Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cadettes Wood Work Badge

OK Leaders.... so I am pretty upscale savvy and good with power tools, but teaching a wood working badge to my Cadettes had me stumped.  As usual I scoured the Internet, but I was unable to find any concrete suggestions on how to obtain this badge.  I moseyed on over to Pinterest and still could not find much via Girl Scout Boards, but I was able to find some clever ideas to help meet the requirements of this badge.  And while I am not certain I met every criteria GS would suggest, my girls had fun and they learned a lot!  In my mind that makes this badge worth-while and meaningful.

Discussion 30 minutes
To begin our meeting I posed a few questions to my girls...

Has anyone ever used a power drill?  For what?
Drills come in all sizes today and you can use electrical power, battery or re-chargeable batteries

Has anyone hung a picture using something other than tack?  What?

What is the most complicated thing you have made? or built?

Have you ever fixed or helped to fix a household item?  What?  Did you have directions?  
At this point I highly encouraged the girls to help the next time Mom or Dad is putting together something in the house that requires directions, i.e. a new entertainment center, large toy for a sibling, swing set, installing a washer.  Girls can learn a lot from reading directions, handing tools to Dad and simply watching. 

If something breaks in your home, do your parents call a handyman or repair service?  Do they attempt to fix it on their own?
I encouraged the girls to try and fix items that break in the household through trial and error, especially if they plan on calling a handyman any ways.  They might just get lucky and fix it themselves, building their confidence, saving money and learning a lot in the process.

Where to start?  Consider re-purposing or sprucing up existing furniture.  How?
I showed the girls some great photos of Furniture Upscaling, simply taking an old piece of furniture in their attic, from a garage sale or thrift store and transforming it into something different and new. You can view my Pinterest Board, "Upscaling Furniture", by searching for my pins Shannan Willman-Needleman

Most importantly I tried to make them realize that in the near future they will move on to college and Mom and Dad will not always be around to help hang a picture and they will not be able to afford brand new, nice furniture, but they can fix things on their own and build things to meet their needs with some simple knowledge and the confidence to try on their own.

Next we talked about some very important safety tips:
Dress appropriately.  Do not wear gloves, ties, scarves, loose fitting clothing or jewelry around moving equipment.
Avoid distractions at all times.
Always wear safety equipment such as goggles, face shields, dust masks, and hearing protection appropriate for the type of tool or equipment being used.
Keep the working area and floor clean.
Do not stand in water or use any electrical equipment in the rain.
Be sure all equipment is properly grounded before use.
Always use the correct tools and equipment for the job.  Never use a tool or attachment on a machine for which it was not designed.
Before plugging in a machine, make sure the switch is in the OFF position.  Keep the power cords away from equipment while operating.

We ended our discussion with a quick Hardware Challenge Worksheet I created and we reviewed some hardware facts.  E-Mail me and I am happy to send these pdf files to you.

Opening Activity:  20 minutes
Each girl got a block of wood and was asked to drill in one flathead phillips screw.  First they tried to drill in the screw by hand using a phillips screwdriver.  Next they attempted to use a small drill, the Black and Decker Gyro.  They attempted WITHOUT a pilot hole and struggled.  So I taught them how to drill a small pilot hole using a drill bit and then they screwed in 2 screws and REMOVED them.  
***The Black & Decker Gyro is one of the niftiest power tools on the market.  It is perfect for every hand size and operates with the flick of the wrist.  It comes in black and pink as a lady version.  And the drill makes a great graduation gift :-)***  It is a nice tool for girls.

In hind sight I probably would have chosen one of these activities below rather than trying to fit in both during our 3 hour, once a month Sunday meeting.  Some girls were focused and nearly finished both, others barely got one done.  If you have 2 meetings, you might be able to do both.  It would be hard to choose one or the other however, the girls really liked both.

Lighted Wooden Letters (1 hour Minimum):
Goal:  Girls will learn how to use a power drill and spray paint

I purchased each girl their first name letter from Hobby Lobby ($3.99).
I purchased 20 mini lights battery operated string lights ($3.99)
Additional Supplies:
Spray Paint
Painter's Tape
Staple Gun and Staples (mine was electric, but any heavy duty stapler would suffice)
Power Drill with a 13/64th drill bit (preferably electric, my rechargeable battery power drill lost                    power after the 4 or 5th letter)

Directions:  Have the girls pencil 12-15 dots on the letters evenly spaced and avoid the edges of the letter, so try and have them stay relatively midline

Using the 13/64 bit, drill holes where the girls penciled the dots.  Allow the girls to drill the holes, watch closely and offer assistance.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SCRAP PIECE OF WOOD BELOW THE LETTER BECAUSE THE DRILL BIT WILL DRILL THROUGH THE LETTER AND INTO THE SCRAP WOOD.  

Next have the girls paint the letter.  My daughter chose to use chalkboard paint, some girls created chevrons using painter's tape.  I had a variety of spray paint colors.  The girls were asked to spray outside in the grass using an old cardboard box.  This dries within 15 minutes to touch.  

Finally the girls poked the lights through the holes and I stapled the wires into place.  I would not let the girls use the electric stapler, but they could probably use a simple heavy duty stapler.

PRESTO!  The girl's were mesmerized by the light and the marque-look.  They can hang the letters, but I recommend a tripod for display so you can set the relatively heavy battery box next to the letter.

Wood String-Art Elephant (1 hour Minimum):
I really worried the girls might not be able to handle this project, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The girls loved hammering and did amazingly well.  
Goal:  Girls will use hammer, nails and stain

Wooden Plaque from Wal-Mart ($3.49)
Grey String from Wal-Mart (100yards for $1.99, can make 2 or more)
Nails (18gauge, 3/4in length, make sure the nails have a head or the string  will pop off)
Tack hammer from Wal-Mart ($2.79)
Foam Brush
Mechanical Pencil (lead removed) 
Elephant Template (printed on simple, white computer paper)
Saw-Tooth Picture Hanger

Stain the wood and remove the excess with a damp cloth (baby wipes).  Allow to dry for a few minutes.  
Set elephant template on the plaque and place 3 nails on the 3 dots on the template to hold into place. Nails do not have to go in deep, merely a few taps to press the nails in 1/4 of the way. Continue taping in nails every 1cm or less, not too close, not too far away :-)

Once all the nails have been placed, remove the template by simply ripping it off the plaque.  
Next, I used an exacto knife to create a small hole in the side of the mechanical pencil and thread the string through the hole and out the tip of the pencil.  This step is CRITICAL and was a fantastic Pinterest suggestion.  I am not sure the girls could have completed the stringing part without it.  
Click here for the Mechanical Pencil Tip:
(The only difference I made my hole closer to the tip)
I DID NOT LET THEG IRLS USE THE EXACTO KNIFE.  I had these ready for use at the meeting.

Knot the thread onto one nail and begin the stringing part.  It is really self explanatory if you look at the picture really well.  Tip:  Be sure and double wind the string around a nail after every 3-4 nails, this will ensure that the string stays in place.  At the end simply double knot the string and trim.

Embellish with gems or sequins near the trunk.  We used E-6000 to adhere the sequins.

Turn over plaque and hammer in the saw-tooth hanger.

Here is one of the girl's elephant:

Awesome Right?

CLICK HERE to view all worksheets

If you download my files please list your troop #, council and state in the comments area.  I love for readers to see all the active leaders in the area looking and sharing resources! Also this keeps me inspired to continue updating my posts!

Recently I completed this activity with my younger Cadette troop. I changed the activity a bit to accommodate for the amount of time we had at our meeting.  The girls really loved their personalized monogrammed artwork.



  1. This was awesome! Thanks for doing this, I was very intimidated by this badge. Thank God for leaders like you and Google! Keep up the Great Work.

  2. These are awesome! I would love to get the PDF's!

  3. Briana I have posted the link to the PDFs above! ENJOY!

  4. This was awesome, thank you so much for sharing, my daughter (who is my biggest critic) said it was the best meeting ever. Very creative for the girls and basic for the leaders to do. Thank you again

  5. Can not wait to do w/ our girls! thank you
    Yuma AZ
    Troop 631

  6. This is great!!!! Thank you.

    Burbank, CA
    Troop #2386

  7. Thank you for all this wonderful info! Can't wait to start the badge with the girls next month.
    Troop 10094
    Girl Scouts Heart of NJ

  8. This is a really great lesson for the girls! Thank you!
    Troop 1127
    Girl Scouts Mountains to Midlands
    Anderson SC

  9. Thanks so much! I had no idea how to start. Excited for the girls to learn wood working!
    Troop 5315

  10. Thanks for this information. It definitely helps to attribute to some of what I was going to have my girls do. Troop 50024- Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore

  11. I was having a tough time getting info for this badge without getting the whole journey pack. you do a fantastic job of keeping it simple but helping to stimulate the creativity to make it our own. Thanks a million!

    Troop 20202
    Amherst New Hampshire

  12. I would like the notes for my Cadettes.
    Troop 12435
    Woodstock, GA
    Greater Atlanta

    1. I have re-posted the link to access the Wood Working notes... please take a look above. I hope this helps!

  13. Thank you! I am going to use some of these ideas with my Cadette troop in MA. We have lots of yarn left over from another project. Do you think it would work instead of the string or would the thickness be a problem?

  14. Very awesome to see a leader this organized and willing to get the girls BUILDING and doing while learning. Kudos to you!

  15. What width and height should the letters be

    1. I just made the letters as large as I could fit on the 8x11.5 page or you can adjust letter sizing to the size board you have.