How to Make a Palm Cross Tattoo?

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Key Takeaways

  • Palm cross tattoos require a specific paper folding technique to achieve the intricate design.
  • Select high quality tattoo paper or palm leaves and prep the surface before folding.
  • Follow step-by-step instructions to create the classic triangular folds resembling a cross.
  • Secure the folded cross shape with string or glue before transferring as a tattoo.
  • Consult a professional tattoo artist to ink the palm cross design for best results.


Palm crosses hold great religious and cultural significance in various communities around the world. The intricate folding patterns carved into palm leaves have long been used to commemorate Palm Sunday in Christian traditions. Today, stylized palm cross designs are growing in popularity as unique tattoo art.

Getting a palm cross tattoo allows you to honor family heritage, express faith, or simply appreciate the beauty of this complex geometric design. However, recreating the 3D folded cross requires precision and skill. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the complete process of making a paper palm cross template to transfer as body art.

Learning the specific folding technique is essential for creating a recognizable palm cross tattoo. This article will analyze the step-by-step methodology in detail, from selecting materials to securing the finished cross. You’ll gain expert insight into perfecting proportions, creases, and dimensions when folding the cross.

With the help of illustrated instructions, you’ll be able to master the palm cross folding pattern. This knowledge will allow you to design personalized variations to suit your tattoos. By the end, you’ll have in-depth knowledge of how to craft palm crosses for meaningful and attractive tattoos.

How to Make a Palm Cross Tattoo?

Step By Step Guide On How To Make A Palm Cross Tattoo?

Following the detailed instructions below will help you successfully create a paper palm cross template for a tattoo:

How to Make a Palm Cross Tattoo?

Step 1: What Materials Do You Need To Make A Palm Cross?

The traditional material used to fold palm crosses is palm leaves, specifically from Date Palms. The leaves’ fibrous structure allows them to hold the intricate folds and creases. While dried palm fronds are ideal, you can substitute paper to make cross templates for tattoos.

Choose a sturdy paper in a yellowish green hue resembling palm leaves. Opt for thicker paper between 80-120 gsm weight. Origami paper, parchment paper, cardstock, or watercolor sheets make good alternatives. Ensure the size is at least 6 x 6 inches for easier folding.

Tattoo artists may also use synthetic palm fronds made from bamboo, cotton fiber, or wood pulp. These realistic artificial leaves are pliable and mimic the look of actual palm leaves.

Step 2: How To Prepare Palm Leaves Or Paper For Folding?

Proper prep work ensures the material folds and creases neatly for sharp cross patterns. Here are some tips:

  • Clean palm leaves – Wipe fresh palm fronds with a damp cloth to remove dirt or debris. Let them dry completely before folding.
  • Flatten paper – Lightly iron or place paper under heavy books overnight to flatten creases.
  • Cut uniform shapes – Use scissors or blades to cut palm leaves or paper into square or rectangular shapes.
  • Define crease lines – Lightly score the paper with a dull knife or spoon to define the main crease lines.

Sharp creases are vital for creating the signature palm cross folds. Take care not to tear the material in the process. Avoid overly wetting or softening natural palm leaves as it may weaken the fibers. The prepared material should hold crisp folds yet be flexible enough to shape without cracking.

Step 3: How To Fold A Paper Palm Cross?

Once your materials are prepped, it’s time to start folding. Refer to the illustrated guide below to correctly fold a basic paper palm cross:

Show Image

Fig 1. Steps to fold a paper palm cross template for tattoos

  1. Begin with a square sheet placed vertically. Fold the top corner down to the center line to make a triangle.
  2. Take the left corner of the triangle and fold it towards the center line.
  3. Now fold the right corner of the triangle inwards overlapping the left flap.
  4. Fold the bottom tip upwards and tuck it under the overlapped corners.
  5. Adjust the proportions and creases to form a symmetrical cross.

Step 4: How Do You Secure The Palm Cross Folds?

The folded paper cross needs to be secured before transferring it as a tattoo outline. Here are some options:

  • Tie string or thread – Wrap embroidery floss or waxed linen thread tightly around the center. Knot it at the back to hold the cross shape.
  • Apply glue – Use fabric glue or tacky glue inside the folds and press together firmly. Allow to dry completely.
  • Tape strips – Crisscross paper or washi tape in a hashtag pattern on the reverse side.
  • Laminate – Fuse both sides with plastic laminating sheets using a laminator or iron.

Avoid excess moisture that can distort the paper when securing. Let it dry fully before handing it to your tattoo artist.

Step 5: How To Transfer The Palm Cross Outline For Tattooing?

Tattoo artists use different techniques to transfer paper cross templates onto skin:

How to Make a Palm Cross Tattoo?
  • Stencil method – The cross outline is traced onto transfer paper and then stenciled onto the body.
  • Carbon copy – The cross template is taped to skin and copied over using a pencil or tattoo machine without ink.
  • Thermal paper – A thermal photocopy of the cross is printed onto temperature sensitive paper then transferred with heat.
  • Tracing method – The outline is directly traced from the template onto skin using a tattoo marker.

This temporary outline guides the tattooing process for accurately rendering the palm cross design. Choose a transfer technique based on artist preference and equipment available.

Step 6: How To Design Your Palm Cross Tattoo?

Now that you understand how to fold and transfer the cross, it’s time for the fun part – designing your palm cross tattoo! Consider the following elements:


Popular placements for palm cross tattoos include forearms, wrists, backs, and shoulders. Choose an area you can conceal or show off. Avoid highly mobile spots that may distort the tattoo over time.


Palm crosses can be inked in all sizes from tiny to covering the full back. Decide based on placement and level of detail. Intricate details are best done larger.


Keep it classic black ink or add colors like red, green, purple, or gold. Some create palm cross tattoos resembling watercolor paintings.

Additional Elements

Add patterns, dots, floral motifs, script lettering, or religious imagery to personalize the cross. Extend into full sleeve designs featuring palm trees.

Shading and Textures

Use shading, pointillism, cross-hatching, and stippling to make the cross pop on skin. Adding depth creates a 3D cross.

Discuss your vision with the tattoo artist so they can recommend modifications to suit your anatomy and keep the design cohesive. They can expertly refine the template at the time of inking to make it work as body art.

FAQs About Palm Cross Tattoos

What Does A Palm Cross Tattoo Signify?

Palm crosses represent Jesus Christ’s victory over death in Christian tradition. They are used to mark Palm Sunday worship when Jesus entered Jerusalem. The folded cross pays tribute to this religious holiday and symbolizes faith for devotees.

These tattoos may also honor family heritage and ethnic culture in Coptic, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern communities where handcrafted palm crosses hold significance. Some may simply appreciate the minimalist cross shape and geometric folds as decorative body art.

How Painful Is Getting A Palm Cross Tattoo?

Pain levels depend on the size and placement of your palm cross tattoo. Areas with more nerve endings and thin skin like the wrists or feet will feel more sensitive. Larger and more detailed crosses need prolonged tattooing which can be uncomfortable.

However, palm crosses tend to use thin lines and geometric patterns requiring less shading. This makes them moderately painful for most people to tolerate. Discuss pain management techniques with your artist beforehand.

How Long Does A Palm Cross Tattoo Take?

You can get a small, simple palm cross tattoo finished in under an hour. More elaborate designs with added colors, textures, and details may require 2-3 hour long sessions.

The intricacy of the template, size, and artist speed determines the time it takes. Give yourself adequate downtime for the healing process between sessions for large cross tattoos.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Palm Cross Tattoo?

Pricing is generally based on size, detail, and artist skill level. Small 1-2 inch crosses may cost $50 – $100, while full back pieces can range from $500 – $1000.

Add $100 – $200 per hour for complex detailing. Reputable artists usually charge higher rates for their expertise but deliver better results. Ensure you budget properly for a quality palm cross tattoo.

How Long Do Palm Cross Tattoos Take To Heal?

With proper aftercare, a palm cross tattoo takes 2-3 weeks to fully heal. Avoid submerging it in water or direct sun exposure during this time.

Use a fragrance free moisturizer to hydrate the skin. Refrain from picking scabs as it can damage the inked design. See your artist immediately if you notice signs of infection.

What Is The Best Way To Preserve A Palm Cross Tattoo?

  • Use high SPF sunscreen when outdoors to prevent fading.
  • Avoid long hot showers and abrasive scrubbing on the tattoo.
  • Moisturize daily with lotion to prevent dryness and cracking.
  • Exfoliate gently once healed using a soft brush or loofah.
  • Avoid picking, scratching or trauma to the tattooed area.
  • Follow your artist’s instructions and return for touch ups if needed.

Proper care can help your palm cross tattoo retain vibrancy and clarity for years.


Palm cross tattoos allow you to display a culturally significant and geometrically intriguing symbol on your body. Learning the specific paper folding technique is key to creating templates for attractive designs. Pay close attention to proportions and creases when following the step-by-step folding process.

Consult closely with your tattoo artist so they can refine and enhance the palm cross outline for inking. With their expertise and your understanding of crafting the crosses, you can achieve beautiful, meaningful palm cross tattoos to proudly display

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