Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Recycled Cross Craft

Peelu with her recycled cross

I was in charge of putting together a craft activity for our church's annual "Worship in the Park" event. I had been randomly collecting all kinds of bottle caps, leftover crafty bits, used hardware, etc all summer long and I came up with a really cool idea (if I do say so myself). :-) We would have the kids put together recycled crosses...

Here were the two examples I did up to show the kids. The first example was "plain". The recycled items were just glued on, although I did use all of the items as symbolism (wait for that part). The second example I showed them how they could turn their cross into more of a work of art by spray painting it a solid metallic color. They could really do it anyway they wanted, but I knew they would need some visual direction to start.

Recycled Cross Example #1
Recycled Cross Example #2

Hmmm....I better start from the beginning. I had Ross cut some of his leftover 2x6s (from our porch re-model)into specific sizes for our cross. I am not sure exactly how he ripped the boards, but the pieces are a little less than 1/2 inch thick, 1 1/4 in wide and then the cross pieces are 6 in long and 10 in long. I used wood glue to glue the pieces of wood together, into a cross shape. Then I gathered all kinds of items from around our house...old plastic bead necklaces from a party, thumb tacks, nails, screws, metal washers, metal nuts and bolts,odd hardware bits, bottle caps, dice, paper clips, beads, buttons, pennies, a few plastic gems for bling.

Setting up for the recycled cross craft

We set all this stuff up on a picnic table, along with scissors, pliers, E6000 glue, spray paint, newspapers and cardboard to paint on, and the example crosses that I made. The older girls helped with the glue and paint (especially for the little ones).

Putting more crosses together

When the kids came over after the service we talked to them about being "recycled" by God's love. That even if we get a little dirty or broken or mis-matched or we're a little odd and different that God will always think we are beautiful and that he can always re-use us and re-cycle us into who he wants us to be - if we let him. We are never thrown away by God. With my un-painted cross above, I also explained that they could use the items on their crosses as specific symbolism, like the penny could remind us that money is not important, the nails could make us remember Jesus dying on the cross for us, the paper clips and safety pins mean that God is always there to keep us together, the washers are to remember that with God's help we can wash away our sins, the heart bead could mean to always keep God in our hearts, etc. Get the idea? To be honest, I think the kids went mostly for aesthetics, although a few of them did tell me what one or two of the items meant to them.

LIttle hands digging for stuff to glue onto their crosses
More crafty fingers hard at work on their crosses
Recycled cross crafting
One of the kids working on her recycled cross

Some of the kids chose to have their crosses painted when finished. We had a hammered look silver paint and a sparkly bronze paint. We coated them a few times to make sure the bits were all covered. They dried very quickly in the warm weather.

Another piece all painted
Some of the kids chose...

A few kids wanted their crosses painted first and then they added their recycled bits.
Some gold cross painting
BIg E's Recycled cross all finished

They ALL turned out so AMAZING. I was so VERY HAPPY with how this craft turned out - even better than I imagined. YAY! I love when that happens. The kids seemed very happy with them. We even got the teenagers to make some and put up in their rooms. (Oh, we used soda can pop tops to glue to the backs for hangers.) Most of the adults also came over afterward to marvel at what the kids created. The kids explained to the adults about what the crosses meant. That made my heart smile. And the really cool part is that inadvertently we were right in line with the park sermon - our pastor talked about how accepting Jesus was of all people and how we should emulate that. So of course, we gave her one of the crosses!

A beautifully finished cross

Remember - even the most mis-matched things can become beautiful in God's eyes.


  1. Great idea!!
    I love the symbolism, too.

  2. Great Idea, If You Don't Mind I'd Love To Use It At Our Church Festival In Oct. God Bless. :-)