Today is Palm Sunday, when Christians celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem a week before his death (Palm Sunday also marks the beginning of Holy Week, which leads up to Easter). This year we actually received palm branches in church (I’ve been going to nondenominational churches out here at school…and not all of them celebrate Palm Sunday in the traditional way), so I decided to revive a childhood tradition of folding crosses from the fronds (two to pin on my door, and some to give away). I’d gotten rusty on the technique, so I had to rely on the help of a couple of tutorials, but here is the result of my labor:
How do you make these things? It’s actually much easier than it looks.
I made two different kinds, but the kind without the cross across the front is actually my favorite — the folds lock together a lot better, and I also like the look of four looped arms. Read on for a step-by-step (NOTE: much thanks to this tutorial. I’ve kept most of the steps, but clarified what I thought was necessary and added some arrows and things to help directionally…)
Palm Crosses – Version 1 (“Looped”)
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Taking a little more than 1/2 the length, fold end A up and across the top so that it is perpendicular to the left “arm.” The part of the frond that is now pointing up will become the (vertical) main pole of the cross, and the part pointing to the left will become your crossbeam.
Bend end B around towards the BACK of the cross and slip it between the two backmost layers (you should see a little “sleeve” like vertical portion that you can slide the tip through). Pull the whole piece through — you should now have a stable knot that you can let go of without having everything unravel on you.
Bend tip A back up again and slip it UP under the knot. Pull through until you have a bottom arm of the desired length. The vertical (main pole) of the cross is now complete. (Note: Tip A should not be exposed above the top of the cross).
Flip the cross over to the back side, and orient it so that the crossbeam piece (with tip B on it) is on the right (tip A should now no longer be visible, as it will be on the other side of the cross).
Fold tip B to the left and slip it underneath the topmost layer of the knot. Pull through until you have a cross-arm of desired length (Hint: generally the cross-arms of a Latin cross are about the same length as the top, vertical arm).
Fold tip B back to the right and slip it under the topmost layer of the knot again. Pull through until the final cross-arm is the same length as the one you made in Step 10. Trim away any excess bits of the frond that may be sticking out at the end.
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Whew, that took a while to complete (the tutorial). Tomorrow (or later tonight, if I get around to it with all the studying I need to do) I’ll post a second tutorial showing how to make this version:
[Without instructions or a pattern for the embroidery, unfortunately – I added it to these three because I want to give them as gifts that can be kept for a long time, and the sewing helps keep the cross from slipping apart, as this is a less-stable folding technique]. By the way, in case you’re curious, the symbol I put on the cross is a Chi Rho – which stands for the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the word “Christ.”