Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Homemade Crown of Thorns Lenten Wreath

Again this year we made our Lenten wreath for our dining room table centerpiece. Our kids enjoyed how it was used interactively throughout Lent (by removing individual toothpicks after they did a good deed or act of kindness). We used it at dinnertime lighting the candles and discussing the daily readings. Here's a picture of it before we used it...

...and here's a picture of it now that Lent is over. The kids are now using it to melt the wax for making fingerprint cups...or flower petals, depending how you look at them.

Here's a link to make the lenten wreath.

UPDATE: I looked back at the link to make this wreath and found that it was a little vague, so I'm adding the directions with some notes to ensure your wreath turns out nicely!

Crown of Thorns--Lenten Wreath

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups water (use strong tea or instant coffee for color).
40+ whole toothpicks

Combine flour and salt. Mix in enough water (I like to mix when the water is still warm) to make a stiff clay.

Divide dough into three equal pieces and roll each into long ropes (~24 inches each, 3/4-1 inch in diameter) and carefully braid them as snuggly as possible.
Form the braid into a circle (10-12 inches in diameter) to make the wreath. (This dough is quite forgiving, so you can squish, squeeze, and pat it until you get a uniform look you like.)

Take a candle and make indentations for six candles in the wreath.
Stick toothpicks into the wreath in every direction to represent the thorns.

Bake braid on parchment paper at 300 degrees for one hour or until dry. When done the thorns should be easily removed. Turn oven off and let it cool to avoid cracking. If not all the way dry, let braid air dry for 24-48 hours until rock hard.

NOTE: My wreaths have never been fully dry after baking, so after taking it out of the oven, I take a candle and ensure the indentations will still be a good fit. I also wiggle the toothpicks around, take them out, then replace them. Otherwise, they can be a little difficult for the children to pull out. One year we just had to break them off the wreath. I've also tried dipping the toothpicks in oil before sticking them in the wreath to bake. I didn't notice a big difference, but I kind of liked the effect of the little bit of oil around each of the piercing "thorns".

Here is a good site that explains the use of the wreath.

The color of the candles can be all purple (general color of the Lenten season), five purple and one pink (as is explained in the link above), four purple, one pink, and one red (to symbolize Good Friday). On Easter, we add a white pillar candle in the middle. It has also been mentioned on other sites that you can paint the wreath white for Easter and decorate it with flowers.

1 comment:

Angela said...

This is such a good idea, Laura. I intended to do it.. but I don't know what happened..... I guess time just got away from us since we were in FL so long, and then by the time we were back, Easter was a few days later. I'll have to try this next year. You always do such neat, meaningful things with the kids... I am sure they will always remember these projects you did together as a family.