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Wednesday
Apr042012

{Root + Stem} Crafting with Wood: Stacker Tutorial

by Kimara Wise and Michelle Bonney

from Wee Folk Art

 Click here to download the tutorial 

 

There is something so magical about wooden toys. Perhaps it’s because they remind us of a simpler time, possibly it is their organic connection to nature, or maybe it is simply because a well–made wooden toy is a thing of beauty. Sadly, today most people consider woodworking to be an unattainable crafting skill. Where we can easily envision ourselves knitting or sewing, woodcrafting is shrouded in mystery; a skill reserved for professionals.  

It wasn’t always that way. The earliest toys discovered by archaeologists were made of wood. It’s not hard to understand why. It is a natural material and, in most areas of the world, wood is readily available. Wood is versatile. It can be crafted into a boat, a cradle, a bowl or a spinning top. With the most rudimentary tools, wood can be transformed into a world of possibilities. And, let’s face it, stroking a well finished piece of wood fills us with a sense of peace and tranquility; almost as if it were emanating warmth from its very core.

Children are born with an affinity to wood. Wood is one of the first crafting materials children use. Watch a child playing outside. Almost immediately sticks are picked up and imagination fashions them into swords and scepters, walking sticks and wands. Sticks are stacked to become houses for fairies, and as soon as a child can handle a knife, branches are whittled into gnomes and grizzly bears.

So, why is it, through the course of time, and as we grow older, we tend to distance ourselves from this almost instinctual relationship? I think it’s because tools for crafting wood became electric, expensive, and, let’s face it, scary! Because of that, less people worked with wood, skills were lost, and children no longer had adults modeling woodcrafting behaviors.

I must admit we felt that way. When we first started Wee Folk Art, we didn’t share wood projects, because we didn’t work with wood. After ogling and drooling over expensive wooden toys, we decided to put aside our preconceived notions and fears and simply try. We have never looked back! Working with wood is so gratifying and engages our senses of sight, smell and touch. Plus, the more we do, the more confident we become, and the more willing we are to tackle complex projects.

We are hopeful that if you think woodworking is outside your realm of abilities, you might consider making the Wooden Stacker we are sharing today. We kept the design simple, the tools to a minimum, and believe that even a novice can succeed. The only tools you NEED are an electric drill and a hand held saw. Of course, there are many modern tools that make working with wood easier, and we will share the tools that we used. We hope you take this first step into crafting toys out of wood. It is rewarding, gratifying, and just plain fun!

 

Wooden Stacker 

Stackers have become an iconic symbol of babyhood, and with good reason; almost every baby owns one. The appeal of a stacker is twofold: they are fun to play with and they are educational. Through exploration of a stacker babies develop dexterity, agility and hand-eye coordination. Through experimentation they can advance any number of skills including sorting, sequencing, and size and color recognition. Not bad for one little toy. Plus, our Wooden Stacker can easily be used with many other toys including blocks.  

Click here to dowload the tutorial! 

 

 

Kimara Wise and Michelle Bonney are the mother/daughter team otherwise known as Wee Folk Art.  They share a mutual love of crafting and the gentle art of homemaking. With the "wee folks" in mind, most of their crafting is focused on children. Kimara taught preschool and has degrees in elementary education and home economics. Michelle earned her degree in fine arts majoring in graphic arts and photography. She in now entrenched in homeschooling her three children. They both are on a road to simplifying their lives and share a belief that less is often better, as long as the less has quality. They love working with natural materials, and are ever mindful of the effect their crafting materials have on the environment. Soon, they will be opening an online store and sell kits to make many of the projects they share on their site. You can visit them at weefolkart.com or contact them at weefolkart@yahoo.com.

 


Reader Comments (3)

...Children are born with an affinity to wood. Wood is one of the first crafting materials children use. Watch a child playing outside. Almost immediately sticks are picked up and imagination fashions them into swords and scepters, walking sticks and wands. Sticks are stacked to become houses for fairies, and as soon as a child can handle a knife, branches are whittled into gnomes and grizzly bears......
Yes, you are right, but consequently, you should make your toy with different wood and not colored. So the child will have impression of the different quality and feeling and outlook of wood! And than rubbed with natural oil (candle wax etc.) will give also a "smelling"....

And: one of your pics hoe to make with the the "machine saw" is terrible: So near by the "saw blade with the fingers - terrible! Please make contact to an expert and make new photos! I am not so good in my english to explain, but i have 45 years experience as a reacher in school for woodworking etc..in school!

Chears!

Gerd
Apr 25, 2012 at 4:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterGerd
Gerd,
If you had bothered to read the article instead of just criticizing it, you would have discovered two things:

First, the authors made of point of saying the safety gear was removed ONLY for the purpose of showing detail in the photo. They state NEVER use a saw without proper safety gear.

And, second, the authors suggest 3 ways to finish the wood. The FIRST being to leave the wood natural, and just finishing with a natural beeswax finish. Their third suggestion was to paint the wood using non toxic, child safe paints. And, they did this because the child they were making it for WANTED color.

I find it very disturbing that "purist" of any sort, exhibit such a low tolerance to anyone that doesn't view the world as they do. I find it rather amusing that you assume that unless a child experiences wood in its most natural form, it is a tainted experience. Color, whether in wood or life, is not a bad thing. I feel sorry for the children in your life if they can't experience wood, and life, in many different colors.

Finally, I just want to say I took your comment personally. I have been going to Wee Folk Art for years, and their natural crafting and kind spirit have helped change me in a positive way. Your comments were very shallow and lacking knowledge. I suggest the next time you attack an author, you do so AFTER reading what they have to say.

Marnie Regal
Apr 25, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarnie Regal
I made two of these. One for each of my nieces that turned one this year. They love them and so do I. They were so fun to make. They also were very easy for me to make. I am not the greatest at wood working but they turned out awesome. Thank you!
Jun 17, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterShelley

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