Did you know that the Church celebrates The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (also known as the Triumph of the Holy Cross) on September 14th? Better yet, do you know what it means?
Basically, it’s the discovery of the TRUE CROSS by St. Helena, and we celebrate and honor Christ’s death and Resurrection in such a profound way on this feast day. How awesome is that?
So, here is a simple, but also striking art project for kids to celebrate it any time of year!
If you have followed along with any of my art projects or freebies, you know that one of our absolute favorite books is You Were Born to Be a Saint by Kortnee Senn. I love when I buy one book that can be used over and over to help my children learn more about our faith and inspire multiple art projects to go even deeper! This book is perfect for that.
It has a beautiful spread that includes information on St. Helen and the true cross, which is a perfect tie-in for this art project! It also includes more details on St. Helen in the back of the book.
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Here are the supplies you need to make this project:
- 2 sheets of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper
- 1 12″ x 18″ colored paper of your choice (we used teal)
- Brown liquid watercolor paint
- Large brush
- Oil pastels (brown, black and white)
- Paint sticks like Kwik Stix (brown, black, yellow and gold)
- Gold glitter tempera paint
To make a textured wood cross, use a brown oil pastel and fill the white paper with long vertical curly and squiggly lines. Press down hard with the oil pastel. Repeat using black and white oil pastels. Even though the white doesn’t really show up when you add it to the white paper, it will show through the watercolor later!
Using a large brush, dip the the brush into plain water and paint all over the paper to get it wet. This is called a wet-on-wet watercolor technique. Then dip the brush into brown liquid watercolor paint and swirl it around the paper. Since the paper is wet, it will bleed together in areas for a really interesting look!
We used liquid watercolors that you squeeze into a container and add a little bit of water. I love using these with small children because they can just dip their brush and go. But pan watercolors work too!
Set aside to dry completely.
Using a yellow paint stick on the other sheet of white paper, make a dot in the center of the paper. Draw straight lines from the dot to the edge of the paper. Go all around the dot.
Fill the page the best you can with these lines that look like a bright sun burst of light! We also added gold metallic Kwik Stix lines in between the yellow for some added shimmer.
Add some glitter paint for a finishing sparkly touch to the background!
Once the watercolor paper is dry, fold it in half and draw half of a cross shape. Make sure to draw along the FOLDED edge to create a symmetrical cross. Cut it out. Save the leftover painted paper pieces for another art project like a Jesus Portrait… it makes great hair or a beard!
Fold the teal paper in half and line the cross that you just cut out up the folded edge of the colored paper. Outline the cross shape to make it bigger and a nice pop of color for the background. Cut it out.
Using a brown and black paint stick, add some lines and color some of the areas to make it look old and rugged, as it probably looked when it was discovered by St. Helen!
Glue the brown cross to the colored cross and glue to the sun burst background. And that’s it!
If you make this project, be sure to give us a shout out on Instagram with tag @picturebooksandpeonies!