DIY Szopki

Appropriate for grades:
Subject areas: English Language Arts Visual and Performing Arts

In Krakow, Poland during Christmas, carolers carry brightly decorated puppet theaters designed to emulate the shapes of stately churches and other impressive buildings through the city streets. These miniature puppet stages are called szopka or szopki (plural). The translation of szopka is Krakow crib, or manger scene, because nativity scenes are incorporated into the design. People from Poland also call them crèches, because of the constellation of holy figures depicting the birth of Christ. Often the figures are quite small and can be easily overlooked, while the architectural characteristics of the stages are quite striking and dramatic. This is intentional, as the grandeur of each theater is meant to glorify the nativity. Often political figures, local characters, national heroes and saints are included in the display.

 Have you ever seen a puppet show with a portable stage? What was the story? Who were the characters?

You'll need

  • 8” x 10” colored posterboard
  • smaller pieces of posterboard
  • corrugated cardboard pieces
  • metallic papers
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • white Elmer's glue
  • sequins
  • optional: ribbon & lace



  1. To begin, decide if you want your background 8” x 10” posterboard to be vertical or horizontal.
  2. Start building your castle by cutting the small posterboard into rectangles, these will become the towers of your szopka. Then draw and cut out the rooftops such as onion domes.
  3. Glue and cover the posterboard building pieces with metallic paper or keep it as is.
  4. Pop-out some of the building pieces by gluing the corrugated cardboard to the back of the shapes using white Elmer's glue.
  5. Cut out windows, doors, columns, and other architectural elements as you wish.
  6. Arrange the pieces and glue them onto the background to create the castle.
  7. Glue sequins, lace and/or ribbon as finishing touches.
  8. Optional: create a story about your castle and who lives there?





Download Lesson Plan