I need any advice I can get. I am teaching a 2 hour session of jewelry making with a FLORAL theme to a gorup of children ages 7 to 13. I could have 8 to 20 kids and if a 5 yr old wants to come they can. Does anyone have any Ideas.? This needs to be pretty arty not just beading. The age range and skill level is huge! So far I am thinking shrinky dink flowers that they draw, color and cut out and use seed beads for the older ones and pony beads or larger seed beads for the younger ones. I wanted to use metal and wire but I don't think the little ones could handle that. Maybe flowers made out of heavy duty aluminum foil. I will have to try that. I do not have much experience with 7 yr.olds. My son is 28, been a while. I am mainly a wire and metal artist. Love my hammer!
Any ideas or advise will be appreciated.
I think that is wonderful that you are involved with the younger generation, you will be amazed with their excitement.
Some suggestions would be to have the kids make simple animal shapes with wire or let them hammer metal to make a Cuff Bracelet. WIth the younger ones I really like your idea of having them imbellish a picture with beads.
My 10yr old Grandson loves working with metal, give him a hammer and a piece of Copper and look out....He is still a little timid with the torches. My 7yr old granddaughter loves to play with beads and she is at an age where she is starting to grasp the idea of patterns and she has made a few necklaces that came out pretty good.
Good luck with your class and please keep us posted regarding your class.
Have a great day,
WHNW, I don't have any suggestions but I do offer my prayers for your long term sanity! I admire your desire to take on a bunch of children and teach them the basics of jewelry design.
The idea for the cuff for older children is very good. At places like
Lowes and Home Depot they have metal panels in several colors that they call
"Kick Plates" which they sell as door protectors. They are
about 8" to 12" high and about 34" -36" wide. I
purchased a couple at a close out sale and I whenever I want I just cut out a
piece the size that I need. Mine have worked out nicely - I've made a lot
of cuff's and other jewelry, and I still have most of the second plate to
Normal cost at the big box stores is $20 - $30, Amazon sells them for about
the same and you can get free shipping - you just can't see or touch them
first. Many of the local Mom & Pop hardware stores sell them at about
double that or more. Assuming you get the smaller 8" x 34" size
and cut the cuff blanks about 2.6" x 6.6" you should be able to get
15 blanks out of one sheet. Also 2" - 2.5" wooden dowels and
even heavy walled plastic pipe can be used as mandrels.
Check out Harbor Freight Tools for inexpensive hammers and other
tools. If you've never been to one or checked out their website it is a
real treat. I go crazy there and I'm lucky to come out without spending
$100 or more, and they are always having sales.
For the younger children the idea of seed beads is good, until they spill
them - or try to eat them. Using something like a top from a shoe box -
except wider - for them to work over would make keeping everything together a
lot easier. But, the question is - will they be happy pasting beads on a piece
of paper while the older kids get to make "real" jewelry? If
you could set them up with a project to make a bead necklace or bracelet with
large beads with large holes, so they don't need a needle of any type that
would be good.
You can also find cooper washers at Harbor Freight Tools or regular washers
at your local hardware store. The regular washers you could spray paint
different colors (even two tone them) before the event to make it more
exciting. They could
"texture" the unpainted washers with hammers or with sand paper (sand
paper might be safer). Just add some jump rings and some beads between them and they would
make nice necklaces for the smaller kids to work on. (You know that actually sounds like it could interesting;
some chain, a few jump rings, and some beads - I may give that a try myself.)
It would also be lot easier to clean up after that type of the program
too. The thought of all those seed beads all over the place is a bit
If you do use seed beads and they spill, which of course they will, try this
trick I learned when I was selling vacuum cleaners. Take two used fabric
softener dryer sheets; put them together laying one over the other.
Remove the nozzle from your vacuum cleaner hose and lay the two sheets over the
top of the hose opening so that the center of the dryer sheets is over the
center of the hole. Then, carefully, make a depression 1"-2"
into the hose with your finger. Making sure that no side or corner goes
into the hose place your dusting brush or crevice tool over the hose and vacuum
the area that has the spill. The dryer sheets will act as a 'mini'
vacuum cleaner bag. Then carefully vacuum the area and when you get done
all you have to do is remove the attachment and pour out your recovered beads.
Even with children of one age, there will be a difference of ability among them, gender does have some effect also as boys and girls see things differently and do things differently. Varying motor skills are another problem. I suggest crow, tile, or pony beads, especially the younger ones. Larger seed beads, especially 2° and 4° would be good for the oldser ones. I have used hemp cords for that -- I put a drop of thin epoxy on each end of the cord, which then functioned as a needle on each end.
In a class I sat in on, the instructor gave each of s a bunch of the lager plastic beads from "Wally World" and we used hemp cord -- worked well.
I'm not sure of the younger ones but 10 and up can usually use soft wire [copper is good] for wire work and stringing of beads.
The basic Daisy CXhain is often a good one for children; I have seen Girl Scouts 12 and up making them.
Lakeland, MN, USA
11 Dec 1935
Even with children of one age, there will be a difference of ability among them, gender does have some effect also as boys and girls see things differently and do things differently. Varying motor skills are another problem. I suggest crow, tile, or pony beads, especially for the younger ones. Larger seed beads, especially 2° and 4° would be good for the older ones. I have used hemp cords for that -- I put a drop of thin epoxy on each end of the cord, which then functioned as a needle on each end.
In a class I sat in on, the instructor gave each of us a bunch of the lager plastic beads from "Wally World" and we used hemp cord -- worked well.
The basic Daisy Chain is often a good one for children; I have seen Girl Scouts 14 and up making them but they can be simple enough for younger children.
ETA: clean out a 'Dust Buster type hand vacuum and use it to gather the beads. I have used the foot portion on an old stocking in the same manner as the fabric softener sheets mentioned earlier.
Thank you all for yur thoughts, suggestions and concerns for my sanity. I have been playing are round with a few things and figuring costs. Just have to put a few of these up to the director for approval. I will post picture of the project when it ids done... It is only 2 hours. I will survive!
Fun class! You're on the right track with varying the materials to make it work for varying skill levels. I'd recommend having some pony beads and thick "string" (leather cords, perhaps) for the very youngest participants. The bigger the materials, the easier it will be for those with limited fine motor skills. You could use fishing line or hemp for kids you aren't sure could handle metal wire. Fishing line is pretty durable, comes in varying widths for different skill sets, and some versions are elastic which makes them perfect for bracelets or necklaces without clasps (it's not true fishing line, but is clear and plastic-like).
Hope that's helpful.
I love doing custom jewelry, cutting, setting and more!