How to Make a Cross with the Correct Proportions


The cross is an important religious symbol for Christians. The apostle Paul said, "As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." People make crosses from many different kinds of materials, from palm fronds to large wood planks. Most churches have a large cross inside near the pulpit. Constructing a properly proportioned cross can be done with some basic tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Wood
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Flat rasp
  • Wood glue
  • Wood joint compound
  • Sandpaper
  • Determine the material, size, thickness, style and character of the cross you want to make. Do you want an old, rustic cross or a more modern version?

  • Buy wood that matches your desired style and size of cross. While there is no absolute rule, the width of the wood planks in inches should correspond to the overall height of the cross in feet. For example, a 5 foot tall cross should use planks 5 inches in width. For a church interior, a 12 foot high by 6 foot wide cross is considered appropriate.

  • Cut the wood to size and mark the cross where the two pieces intersect. For a 12 foot high cross, mark the center of the cross on the vertical piece 3 feet below the top edge and 9 feet above the bottom edge. Mark the center of the horizontal piece at the midpoint of the board, 3 feet from either end.

  • Place the horizontal piece on top of the vertical piece. Using a pencil, mark the vertical piece where the sides of the horizontal piece cross it. Do the same on the underside of the horizontal cross piece. This marks where the lap joint will be made.

  • Cut along the pencil lines halfway into the depth of the wood on both pieces. Carve out the wood in between the saw cuts with a hammer and chisel, then file them smooth with a rasp. Both pieces should fit snugly together.

  • Apply wood glue and join the two pieces together with heavy weights on top until the glue has dried. Fill in any gaps at the joint with wood joint compound. Sand and finish as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • As an option, consider staining the wood in a color that matches the surroundings and finish with a clear satin finish to add richness to the color and to make dusting easier.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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