Brigid's Cross #2 - Created Using Tooling Foil!

Brigid's Cross

As promised!! Another Brigid's Cross in the series - #2 of 4! This one made using nothing but tooling foil (available in most craft stores including Blick) and simple tools - table knife, scissors, and rulers - (found in every craft room or kitchen drawer).

Before we begin, I want to be very clear - I take NO credit for the design of this Brigid's Cross. The credit for working out how to make it belongs to Michelle Pacey over at Michelle Made Me.

You see, after learning to make a "proper" Brigid's Cross using this tutorial, I became completely stuck in my self-made box when trying to think of other more readily available materials for construction. Not everyone has easy access to wheat straw or even grasses and reeds. And not wanting to go the paper straw route, I turned to my clever friend, Michelle, knowing full well that, unlike me, she is very fluent in thinking outside the box!!

And she did not disappoint! She created a guest tutorial for me last February in which she shared how to create a beautiful Brigid's Cross using cereal boxes!

Brigid's Cross process

I absolutely love Michelle's design and decided to try to reproduce it - in metal tooling foil!

And except for one teeny tiny detail for which I need your help, it turned out just as I envisioned.

This is not a full tutorial. If you want to make a cross using tooling foil, I suggest you first visit Michelle's post and then after making a couple crosses in cardboard or paper, return here to learn the tricks for working with metal.

And ALWAYS use protective eye wear when working with metal; and handle the metal with great care and attention to avoid cut fingers - or wear gloves.

folding tooling foil process

A metal ruler, a table knife and pair of household scissors are really all you need on hand to cut your foil into strips. I cut my strips 1" wide and 12" long (width of the roll of tooling foil).

folding tooling foil process

If you happen to own a quilting ruler, you will find it quite useful for marking your foil into strips for cutting and into 4 quarter inch sections for folding. No quilting ruler - not a problem - just measure and mark your cutting and folding lines.

Folding tooling foil process

A metal ruler with cork glued to the back and a table knife are very useful when folding the metal. The method protects fingers and delivers nice even folds and surfaces.

Place your ruler right on the fold line closest to one edge. Use the table knife to carefully nudge the 1/4" section of foil into a vertical position and then use the knife to fold it down over the ruler.

(Notice I place the ruler on the foil with the cork side up so that I will be folding over as narrow an edge as possible.)

Remove the ruler, and using the cork side, press the fold into place.

After trial and disappointment, I learned that pressing the metal flat is not a good option. A little roundness gives a smoother overall finish to the cross.

folding tooling foil process

Once the 1/4" sections on both edges have been folded, it is time to fold the strip in half.

Notice the line in the center of the groove in the image on the left. This is your fold line. I use the ruler/knife method to fold the strip to this point and then it can be closed using your fingers.

Press only to close the gap but not so much that you flatten out the roundness in the folds or wrinkle the surface. (The folded edges will actually fall very close together. I have folded this strip off center a little for clarity).

folding tooling foil process

A thick edge on a ruler (in this case the quilting ruler) is a perfect tool for neatly folding the metal strips in half. Place the ruler edge in the center of the folded foil strip (6" from one end in this case) and using your fingers gently bend both sides of the metal strip toward the ruler surface. No need to make the surfaces meet at this point.

Once you have made 17 strips, you are ready to weave! Michelle makes her cross using 21 strips of cardboard, but for my taste, using foil seemed to dictate a smaller number of strips to achieve a nice visual balance.

Brigid's Cross in progress

(Pay especially close attention to the center of this cross.  It shows quite clearly why pressing the foil strips flat is not a good idea.)  

Now that all your strips are made, complete your cross using Michelle's tutorial (here) with the following exception:

brigid's cross assembly

DO NOT weave by folding each strip over both sides of the previous strip. Study the image carefully - this is NOT the best way to weave.

Except for the first folded strip (which is placed over a flat strip) attempting to fold the strips over the full thickness of a folded strip just does not work well with this material.

assembling brigid's cross

Weave your cross by placing one side of each strip through the center of the previous folded strip as shown above.

(Michelle uses glue to hold the two sides of the strips together after weaving. I used a thin strip of double stick tape.  It works OK during construction but probably not the best long term option for this material. See the end of this post)

Brigid's Cross

Once the weaving is completed - a short bar made from a folded foil strip will help stableize your cross and hold the strips that form each arm in place.

Michelle used glue - it is perfect for cardboard.

In my quest to design this version of her cross using tooling foil and only materials available in almost every household, (and even though I knew the results in advance I might add) I attempted to glue the little bar to the strips in the arms using both Elmer's Glue and Aleene's Tacky Glue.

A girl can hope - right?

But of course, these glues are not designed to be used - metal to metal. And although a few bonds are holding (for now) most are not.

So! HELP ME! How would you solve this problem?

I know that E6000 will do the job nicely, and if I need to I will resort to that solution. But I really wanted to find a solution that would not require a toxic glue.

Perhaps glueing is not the only way to attach the strips in the arms to the small support strip - perhaps I am again thinking inside my box!

Perhaps I am trying to make this project just a little too simple given the materials I have chosen.

Perhaps there are some options using wire?

Any suggestions would be most welcome and appreciated.

It is worth saving - don't you think?

Wow. This is so beautiful!

Wow. This is so beautiful! It's really stunning. it makes me want to work in 3D again.

I honestly can't think of anything that will hold this as well as E6000. I don't even think fabri-tac would do it, and I swear by that stuff. I guess some moderately thin jewelry wire could be used to bind it, but you'd have to tie that off in the back, and it might become bulky. Also, it would show. Perhaps it can be made decorative...

Great question. Difficult problem!

Thanks so much Chris.  I am

Thanks so much Chris.  I am now in a quandry wether to go with the E6000 or to try the metallic thread or wire.  I guess you could say I am in a dither!!!  Oh well, now I have a whole year to figure it out!!!

I love the shiny cross. If

I love the shiny cross. If the other suggestions don't work out you could glue it with epoxy glue. The kind where you mix two equal parts together to activate it. It isn't very smelly stuff like a lot of glues and it dries very fast.

Karen, I am surte your

Karen, I am surte your suggestion would work to hold the arm strips to the little bar.  If Patricia's suggestion doesn't work, I will most likely try glue.  Thank you so much for taking time to help!! 

Beautiful! I had never heard

Beautiful! I had never heard of tooling foil. I would try (since you're thinking outside the box) using embroidery floss or metallic thread in either the same or contrasting color to attach the posts to the arms of the cross. Each attachment point could be a cross or "x." Does that make sense?

Patricia!  It not only makes

Patricia!  It not only makes sense but the solution would be quite consistent with the theme and material AND deserves 10,000 hugs!!!  Even very thin (pretty) wire would work!  I am definitely checking out the possibilities in the floss department on my next visit.  

Thank you so much!  AND thank you for saying hello!  It is so very nice to hear from you.  xo

How pretty and shiny your

How pretty and shiny your Brigid's Cross turned out! And I love the look of the supporting bars! Is the material thin enough to use small rivets to hold metal to metal? Or small brads? Not sure if that's the look you're going for though. You might end up with more of a steampunk Brigid's cross with the riveting. :) Sending you happy creative thoughts and lots of big hugs!

Thank you Arielle!  Indeed -

Thank you Arielle!  Indeed - your idea is offering some possibilities.  The material is thin enouigh that with some care and patience it could be pierced and some kind of connection made.  I might not go with a brad - but then who knows - there may be brads in craft shops that actually offer a more decorative element.  I am however a little nervous about wrinkling the metal surface too much while punching.  Testing ahead!! :-)

Pam your cross is beautiful,

Pam your cross is beautiful, this is a piece of art that would deserve pride of place on any wall. I will have to look in the craft shops in town and see if they have this foil (never heard of it) and I will be checking to see if some clever reader has the perfect glue solution!

Dawn, I hope you can find

Dawn, I hope you can find something that will work.  Here is a link to Blick - a fabulous place to find artist supplies - and they have an international phone number so maybe there is hope!!!  It is so lightweight that it should cost very little to ship.  But they may also supply shops in Europe?  Here is the link: