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Catholic Activity: Home Altar Hangings


  • material, such as a pillow case and/or sheeting
  • poster paints
  • white or yellow chalk
  • crayons

Prep Time

3 hours


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$$ $ $

For Ages



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Paint a design on a piece of material for an ornate home altar cloth.


Altar hangings or banners are an excellent project to help older children to know and love the Easter to Pentecost season and to realize its greater significance. The hangings can be made from pieces of sheeting, felt or burlap. The lettering can be cut from felt or construction paper. An old pillowcase and poster paints were used to make the Lumen Christi design on the altar hanging.

If sheeting is used, it may be left snowy white, as we did, or it may be dyed, for example, gold for Ascension Day, or red for Pentecost.

When the child decides upon his or her design, it is best to rough it in with white or yellow chalk. Go over the chalk lines with crayon, using plenty of it in up and down strokes. When the design is finished, place it right side up on a stack of newspapers and press with a warm iron to melt the crayon drawing into the altar cloth or altar hanging. A list of symbols suitable for this project is given below.


EASTER: A circle or ring speaks of eternity in that it has no beginning and no end. It is the monogram of God, representing His perfection. Color: white.

ASCENSION: The crown stands for the victory of Christ. Color: gold.

PENTECOST: The dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Its symbolism first appears in the baptism of Jesus. "I saw the spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him" (John 1:32). Color: red.

TRINITY: The equilateral triangle represents the eternal, equal and indivisible Trinity. Three equal circles in triangle form are the monogram of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Color: white.

Activity Source: Family Customs: Easter to Pentecost by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1956