When I was little my mom always made a crown of thorns during Lent as a tangible way for us kids to remember it was a season of sacrifice and doing extra “good things” out of love for Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice of love for us.
The crown of thorns is made out of salt dough and toothpicks. The idea is that when a family member makes an extra Lenten sacrifice, they can pick a thorn (toothpick) out of Jesus’ crown, making it less painful for him.
At Easter, my mom would spray paint the empty-of-toothpicks crown gold and glue on fake gems from the craft store, so that it had been transformed into a beautiful crown fit for the King of Kings. It was often a centerpiece on our Easter table.
[Supermom hint: I thought my mom decorated the crown of thorns on Holy Saturday every year…found out years later that she took away the current salt dough crown of thorns and brought out the gold crown she had decorated our first year…so she didn’t have to go through the redecorating process every year. Smart Mama!]
We make this crown of thorns recipe in our home every Ash Wednesday. Here’s what we use and how we do it:
– 4 cups flour (I used whole wheat because that’s the only kind of wheat flour I had in my house yesterday).
– 1 cup salt
– warm water (we ended up using about 1 1/4 cups
– And most importantly, at least one very adorable Sous Chef:
Combine the flour and salt, and start adding the water until you have a clay type dough. Transfer it to a table or board and knead it into three equal parts.
Roll the 3 parts dough into long ropes, and braid together. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Pinch the ends to form the circle, add as many toothpicks as you like, and bake at 350 for at least an hour (I left mine in just slightly longer).
And wa-la! I like the way the whole wheat flour gives it a speckled, slightly brown look. You could also add food coloring or decorating dye to change the color.