Make It Monday: St Brigid's Cross

Make It Monday: St Brigid's Cross

I remember when I was younger, my grandfather would make a St Brigid's Cross from reeds. It would hang in the house all year, slowly changing colour from green, through yellows to brown, only to be replaced the following spring. 

I'd forgotten about the crosses until I was researching crafts to go into our Spring-themed craft box that I learned more about this old and intricate craft. Celebrated on 1st February, it's believed St Brigid's Day has its origins in the pagan Sabbat 'Imbolc' a festival to celebrate the coming of spring. St Brigid is, amongst other things, the patron saint of women and children so I really wanted to try this craft with my young daughter. Over the weekend we read some instructions and went for it! 

A St Brigid's Cross ultimately didn't make it into the craft box but I wanted to share with you how to make one. It's rather fiddly but looks great and is a lovely connection to spring.

INSTRUCTIONS

We don't have any reeds so we decided to use raffia paper because it's recyclable but also holds its shape relatively well. If using paper, you'll also need some scissors and glue. 

Photo of the materials needed to make a St Brigid's Cross

We wanted to make a traditional cross (some can be triangular) so cut 16 pieces of raffia, measuring 30cm each. 

Photo of pieces of raffia paper

We folded them all in half so they were ready to slot together.

Photo of making a St Brigid's Cross

This is the fiddly bit so be prepared! Fold one piece (A) in half, then fold a second piece (B) over it, about 1cm from the fold in piece A. Your third piece (C) is folded over piece B and the forth piece (D) is folded over C, with the ends threaded through the hole in piece A. Once all the pieces have been folded together, it should look similar to the photo above.

Photo of St Brigid's Cross start

Gently pull the ends so the folds all meet in the middle. Hopefully, it should look like the above. Phew, that's our first row done!

Photo of St Brigid's Cross in progressKeep adding rows using the technique above. Once you've got the hang of making sure all the ends are folded in, it becomes a fairly quick process. Because of the nature of the paper, you might need to add a dot of glue to keep the pieces in place. 

Photo of St Brigid's Cross by G Clark HelleryWe built up four rows of paper, then tied the loose ends together. How great does it look? We experimented with different colours of raffia paper, with mixed results.

It was a rather fiddly craft (the main reason it didn't make it into the Spring Craft Box) but my daughter and I really enjoyed making this cross together and talking about family traditions. I hope you'll try making a St Brigid's Cross. Let me know if you do and Happy Imbolc! 

Our Spring Craft Boxes are stuffed with loads of fun spring-themed crafts and activities including origami flowers, a cherry blossom wall hanging, stencils, exclusive colouring sheets and so much more. As with all our craft boxes, everything is designed and hand-made by us using recycled or recyclable materials. Check out how beautiful they animals painted by Matt are!

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