Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Irish Escapade - Brigid's Cross

For St. Patrick's Day,
we thought we'd venture out of China
and head over to the Emerald Isles.

Brigid's Cross
Pea and Elle being 14 and 10 (going on 15), respectively, have done many a shamrock and rainbow craft, so this year, I found some new ways of celebrating the Irish spirit, St. Patrick's day, and spring.

Saint Brigid's cross is traditionally woven on January 31st, in preparation for the Irish spring festival on February 1st. With the first day of spring fast approaching, we made our own versions.

The cross is traditionally made of freshly pulled rushes, or straw, and is hung by doors and rafters to protect the house from fire and evil. Each year, a new one replaces the old.

We wove ours out of 1/8" strips cut out of a paper bag. We also used glue and twine.

It's a fairly simple process and both Pea and I found it relaxing. I cut 17 strips per cross.

1. Keep one strip as is, and the rest get folded in half.
2. Keep your long strip vertically facing you, and wrap one folded strip in the middle, open ends facing the right. Glue to attach.
3. Rotate one turn to the left.
4. Take a folded strip, wrap around strip that is now vertical, with its open ends facing right.
5. Pull the folded strip down to meet the other horizontal strip, glue in place.

6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you've used up all strips - rotate one turn to left, wrap strip with ends facing right, pull down to meet in the middle, glue in place. Repeat.
7. As the cross gets larger, I found it helpful to run a bead of glue on both sides of folded strips before attaching in the center.
8. Weaving is complete
9. Secure ends together with twine.

We strung a short garland of Brigid's crosses over our mirror, by the front door.

Find more Irish crafts and recipes at with Around the World in 12 Dishes 
Find more cultural and historical activities at All Things Beautiful


  1. I'm the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your cross! You can see it here:


    If you have other kid-friendly crafts, we'd love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

  2. We made these a few times for St. Bridget's day ( http://bergblog-celebratingtheliturgicalyear.blogspot.com/2010/02/saint-bridget-of-irelands-feast-day.html ) ...once out of pipe cleaners. Yours are so beautiful. We might have to make some like them.

    1. Pipe cleaners is a great idea - much easier (and less messy) to work with!


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