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Ideas for Webelos Craftsman projects?

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  • Ideas for Webelos Craftsman projects?

    Hello,

    I have a Webelos 1 den and we are about to start working on Craftsman. I want them to make interesting projects that are not likely to be regarded as "clutter" (if such a thing exists!) I am running out of ideas. Anyone want to share? We have very limited funds!!

    One thing we would like to do is some leather work but the kits are too expensive. Does anyone know of a source for inexpensive leather We would love to do a book cover if possible.

    Thanks!

    K

  • #2
    Know what you mean about "clutter" projects. And the requirement does say that they must make something useful. I try to make the Webelos projects a little more testosterone drive so they are of interest to the older boys. Some of the things my den did last year:

    Wood -- Built shadow box picture frames we gave to the Webelos II's as crossover gifts. (We're going to try and turn this in to a pack tradition.) We built them on an assembly line so that it was more of a group project. I did the serious woodworking in my shop, so that the boys essentially had kits that they assembled, sanded, stained and finished. This will be hard to do if you don't have a woodworker in the den to fabricate the parts. I'll send you more elaborate plans, if you're interested.

    Cloth -- Had the boys make their own patch vests. I bought one at the Scout Shop and reverse engineered it. From the original, I made a cardboard pattern that the boys cut out of red felt, sewed the shoulder seams and added gromets and a leather tie. The Scouts actually had more fun with this than I expected. I was worried that a sewing project would be too woosey, but they surprised me.

    Plastic -- lanyards and/or key fobs. Way too much to try and finish in a den meeting, but if you can show the boys how to do it, they can finish them at home. Key fobs are just short lanyards.

    Metal -- Pepsi can alcohol stoves. See instructions at http://wings.interfree.it/ . These are right on the edge of being too advanced for Webelos. I simplified the process by making a "can cutter" out of a 1-inch piece of wood with a semi-circle the size of the soda can and a utility knife blade mounted so that it would just barely score the can. You hold the can in the semi-circle and slowly turn it round and round, and it eventually makes a clean cut. Use sharp finishing nails to punch the holes in the upper section. I had each boy work in pairs with a parent assigned to help each pair. (I've got a big den and lots of parents.) You really need to study this one and decide if your boys are up for it. Build a couple of stoves yourself before hand and to get the hang of it.

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    • #3
      We save Craftsman for our 2nd year Webelos. The final project is always building the Pinewood Derby car stands for our January Derby. They build 1 stand for each boy in our Pack so it can be a big job. They come up with the design themselves so each year is something new and different. The design is also kept a secret from everyone else, so part of the excitement of Derby day is seeing what the stand looks like!

      One stand version that might work for you is one that was made of old tree limbs. They used a larger slice for the base, a taller stick that was screwed onto the bottom piece, and another, smaller slice that was sitting on edge, on the base against the stick. This smaller slice had written on it, in either marker or wood burner, -

      Pinewood Derby
      2004
      Pack 123

      The car can be screwed onto the top of the stick or a platform can be made of a limb slice with a twig ledge hot glued to the front edge. If you cut the top of the stick at a slight angle towards the front then screw on the platform the car will just sit against the twig ledge and you will not have to screw the car on (many boys do not want screws in their car!).

      This should not cost you much, but you will have to find someone who has cut down a tree and is willing to give you the wood! The boys love doing this for the Pack and get very competitive about their design being better than other years!

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      • #4
        In the past we have made Flower boxes, to be hung over a railing on a deck or porch. Clocks -- We bought inexpensive battery clock works, used some scrap paneling and put it in a picture frame they made.
        Small book shelves.
        Paper towel holders.

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        • #5
          I'm at about this stage with my younger sons den. Two years ago with my older sons group we went with a toolbox like this one; http://www.stilesdesigns.com/toolbox.html

          , stilts, a leather sheath for their knives, and taught them to tie the turk's head knot for a neckerchief slide.

          I think this time around we're going with the toolbox (it was a big hit), a small wooden step stool, the sheath, the knot, hobo stoves, moccasins from a kit, and some others that I can't think of right now. They already did derby cars, and made the display stands last week out of scrap lumber.

          It took us most of two months to get through all the requirements last time around, but the den was twice as big (ten boys).

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          • #6
            Thanks for all the ideas!! Where do you get the leather kits? The only ones I have seen are hideously expensive. I would love to do leather book covers but can not find a cheap enough source. Thanks again!

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            • #7
              Try http://www.tandyleather.com/ I don't know much about it but one of the ASMs in the troop does a lot of leather work and orders a lot of stuff through them.

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              • #8
                We're doing catapults next week. Fills Craftsman becuase we're making it out of wood. Fills one of Engineering too, but don't remember which one.

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                • #9
                  OK, Since nobody is willing to offer an answer, I'll give it a try. Leather kits are expensive, yes. At one day camp a few years ago, we used leather left over from Scout camp. The reason nobody had used the leather was because it was thick enough to make people wonder about it's origin. The tools, which are also expensive were borrowed from the Scout camp. I had assisted with the camp that summer, so I had an inside track. I personally vouched for the safe return of the tools. The leather was simply given to me because it was close to being unfit for use but it was great for stamping logos and such. It was difficult to cut but we did it. Basically we made small items but the boys loved it, there were over 100 at that camp. I have also purchased left over leather from a saddle maker. I have a large box of it in my garage at this writing. It is made up of scraps and pieces. It is just right for small projects and for practice.

                  Now, for the idea about book covers, I would say that you should reconsider it because of the expense and I am not sure how to get around that and because it is a big project. I would sugget that you consider a two step process with part of it in leather and the other part in some type of heavy fabric. The leather might be hot glued to the fabric for the front only. First cut the fabric to the size of the book. I am not sure if hot glue would work because I have not tried it. You would have to try it at home to make sure. If that doesn't work then you might have to try some type of hole punch to thresd the leather on to the fabric.

                  Good Luck and happy hunting. I know that you are set on this project so yo will most likely find what you are looking for or something close
                  Fuzzy B.

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                  • #10
                    If you're set on leather, call a local upholsterer. They typically have remnants or you can take advantage of their bulk purchase power. And, the leather they get for upholstery work is typically thinner and better suited to book covers than what you might find in a kit. The punches, awls, laces, etc., you should be able to get from your District/Council if they offer crafts MBs at summer camp.

                    Lowe's and Home Depot stores have always been very accomodating to Scout groups doing woodwork projects, and will normally provide the materials gratis if you work on the projects during their "workshop" periods on weekends.

                    Good luck.

                    KS

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                    • #11
                      S & S crafts also has leather to use for projects that is reasonably priced. I've used them for day/resident camps craft supplies. They are fast on turn around on the orders, also.
                      Sharon

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                      • #12
                        Thanks everyone. You have given me some good ideas!

                        I was not really dead set on doing leather; I just thought it would be something nice to do. I had already pretty much given up on it because of the expense. The fabric/leather combo sounds like a possibility, but I think I have enough ideas now to just move ahead. Thanks so much!

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