Saturday, March 24, 2018

Paschal Candle Craft for Kids

We're one week away from the most special-est and beautiful-est and wonderful-est Mass of the year... The Easter Vigil.  All of the waiting of Lent and the suffering of Holy Week and the quiet of the Triduum is exalted in the joy and wonder of celebrating Christ's Resurrection.

To help prepare my students to soak up the signs at symbols as they attend Mass and services with their families in the coming week, we are going to be creating lots of projects during our last few days together before the Triduum and Spring Break.

Some I already have posted about up under the Liturgical Year tab, but we'll be creating a few new ones too!  Yesterday, my students designed their own Paschal Candles like the new candles that will be blessed at each Easter Vigil.

A few basics I wanted my students to know:
-The candle represents Christ being the light of the world, and is the first light that enters the dark church on Easter Vigil
-The candle is lit from the blessed Easter fire
-It is then often used to light the candles of the participants at the Vigil during the time the rest of the candles in the Sanctuary are lit, lights turned on, music sung, etc.
-The candle is made from 100% beeswax, representing the purity of Christ
-A new Paschal Candle is used by each church each year, helping the parish enter into the Easter Mystery each new year
-The candle is burned at liturgical services throughout all 50 days of Easter.  Following that season, it is lit at Baptisms and Funerals, connecting our lives to the death and Resurrection of Christ
You can read more about the Paschal Candle here and here.

We also discussed all of the symbols that the candles are decorated with:
-The Chi Rho (PX symbol), the first two letters of Christ in Greek
-The Alpha & Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, symbolizing that Christ is the beginning and the end
-The current year, often with 20 and 18 spread out vertically
-Five wax nails that hold five grains of incense, representing the five wounds of Christ and the burial spices used to embalm His Body

We switched up this project a bit by letting the students use the Chi Rho stamp I offer in my Etsy Shop, stamping the center of their Paschal Candles and then using a pen cap to stamp small circles for the five nails.  They loved getting to stamp the design and it was good to let them try another medium.  (The base of the candle is 3" x 12" heavy white cardstock, but you could make them larger to match the candles in the church or smaller for a more manageable project).  I think we might use the same stamp this week to make cards for our parish's RCIA candidates!

(I don't always keep stamps stocked in my Etsy shop- if you'd like to still have the Chi Rho for your candles, here it is as a pdf printable.)

After the above decorations, the kids added symbols of their choice, including:
-chalice and host
-grapes and wheat
-Good Shepherd
-Sacred Heart

When they were happy with all of their symbols, we "lit" the candles with some cool holographic orange paper (suddenly becoming the coolest part of the project, of course).

The kids seemed super happy with how they turned out, and I hope they pay close attention to the new Paschal Candle next weekend!  We hung them in the hallway with our Sunset & Shadow Stations of the Cross for just a few more days- and then we'll take everything down and send it home for them to use with their own families' celebrations!

This would also make a great project when learning about the Sacrament of Baptism or to celebrate a Baptismal Anniversary!  We might just add it to our Baptismal Unit next year and then review in time for Holy Week.  Have you ever done a Paschal Candle craft like this with kids?  Or do you paint your own candles for your home or classroom?


  1. Beautiful! Thanks for all your great ideas.

  2. It would be cool to add paper brads to represent the wax nails! It would give a neat 3D effect, and incorporate another medium. Love the rubber stamp, too. As always, you have such good ideas!

    1. Diana! YES! Brads! I was racking my brain looking through the art supply closet as I gathered supplies (a little last minute...) and couldn't come up with anything I I settled on the stamping with the pen cap. I love how that would at the 3D element! Thanks for commenting with that idea!

    2. You are so welcome! It takes a village to raise an art project! ;)

  3. My 5th grade students loved this so much last year that I'm planning a version of this for all of my K-5 students. Thanks for the always lovely ideas!

  4. Hi Katie! Do you know if there is any where else we can purchase a stamp? We came across this blog post a few weeks ago as we were prepping some lessons for our fifth grade catechist and now I see the stamp is no longer available. It is beautiful and this is a beautiful project!

    1. Hi Katie!
      I've never seen another Chi Rho Stamp unfortunately, but if you send me a message about it in my Etsy shop, I'll add you to the restock list and notify you when it is reordered :)

    2. Hi Katie! If you get notifications for comments, I wanted to let you know that the Chi Rho stamp is back!

  5. Love this idea. You are out of the stamp at your Etsy shop. Are you planning to make more?

    1. Plan to! Feel free to send me a restock request on Etsy or a message through my shop and I can let you know when it is back!

  6. What a great idea for my kids and I to do at home since we can not attend the Easter Vigil mass (due to the quarantine). We will be adding the baptismal promises to the back.

  7. Might have my students make these out of toilet paper tubes at their homes!