Suzanne Hastings from St. Jerome Catholic Church in Phoenix, AZ brings us this Lent look.
From Suzanne: For the lenten season, I built a crown of thorns to go around the crucifix. The vines and thorns were constructed using pool noodles. Pool noodles were first painted brown and using a box cutter. Only one side of the pool noodle was cut lengthwise. I then placed each noodle on a round circular frame using the cut side tucking the metal ladder into the hollow of the pool noodle. I only put the sliced pool noodles on the outside of the ladder. The frame was built using two metal masonry ladders wired together and then wired to hooks in the wall for stability. The rest of the uncut pool noodles then were strung together using flexible electric wire. I used the electrical wire as it wasn’t too expensive yet it could hold 8-10 pool noodles. We made three long strands.
Once the pool noodles were strung, paper mache was used to cover the pool noodles. When they were dry, each strand was wrapped around the metal frame, leaving somewhat large gaps so another string of pool noodles could be added. I used zip ties to hold in place. We repeated this two more times. I also paper mached single pool noodles to add where it was needed and again used zip ties to attach. We used light brown paint to touch up any cracks.
To make the thorns, pool noodles were cut in half lengthwise and then cut in different thorn size. Using scissors a point was cut and then each one painted a dark brown to contrast with the light brown of the vines. I used wooden skewers and threaded the thorn first and leaving the point end to stick in the vine. We used strip lights to illuminate the crown.
The crown of thorns was displayed on Ash Wednesday and throughout lent. On Palm Sunday we covered the cross with red material and added palms to the altar. Fake tree trunks that I made, were used to hold the palms. We progressed the crown through holy week starting on Holy Thursday with water flowing through the crown using blue gossamer and for water pouring out of clay vessels, we used blue/green mesh all symbolizing washing feet. Then on Good Friday we shined red lights and placed a cross in front of the altar draped in red material, which was then removed during mass. Finally, the crown of thorns was transformed by taking off the thorns and adding flowers to symbolize new life and celebrating the resurrection of Christ at Easter. The flowers were zip tied onto the vines, which allows for easy removal without damaging the vines.
The number of items needed for this project will depend how large you make the crown. Our crown was 12 feet high by 8 feet across. We have a very large altar and wanted to make a statement, however, this project can be done on a smaller scale.
2 masonry wire ladders from home improvement store $6 each
Approximately 35 pool noodles bought at the dollar store – $35
Wooden skewers – one bag from the dollar store. $1
Paint – I look for the oops paint cans at home improvement store – I bought 2 cans $9 each that was left over from another project (tree trunks)
Brown butcher paper $10 for a large roll
Glue 10 bottles from dollar store 2 bottles for $1
Electrical wire – depends how thick the wire is. I used 2 rolls and the price was around $10 each.
Around $100 to make