How to make a Traditional

St. Briget's Cross

In Gaelic: Cros Bhrighite
Page from The crafts of Ireland 

Materials Method 1 Method 2 Method 3

Rushes are the traditional material for the St. Briget's Cross. All materials should be blessed before construction.
If you use rushes be sure to keep them wet but not too wet as they will mold and rot. To avoid  the  mess  I  have found  that  ordinary plastic drinking straws left in their white wrappers are just fine. Use rubber bands to tie up the ends. I generally use 9 straws and 4 rubber bands, however, any number may be used.

Size does  not matter. Generally  crosses are made from pieces of  rush that are about 8-12 inches  long. Some jewelers, however,  make them in  the  size of  ear rings.

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Method  1
After searching for many months I finally broke down  and purchased a cross from  the traditional  Irish-American giftyshop. I took  it  apart and found the simple secret of the design.  The process does wonderful things for busy fingers and is great with story telling!

1.  Find 9  8-12 inch  rushes, swizzle sticks  or  drinking  straws  and  4 small
     to  medium sized rubber  bands.

2.   Hold one of  the rushes/straws vertically.

3.   Fold  a  second  straw  in  half  horizontally over  and at a  right  angle over
      the center of  to the  first straw with the second  straw projecting to the right.
      Snug the inside of  the bend  right  up to the first straw  at    its  center.

4.   Grasp the center overlap tightly between thumb and fore-finger.

5.   Turn the two straws held together 90  degrees counter clockwise  (left) 
      (the two ends of the second straw will be projecting  upwards.)

6.   Fold the third straw in half over both parts of the second straw horizontally
      from left to right and  snug the inside of the fold up against the center
      and the second straw. Hold tight.

7.   Holding the  center  tightly!   Rotate all straws  (the entire assembly) 90
      degrees    counter clockwise. (left)

8.   This time  the bottom half of the first straw will be projecting upward.
      Fold a new straw in half over and across all straws projecting upward.

9.   Snug the straw tightly against the center and against the vertical straws.

10. Holding the center tightly rotate all straws (the entire assembly) 90 degrees
     Counter clockwise.

11. Fold a new  straw in half  over all vertical straws from left to right and
      snug up to center and to the right.

12. Repeat the process of rotating  all straws (the entire assembly) 90 degrees
     to the left and folding  the new straw  over until all straws  have been used.
     Remember: Hold tight to the center.

13. When the last straw has been used snug all straws to center being
     careful to hold tight to the last straw folded.

14. Secure the last arm of the cross with a rubber band or if using rushesplatted straw or string.  Then secure each  other arm.

15. You may paint the drinking straws but be careful as wet paint will dissolvethe thin paper covering. Place rushes on a  flat surface to dry. You may
      wish to seal the rushes  when dry with a paint of your choice.

 How did  you do?
Let me know send e.mail with your comments! Here
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Method  2  

This method produces a cross in a form which is much like the Eye of God and as such it brings to mind the antiquity of the Celtic Traditions of Ireland.
Materials:Two sticks and either rushes or wire or paper twist. Heavy gauge electrical wire (I use green!) makes for a great re-usable cross which can be re-constructed for each session.I start the cross and pass it through the class audience for completion.

1.Secure two sticks together at right angles.
    (I use string or tape).

2.Pull rush or wire from center attachment 
under the X in the top image over the top across the center to the left. Then under the bottom left
spoke then over the upper left spoke then curve back under it and continue in a clockwise direction (to the right). Ideally there should be a few inches of stick
remaining exposed on each spoke. It should
resemble a cross more than an eye of god...

How did  you do?
Let me know send e.mail with your comments! Here

(Source:Lettice Sanford Straw Work and Corn Dollies)
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  Method  3

This method produces a cross much like that of Method 1  

For some reason this method seems to  be 
more Archaic than method 1. 

1.Tie nine straws together at their ends. 

2.Spread them as shown with the tied end 
    facing down (three to the right and two each 
    other direction. (Image #1) 

3.Fold the front straw of the three under the other two.(Image2) 

4.Bring it up and over to be alongside the two at the nest corner.(Image3) 

5.Completed cross is shown in Image 4 

 How did  you do?
Let me know send e.mail with your comments! Here
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(Source: Joan Rendell, Your Book of Corn Dollies.)

This page last updated: 03/01/2018