How to Make a St. Brigid’s Cross with Kids

I have wanted to try making a St. Brigid’s cross for years, but never got around to it until now. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and we had a lot of fun! St. Brigid’s feast day is on February 1, but St. Patrick’s day is an equally great time to make this fun craft!

I decided to experiment with several materials to see what made the best cross. Here are a few I made out of colored raffia.

While the raffia crosses are adorable, the raffia was harder to work with than the pipe cleaners. Next, I tried making some crosses out of plastic string. It didn’t go well. In fact, it went so un-well that I don’t even have any pictures to share. It was a total craft fail. Therefore, I’m going to recommend using pipe cleaners for this project! (If you’d like to try your hand at making some St. Brigid’s Crosses out of raffia, I’m going to suggest learning first with pipe cleaners and then moving to the raffia.)

I also experimented with different sizes of St. Brigid’s crosses. With both the raffia and the pipe cleaners, I thought the smaller ones were easier to handle, and very cute!

So after our many experiments, I’m going to recommend making these out of pipe cleaners with kids (and quite possibly, half-length pipe cleaners.)

You need 15 pipe cleaners to make 1 full sized St. Brigid’s cross, and about half that many for a smaller one. Whatever size you decide to make, you’ll want all of your pipe cleaners to be the same length when you start. You’ll need one that’s straight, and the rest of them should be bent in half. It’s easiest to do this before you start.

How to Weave St. Brigid’s Cross: a picture tutorial

Start with 1 straight pipe cleaner. Place a folded pipe cleaner over it. Rotate it once to the left, and add another pipe cleaner. Rotate it once to the left, and add another pipe cleaner. Rotate it once to the left, and …. well, I think you’re starting to understand. It’s actually very easy once you get going! Ever time you add a pipe cleaner, you put it over all of the pieces sticking up. Then rotate and repeat.

When the cross has gotten to your desired size, cut some small sections of pipe cleaner, and twist the ends together. We made this one using the colors of the Irish flag!

My 5 year old was able to weave a St. Brigid’s cross (with a little help) and she was very proud! I’m going to recommend this craft for everyone ages 5 and up! (Lydia’s is on the left, and mine is on the right. I think it made it easier than we used the same colors as we went so I could say things like “now we need the yellow one to point up.”)

I think the smaller ones were a little easier to handle because it was easier to keep the pieces of pipe cleaner straight. Once you get the hang of it with pipe cleaners, give the raffia a try! I used about 3 strands of raffia at a time. The directions I found said to soak the raffia in warm water before beginning, but I skipped that step and it seemed to work just fine.

I strongly recommend trying your hand at these! They’re super fun to make, and so cute when they’re finished!

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Comments

  1. Wendy says

    Great! I work with 1st graders (lots of energy, itty-bitty attention spans) and am always looking for projects suitable for their age that will bolster the teachings of our faith. This will do nicely.

    Thanks!

  2. says

    My DD1 is named for St. Brigid (and we spell it Brigid.) I keep forgetting to celebrate her feast day but thanks to your blog we will remember and make these!

    I’ve tried them with Raffia before and they are tricky, but the Pipe Cleaners look perfect!

  3. Susan says

    Just tried this craft, and it was so much fun! Also, if anyone is trying to work in a sciencey link,
    try having your preschooler dip white pipecleaner ends in vegetable dye before weaving. It gives a nice demonstration of absorption rates and capillary action. Of course, then you have to let them dry.

    Can someone give me the back story on St Brigid and her cross? I’d love to hear from one of you about St. Brigid.

    We are using birthday ribbon and field flowers on ours. Very girly-looking.

  4. Sherie says

    Thanks so much for the pictures. My 3rd grade class is studying Ireland for our school’s annual International Festival. I had read about St. Brigid’s crosses and was trying to think of an easy material to use. I thought of pipe cleaners and then googled and found your blog. It was nice to have the picture tutorial. I think we will make them from the colors of the flag as well. Thanks again!

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