project // holy week convertable felt garland
Are you ready for Holy week coming up? The week between Palm Sunday and Easter is special, and since I like to celebrate and observe special things with craft projects and making, I've created a felt garland with some symbols and icons for the season.
Every so often, I'll get an idea for something that just really excites me. Almost from the moment it comes to mind, I'm ready to call it a favorite project ever. And sometimes the ideas feel like a gift. As though the idea wasn't really mine, but rather, a whisper from God. This garland is both of those things.
Now, I don't know picture God designing craft projects, although why not? Creativity comes from Him! I'm also not sure how He feels about me making a cross and a tomb with faces, but I've seen the cuteness He has made in this world!
I say this because I want to make it clear that this garland is made with the utmost respect for the God I serve. And if the faces are not your thing or they make you uncomfortable on this, just don't stitch them. The garland still works with plain felt shapes.
If you aren't quite sure what this garland is about, scroll to the end to read more.
Now, let's make a garland!
You will need:
Felt (I recommend Benzie felt!) in green, brown, gray, dark gray, and a few colors
Green perle cotton
Black embroidery floss or perle cotton
DOWNLOAD THE HOLY WEEK GARLAND PDF
There are two parts to this garland: the palm branch base and the clip-on elements. Let's start with the palm branches.
Use the template to cut out a bunch of palm branch shapes from green felt. I found it easier to cut out the main shape first, and then snip out the little bits.
Make as many of these as you need to make your garland the length you want. Mine has 16 or 17 leaves and it ended up about five feet long.
Cut off a piece of green perle cotton that is about 10" longer than you want the garland. Sew the palm branches together with a few large running stitches down the middle. Slide the leaves along so they nearly touch. I used a doll needle, which is extra long and made it easy to stitch the whole branch shape at once.
Fill up the entire length of garland. At each end, fold over the perle cotton and tie a knot to make a hanging loop.
Now we'll make the clip-on pieces.
From the bright colors of felt, cut out as many coats as you want. Cut out three crosses from brown felt. Cut out the entire tomb shape from dark gray felt and cut out the front tomb shape (with the door cut out) from light gray felt. And cut the stone from light gray felt.
This part is totally optional, but if you're up for it, embroider the faces on the coats, crosses, and stone. I used no. 8 perle cotton in black. As usual, the faces are made with french knot eyes and scallop stitch mouths.
Glue the front of the tomb to the back piece and then glue to stone rolled away off to the side.
Run a line of glue down one side of a mini clothespin...
...and attach it to the back of one of the pieces with the clippy grippy part at the top. These will hang down on the bottom of the garland, and not attach from the top. Make sense?
Add a clip to each of the clip-on elements. Attach two clips to the back of the tomb.
Hang the palm branch garland and clip the coats along the way to make a path that is perfect for a king to pass by. We have our garland set up like this and will leave it through Palm Sunday and right up until Good Friday.
On Good Friday, the coats will come down and the three crosses will go up. They represent such a gift that Jesus gave us, but they're still sad. Because it is sad. Thankfully, they don't have to stay on the garland for long!
Because on Easter Sunday the crosses are replaced by the empty tomb and the celebration that Jesus is alive...forever!
May your Holy week be filled with the beauty of grace. A gift given for you. And maybe some slightly cute symbols of that grace too!
If you want the scoop on what this garland symbolizes, read on...
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate a very glad day. Jesus came into town riding a lowly donkey and the people celebrated. They placed palm branches on the ground, spread out their coats for him to ride over, and called out "Hosanna!" They welcomed Jesus as king.
Less than a week later, everything changed to a very sad day. Instead of crying out hosanna, the crowds turned and were calling "crucify him!" Though he had done nothing wrong, he was condemned and hung on a cross to die. Why? Because Jesus is God's Son, and He was sent to take on the punishment for every wrong thing you and I do. Because He wants us to know we are loved and forgiven.
But so what? Jesus died. We call that day Good Friday, but that's not the end.
On the third day, it was back to being a very glad day. In fact, the gladdest, best day ever. The tomb where Jesus was placed after He died was found empty. With the giant stone rolled away and angels announcing that He is risen, just as He promised. Easter!
Jesus, alive again, proved that He is more powerful than death and He visited with many people so they could share this incredible news and the gift of grace that only He gives.
This news and this gift are the most important things in my life. And I can't help but share them with you. Even in a felt banner with little faces. If you ever have questions about what it means to follow Jesus, or why I've made this choice, please send me an email (molliejohanson at gmail).