the yarn to form the veils, the gate and the first layer of the tent covering. (I’m sure this plastic net has a name, but I don’t know what it is.) I just felt like it would be better or more realistic to find some type of fabric to use for this instead of yarn. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any fabric with the correct color combination that had a desirable pattern for a Tabernacle model. Finally, for the veil, we took some wide purple ribbon and sewed two pieces together making one piece 6″ by 6″. Blue and Red fabric trim, both straight and rick rack was sewn onto this ribbon to make each veil. The Bible says that the veils were hung with gold hooks. For this, I found a cheap gold colored bracelet that had some pretty dangles attached to it. I cut it apart and we attached these pieces to the posts with gold colored wire and hung the veils from these.

Furnishings in the Tabernacle
The furnishings were another area in which I chose to work from scratch. The pieces that came in the kit were somewhat crude in appearance, although they would serve the purpose of representing the furnishings in and around the Tabernacle. Again, I’m sure that if the kit makers had spent more time producing better quality pieces the cost would have to go up. Making these pieces takes time, but the end result is a better quality model.

The Ark

I started out by cutting a block of poplar wood the correct size. Poplar is a good wood to use because it is easy to work with and sands to a very smooth finish with very little wood grain showing. The top or Mercy Seat was cut from a piece of Ľ inch craft plywood that I had on hand. I wasn’t sure how to recreate the cherubim that resided on the Mercy Seat. I first searched the internet for miniature figurines of angels and cherubim. I was not able to find any that were suitable in size, shape and/or configuration to use on top of the Ark. After looking at pictures and drawings, I decided to try my hand at clay modeling. I drilled two holes in the top of the Ark and started out by fashioning a stiff wire support on top of the Ark inserted into these holes. From there I used white modeling clay (from the craft store) to form the basic shape of two cherubim on the Ark. The wire support runs through their wings, so with their wing tips touching, the wire support cannot be seen. I covered the wood part of the Ark with aluminum foil and baked the clay according to instructions. After baking and cooling off, the clay was still soft enough to allow additional carving using various X-acto knives. Decorative trim was cut from poster board and added to the top edge of the Ark. Rods were inserted to carry the Ark; a couple of coats of gold paint and it was finished. The kids chose mine over the one in the kit! Yeah!

The Lampstand

The lampstand in the kit is simply cut out of wood with a band saw. That’s ok I guess, but I felt like we could do better. For this I used brass tubing. 5/32” for the main stem and 3/32” for the seven branches. The 3/32” inch tubing bends easily over a round object. It took a little trial and error to get the six curved pieces the right length and arc. Holes were drilled in the main stem and the six branches were soldered in place using a pencil soldering iron. A good epoxy glue would probably work fine also. A 3/32” straight branch was attached to the top of the main stem for the center lamp. The Bible says that there were ornamental knobs and flowers on each branch. I wasn’t about to attempt to recreate these as described in the Bible. To represent these decorations, I took small metal washers, bent them with pliers into a concave shape, slid them over the tubing and soldered them in place. A base was glued to the lampstand and gold paint finished it up. I got the kids to insert short pieces of heavy cotton string into the ends of each of the seven tubes to represent the wick. I wanted them to paint the wicks yellow. They wanted to leave them white…….They won.

The Table of Shewbread and Altar of Incense

These pieces were simply cut from poplar wood. The legs on the Table of Shewbread were made from dowel rods. Short pieces were chucked in an electric drill and shaped with sandpaper.

The top of the Altar of Incense was shaped with a small sanding drum to form the four horns as described in the Bible. The bowl holding the ashes on the Altar of Incense came from an small package of wooden doll house bowls. (Craft store items)

Some of these photos show the sand already applied to the floor of the tabernacle, however, most of the furnishings were glued in place before the sand was applied. On the previous page, “Post, Posts, and More Posts”, I mentioned how the floor inside the tabernacle was raised with plywood so that the sand would come up to the bottom of the grooves that were cut into the silver bases. In this photo, you can see the sand reaching the bottom of those grooves. You can also see tapered pieces of wood glued next to the outside perimeter of the tabernacle. When the sand is applied on the outside later, it will slope up to the silver

Pegs, Pegs, and More Pegs

To my knowledge, the Bible does not mention anything about guide lines for the courtyard fence posts. Exodus 27:19 does state that all the pegs of the Tabernacle and the pegs of the court shall be of bronze. It is probably safe to assume that these pegs were there to secure guide lines for the Tabernacle and the courtyard fence. It appears that most depictions of the Tabernacle show these fence posts with guide lines, which is reasonable given the possibility of desert wind storms. The bronze base supporting each post, though heavy, would have a difficult time holding up a seven foot cloth fence in such a storm.

The guide lines need to be secured to the ground so we used ľ inch wire nails for the pegs. These will be painted bronze later. The location for the fence posts had been marked on the board earlier. Those lines with their cross marks can be seen in the photo above. Marks were placed on each side of this fence line to indicate the position of each peg. Pegs would be positioned halfway between posts and just over 2” away. Photos showing this in more detail will come later.

You can see in these photos that the interior of the Tabernacle was finished except for the lampstand, which was not ready at this time. You can also see the tapered wooden strips going around the perimeter of the Tabernacle. A little spackling compound used to patch sheetrock worked well to smooth out the joints in each corner. When covered with sand, these strips will cause the ground to slope up to the base of the Tabernacle.

Ramp for the Altar of Burnt Offering

The Biblical description of the Altar of Burnt Offering tell us that it was about 4 1/2 feet high and about 7 1/2 feet square. The description does not go into detail concerning the exact configuration of the altar, so there is some question as to how it was set up. Most depictions show the altar elevated with a foundation of rock or some other material, along with a ramp to allow the priest to get up to it. Some replicas and drawings even show two ramps, one on each side. Since the altar was made of wood covered with bronze, many believe that the walls of the altar had a dirt bank built up along the inside edge to protect it from the heat.

We used a simple wooden ramp made from light craft wood. After gluing it in place, we glued rock debris to each side and also on the side facing the location of the altar. After this was dry, a coat of white glue (diluted slightly with water) was brushed onto the top of the ramp. Landscaping sand was spread on top of the ramp; more sand was sprinkled between the rocks, and the whole ramp was sprayed with scenic cement. More photos on this to come.

Raising Walls and Laying Sand

In our model, we did not glue the boards together nor did we glue the rods that run through the gold rings. There was really no need to. We did, however, glue the walls into the silver base and glue the walls to each other at the corners. I tried to sand some of the paint from the edge of the walls where they come together in order to have a stronger glue joint. In this photo the wall on the west side of the Tabernacle has been glued into the base. The two side walls are then added. All three walls needed to be glued at the same time. The joints in the rear corners can be pulled tight and everything lined up, then it is just a matter of allowing the glue to dry.

One mistake we almost made! The gold covered poles that went into the rings of the Ark need to be installed before the walls go up. I don’t think you can get them in after putting up the walls. Of course, according to Numbers 4:5-6 the poles were placed into the rings of the Ark only when it was time to transport the Ark and move the Tabernacle. So, I guess leaving out the rods would not actually be a mistake. But then we usually visualize the Ark with it’s carrying poles in place.

UPDATE: Regarding the poles in the Ark; it was recently brought to my attention, by an observant reader, that Exodus 25:15 tells a different story. According that verse, the poles (staves) were never to be removed from the Ark. How did I miss that?? Obviously, that appears to be in conflict with Numbers chapter 4. I found in one commentary the suggestion that the command in Numbers may instead be interpreted to mean “adjust the poles”. In other words, “make sure the poles are in their proper place and lined up”. That sounds like a plausible explanation to me absent any other suggestions.

Desert Landscaping

For a more realistic look, landscaping is an absolute must. Materials for landscaping the model for a desert look are available from most hobby shops, especially those that sell model railroad supplies. Scenic cement is a watery glue that can be brushed on, dripped on or sprayed on. With sand, using a spray bottle works best. Even though this glue leaves a clear matte finish, I still tried to shield parts of the model that we didn’t want glue to get on.. The landscaping sand comes in coarse or fine grit and is available in different colors. The same is true for the larger rock that was used on the ramp; different sizes and colors. One of the kids said, “Why don’t you just get some rocks out of the driveway”? Well, I tried, but what I found varied so much in consistency, I just didn’t think it would look right. The colors and texture of rocks and sand around my house certainly didn’t resemble that “desert look”. The hobby shop had exactly what I was looking for. Apply rocks with glue straight from the bottle. To apply sand, first water down some ordinary white glue – about 4 parts glue to 1 part water. You want it to be a little runny. Stir in a couple of drops of dish detergent and brush this on the wood surface. This works fine and is a lot cheaper than buying extra scenic cement. Spread a layer of sand on the glue and allow it to dry. After it is dry, brush or blow the excess sand off and spray on a top coat of scenic cement. Thin spots were no problem. Spray on a little scenic cement, add a little more sand and another topcoat of scenic cement takes care of that. When gluing sand up close to objects, a dropper does come in handy to apply cement here.

The posts that hold the courtyard fence would be easier to glue to the board before the sand was applied. At the same time, if the posts are already in place, they would be easy to accidentally break off while applying sand. It’s somewhat difficult to see in these photos, but I ran a strip of masking tape along the lines where the posts would go. After the sand was applied, the tape was removed and the posts glued in place. I went back later and brushed glue over these bare spots around the posts, spread sand and applied scenic cement 

The Courtyard Posts

Gluing the posts for the courtyard fence was pretty simple and straightforward. The biggest concern was to make sure the posts were in a straight line and that they were all turned so that the silver hooks were positioned toward the inside and outside. The guidelines to be installed later would run through these hooks.

You can see in these photos where the strip of masking tape was that covered the line marking the location of the posts. This tape kept the glue and sand off of this area and made gluing the posts easier. There would probably have been a number of posts wiped out if they were already in place when the glue and sand was being applied. Even though the kids were very careful, I felt like this might be the best way to do this.

Here the kids have all the posts glued in place except for the four corners. They did a very good job. At the time, I wasn’t sure which direction we should glue the corner posts in. Consideration had to be given to the position of the guidelines. Later, I glued these four posts in a diagonal position.

The Altar of Burnt Offering

We went ahead and used the altar that came in the kit, with a few changes. Legs were added to raise the altar to the level of the ramp that had been constructed. The grate inside the altar was replaced with screen wire which, in my opinion, gives it a more realistic look and the whole thing was repainted a metallic bronze color. Later on, I cut the four horns off the top of the altar and replaced them with larger ones.

In this photo, the guidelines for the inside of the posts are installed. This was done, of course, after the glue under the posts was completely dry. We used embroidery string in an off white color. We simply ran the string through the hooks in the posts all the way around on the inside, then pulled some extra string for slack. Each section of string between the posts was then pulled down and under it’s corresponding peg. You can also s

The Altar of Burnt Offering and Bronze Laver

Legs were added to the Altar of Burnt Offering to raise it to the level of the ramp. We made it so that the ledge at the midpoint of the altar just clears the top of the ramp. You can see in these photos that we have the remnants of a fire under the altar. Charcoal and charred twigs were used to make this. In reality, the duties of the priest were to keep the fire of the altar burning at all times. (Leviticus. 6:8-13) Later, some of the same rocks that went on the sides of the ramp will be glued around the legs of the altar, giving the appearance that it is resting on a rock foundation. We also have a pile of firewood stacked nearby; glued down, of course. The photo on the left shows the bronze laver glued in place. The laver is the one that came in the kit. The only thing we did is put another coat of paint on to match the Altar of Burnt Offering. For these two pieces, the sand was scraped from the plywood base so that each could be glued to the wood underneath.

Completion of the Courtyard Enclosure

The fabric that came in the kit for the courtyard enclosure was much too wide and needed to be hemmed. The best thing to do here may have been to fold the edges over, hem it on a sewing machine, and glue the fabric to the posts. I thought, however, that perhaps the glue might show through this single layer and not look so great. Instead, we folded the fabric in half and sewed the edges together forming a long “tube”. Before doing this, however, a strong string (kite string) was laid along the length of the fabric, so that it would be inside the “tube” after sewing. This string was tied to one end of the tube and made it easier to turn the tube inside out, thus placing the seam on the inside. The fence fabric turned out to be just a bit too narrow when doubled, but we went ahead and used it anyway.

The closeup on the left shows the guidelines and the placement of the guideline pegs in more detail. It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but for the corner post, the guideline runs from the peg up to the corner post and back to the same peg before going to the next post. The peg that is setting out to itself is for a guideline that runs through the Tabernacle covering.
The guidelines for the outside was strung much the same way as the inside. For the three center posts that support the entrance gate, no guidelines were used. Since the Bible does not go into detail concerning the guidelines, I guess this is more of a personal preference.
The entrance gate was made in much the same way as the veils of the Tabernacle, although a little yarn was added. This was simply glued to the posts.


The Priest

The kit included a wooden cutout with the printed image of a priest affixed to one side. As I recall, the small plastic kit that is available includes a number of figurines; both people and animals. I thought it would be nice to have a priest figurine, but I also wanted something better than what came in the kit. A search of the internet turned up a multitude of figurines; all shapes and sizes, however, I never found anything suitable. A figurine would need to be close to the correct scale size while also having the appearance of Old Testament characters. There were plenty of cartoon characters, super heroes and medieval warriors. I even found Sampson, David and Goliath. But nothing that looked like a Biblical priest. Not a huge market for such things I suppose.

While in an A.C. Moore craft store, I was looking through a display of figurines and spotted one that, with a little work, I though could become a reasonable looking priest. The name of the company selling this figurine is Papo; a company apparently based in France. The one I got, pictured on the left is “The King”, figure #39014 in their catalog.

Our transformed figurine is on the right. I used an X-acto knife to get rid of the cape, the sword, and the crown. I also trimmed the puffy sleeves down to size and trimmed the boots a little. The boots were repainted a flesh color and stripes were added to resemble sandal straps. The beard and hair were painted black. Blue and gold paint were used on the turban. The robe was kind of hard to create, at least for someone like me, not accustomed to making such things. To make it easier to “dress” the priest, the main body of the robe was made seperate from the sleeves. An ornamental vest, referred to as an ephod in the Bible was added. It really should be blue instead of purplish , but we didn’t actually put a lot of effort into the detail of the priest. Like the golden lamp stand, the description of the priest’s outfit goes into a lot of detail. A sash was added, although you can’t really see it in this photo. A breastplate with “stones” painted on it was fashioned to go on the priest. The water based paint mentioned in the “Getting Started” section was used mostly on the priest. You can see in the photo that a small amount red and yellow paint were added to the ashes of the incense altar.

Tabernacle Covering

On the left is the inner covering of the Tabernacle. The Bible describes it a fine twined linen. (Exodus 26:1) Fabric trim was sewn on to add a somewhat ornate look and to achieve the three colors of blue, purple and scarlet. Cherubim appliqués were applied with hot melt glue. The next covering layer of goats hair is the brown felt that came in the kit. You really can’t see it in the photo on the right, but it is there. The top two layers are animal skins according to Exodus 26:14. Here we used actual leather material; one of red and the other of black.

Vessels of Brass

Exodus 27:3 tells us that all the vessels and other tools and utensils used in conjunction with the Altar of Burnt Offering were made of brass. It was a simple matter to add a small bench, painted bronze of course, to hold some of these items. The bowls, forks, spoons and other utensils were doll house items found in a craft store.

My original expectation was for us to build our model from scratch. That would have required spending time to calculate a suitable scale size, measuring and cutting a lot of wooden pieces, and finding other needed materials. This of course would have been time consuming and since I wanted us to complete this project within a year, going with the kit built model was probably the right thing to do. In that one year span, we spent about twenty seven weeks on this project. 

On the other hand, I sometimes wish we had worked from scratch, especially if our time frame had been longer. After all we still spent a lot of time rounding up other materials rather than use what came in the kit. Working from scratch also gives you the ability to build a better quality kit. You can see from our site that we made most of our furnishings from scratch and used fabric rather than the kit supplied yarn for the woven pieces. We probably would have chosen a different type of wood that has little or no wood grain showing. Craft or model building plywood might have been a good choice here. The wooden kit we purchased appeared to be handcrafted rather than mass produced in a factory assembly line. If that be the case, the labor to make a better quality kit would certainly drive up the cost. Although building from a kit is a big project, building from scratch would be a huge project if done right.

The three pieces that form the base for the tabernacle walls were glued directly to the plywood framework on our model. Since I did not want to leave the model at church during the week, transporting it each week became a bit cumbersome. Quite often I would need to do something to the model at home in preparation for the next Sunday. What we should have done is to build the tabernacle structure on a separate plywood base that was the same size or slightly larger than the tabernacle itself. This would have been much easier to transport. Then later, when this part was finished, we could mount this to the large plywood base.

We painted the individual boards that make up the walls of the tabernacle before the walls were put together. This was probably not necessary. When handled, the gold metallic paint shows fingerprints very easily and looses it’s luster. The three walls could probably be painted as an assembly just before they are put up. Of course, even then touching and handling will result in the same condition. It is possible to spray paint the outside of the walls after the model is finished. You would need to use newspaper and masking tape to carefully protect the other parts of the model from over spray. Before trying this, check and double check to make sure these areas are covered to prevent them from being painted.