A Vintage Hymnal Paper Cross and the 2015 Women’s Retreat

We are getting ready for the upcoming Women’s Retreat which is held annually at the end of February at the Tuscarora Conference Center in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.  Each year we like to create a new focal point for our booth — something that will inspire creativity and generate excitement for the women as they check in.  So this past Sunday while we all were enjoying the Super Bowl, a warm fire and nachos, I worked on a prototype for a cross wall hanging made from old hymnal pages.


I started with a template cut from cardboard.  I made  it 24 inches  long by 12 inches across.



Then I made the paper cones from old hymnal pages in 3 different sizes: whole page, half page and quarter page.  Over the years we’ve tried different techniques for making these cones.  But the technique I like the best is the one we used here for our map wreaths.


I like to see gradations in color so I used pages from two different hymnals.

Making a paper cross or wreath is as much art as it is science so each one will be different depending on how you choose to place the cones  and  how much layering  you do.  As a starting point, I placed 3 large cones on the top and arms of the cross.


Then  I started layering on additional cones in a pattern that was pleasing to my eye and  keeping in mind the need for symmetry.


After I had the top of the cross fairly filled in, I felt the need to work up from the bottom.  Again I started by gluing on three large cones first and then worked my way up the cross.


The hard part for me is knowing when to stop.   The more cones you layer on, the more textural it becomes.  If you have any bare spots it is easy to slip in the right size cone to fill in the gap.



This week I am working on a prototype for a mini version of this cross to do for a craft workshop at the retreat.  I need to get it down to a “science” so that it can be accomplished within one hour!  I’ll post a tutorial as soon as I have it worked out.


  1. Did you use anything to seal this with? I want to do something similar to this but I can’t figure out how to seal it to protect it from dust. What would you recommemd?

  2. Could not find ANYWHERE the item I needed to decorate a First Communion card box, but this is a FANTASTIC idea. I will try it and send you pics when I finish!! Thank you so very, very much for this unique concept. I will be using various shades of lavender paper…wish me luck!! Thank you again!

    • Hi Adrienne, I made this cross a few years ago so I can’t remember. The more layers you add, the more cones it will take. This cross was pretty full with a lot of depth so I am sure it was close to 100 cones. Hope this helps! Debra

    • Thank you Susan! The cross is very light so I was able to simply use a loop of burlap string and hot glue it onto the back of the cross. Happy Resurrection Day!

  3. There is paper that can be purchased at craft stores or online, that looks like old yellowed parchment. I am planning on making this beautiful cross for my church using an old hymnal and copying the hymns onto this paper, which comes in different shades of ivory and beige. One year I decorated a tree for my church using this paper onto which I had copied pertinent Christmas hymns or Biblical passages relating to the Nativity and then cut into star shapes.. I then hung the stars on the tree which also had little starry lights.

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