Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sassafras Jewerly: Camping Craft

Where camping meets crafting Crafting with Court is here to save the day!  Sassafras trees are very common in the eastern part of the United States.  Sassafras trees can be identified by their many slender branches with orange-brown bark.  Additionally, the leaves are unusual and appear in three different shapes: unlobed oval, bilobed (mitten shaped), and trilobed (three pronged).  If you think you've found a Sassafras tree, break some of the twigs and they should have a fragrant smell.

Why is Sassafras worth finding on your next camping trip?  Well, from a practical perspective, Sassafras is one of the few woods that can burn while wet.  Having Sassafras around will enable you to start a fire and still cook your dinner even after a rainstorm.  From a crafting perspective, Sassafras can be made into beads!  With just a few simple materials to bring while camping you can make an easy craft to keep the kids busy and give them a great keepsake to show off from their camping trip!  If you make your own jewelry, Sassafras beads can add a unique and natural look to your next project.

Materials:  Sassafras twigs about 1/8"-1/4" in diameter, scissors, metal wire (thumb tack, earring posts, paper clips, etc), beading string, beads (optional)

1.  Cut your Sassafras twigs into approximately 1/4" segments.  These will become your beads so you can make them bigger or smaller if your prefer.  Scissors should be able to cut through the twigs.  If you are doing this with children, do this step for them.  If you are having trouble, a pocket knife with a serrated blade will also work.

2.  Poke the center of the Sassafras twig segments out.  You should notice a small roundish white center in your Sassafras twig segments.  Poke a metal wire through the white center.  It should poke out fairly easily.  Poke through a couple of time to get all of the center out.  Do this for all your twig segments to make them into beads.  Gauge the ability levels of your children before deciding whether they can do this step on their own.

3.  Make your jewelry.  Thread the Sassafras beads onto your beading string.  You can mix in regular beads for a more unique look.  This is the step your children will enjoy the most.  When you're finished, tie it off and enjoy.

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