Little Craftsmen #1: 🔥BURN, BABY! BURN!🔥 Wood-Burning Therapy

“It often seems that parents are at once too protective and not protective enough, that having been socialized to accept certain risks but not others, we shortchange our children’s sense of responsibility and confidence by ‘protecting’ them from the tools and activities that build these very qualities. Of course, that shortchanging is itself dangerous, and even more so because the danger is abstract. It does not result in blood or tears or broken bones, and therefore, it is easy to pretend it does not exist. And in pretending it does not exist, we allow it to fester.”

Ben Hewitt, Home Grown

Welcome! Thanks for joining us in Craftsman Corner; raising up capable and confident kids! If you missed our intro post with itinerary and supply list for the week, here it is:


Craftsman Week, Day One: BURN, BABY! BURN!

How often do our kids get to put their little hot hands on a wood-burner? Probably not too often, and I think that is a shame! Because burning wood is FUN, not to mention a seriously therapeutic art form—pyrography! And as far as danger is concerned, if a child wears safety goggles and heat-protective gloves while learning to burn, well, there’s really not much risk to speak of. Just don’t leave your kids alone in the house while they’re wood-burning 😆 !

SKILL SUPPLY LIST:


PRACTICING PYROGRAPHY; process over product

Most craft projects focus on an end-result, taking kids through a sort of paint-by-number system in order to render a very specific product. But before tackling any result-oriented art project with our kids, I like to allow them time to engage in the process of the art form; letting them immerse themselves in the tools and techniques, permitting both time to practice and play with all of the elements involved.

Wood-burning may especially require this kind of non-pressured approach simply because such a high level of familiarity and comfortability using a wood-burning instrument is necessary before being able to effectively execute a specific pyrography project.

Before attempting either of the wood-burning craft projects below, I highly recommend that we indulge each of our budding little pyromaniacs in simple “burn-doodling”.

The art of wood-burning is called pyrography, after all and closely resembles calligraphy; just with heat and wood in place of ink and paper. If our child showed an interest in learning calligraphy, we would probably allow her to practice letters and shapes on scrap paper before encouraging her to start, say, a wedding invitation Etsy shop.

We can do the same thing with pyrography as we do with calligraphy; giving first to our child a wood-burning instrument along with scrap wood to mark and scar to heart’s content while the pyrography pen becomes acquainted with her hand.


~Coasters + Christmas Ornaments~

*Please note: practice time using a wood-burner is highly recommended before proceeding to a result-oriented project. Please refer to the above explanation.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Set up a wood-burning station on a heat-resistant or scrap wood surface and assemble the following: project-ready wooden disks, heat-resistant safety gloves, safety goggles, wood-burner and stand, and replacement/alternate wood-burner tips.

2.) Have your child put on his safety goggles and heat-resistant gloves. Explain that the metal tip and coils above get extremely hot! Our son actually melted partway through a finger on his glove yesterday and almost burned his finger just minutes before the below picture was taken. Explain that he can still get burned even with safety gloves on, and that the plastic handle is the only part of the instrument that should be touched.

3.) Allow your child to stencil a design onto his coaster/ornament with a pencil or rubber stamp and light touch from the ink pad, or allow him to freehand a design if he feels ready for it!

4.) Use the decorated disk as a coaster with no additional steps necessary.

OR . . .

5.) Turn the wooden disk into a Christmas ornament or decorative pendant with the simple step of drilling a hole about a half inch from the top of the disk, or adhering a hook to the back or top of the disk, and then simply adding twine or ribbon for a gorgeous, rustic ornament.


~Peg Dolls~

*Please note: practice time using a wood-burner is highly recommended before proceeding to a result-oriented project. Please refer to the above explanation.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Set up a wood-burning station on a heat-resistant or scrap wood surface and assemble the following: project-ready wooden peg dolls, heat-resistant safety gloves, safety goggles, wood-burner and stand, and replacement/alternate wood-burner tips.

2.) Have your child put on her safety goggles and heat-resistant gloves. Explain that the metal tip and coils above get extremely hot! Explain that she can still get burned even with safety gloves on, and that the plastic handle is the only part of the instrument that should be touched.

3.) Allow your child to lightly draw a face onto her chosen peg doll with a pencil.

4.) Let her burn that face! And FYI: the results won’t always be pretty 😆 .

5.) We won’t be selling our peg dolls on Etsy or entering them in the state fair anytime soon, and yet . . . these dolls are our toddlers absolute favorite toys. We made her first wood-burned peg dolls as a stocking stuffer this past Christmas, and since then she has played with them more than any of her other toys . . . perhaps combined. A few of the dolls I have tried to replace with “better” ones (aka less frightening) and she has adamantly refused. She also forbids me to add hair onto any of them or add any other “improvement” details.

For me, this is yet another example of how our children require very, very simple playthings and are happy with far less elaborate toys than is our assumption. I believe the appeal of these peg dolls to be their simplicity; they allow our daughter to imprint them entirely from her imagination.


Tune in tomorrow for HAMMER TIME!

Thanks ever so much for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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