Cutting rushes (thick grass) in the field behind your house was a typical end-of-January activity for most rural, Irish kids. Next came the twisting and turning of those rushes into St. Brigid’s crosses. But if you can’t get your hands on rushes, here we are showing you lots of alternative materials to use!
St. Brigid’s Day is celebrated on the 1st of February and marks the beginning of spring, according to the Celtic festival of Imbolc. St. Brigid’s crosses are made and hung above doorways to ward off evil and protect those inside.
Traditional St. Brigid’s Crosses are made with rushes from the fields, but really they can be made with lots of different materials. We had some fun putting together some ‘alternative’ St. Brigid’s Crosses for the experimental crafter!
If you want to learn how to make a St. Brigid’s Cross, here’s a great video and instructions from the students of Scoil Bhríde in Portlaoise.
Flat Paper St. Brigid’s Crosses
These are made with stripes of card, folded in half. The first one is made very like a traditional St. Brigid’s Cross, create a weave motif in the centre. The second is made with just four thick stripes and we’ve added some words to give it even more meaning.
Rolled Paper St. Brigid’s Crosses
These crosses are made by rolling coloured paper (pic 1) or pages from a book, magazine, newspaper (pic 2). Starting at one corner roll the paper into itself, securing the end with a little glue to make a tight pipe shape. These can then be used to make a cross and secured with string or rubber band.
Twine St. Brigid’s Crosses
Stripes of twine or string can be used to make a cross. To prevent it from going floppy, cut short pieces of string and don’t secure too near the end of the string.
Pipe Cleaner St. Brigid’s Crosses
You can use lots of colours of pipe cleaners or just green ones, working them like normal rushes.
Felt St. Brigid’s Crosses
These start out as a normal cross using 12 strips of felt and once you create the weave motif in the middle, you braid/plait the 3 stripes on each side. We popped a strip of wire through the horizontal plaits to keep them straight (you could use a straw, a pipe cleaner or twig)
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We hope you enjoyed our alternative St. Brigid’s Crosses. If you make one we would love to see it! Pop over to our Facebook Page to share!