1. Yes, you can!
When we’re in school, we’re often taught that we can’t do arts and crafts, that we aren’t creative. Every time you solve a problem, you’re being creative. Every time you find a new way to earn a badge program, you’re being creative. You don’t realize it. Have confidence in yourself. You are creative. You can do this!
2. Start with a list.
What kind(s) of crafts do you want to learn or share? Make a list of the crafts you’re interested in. Also have a general idea if the craft(s) will fit with your programming / planning and what you’re willing to spend. Some crafts, like stained glass, are very expensive. The other end of the spectrum are paper crafts, which tend to be not only less costly, but a good idea for groups. It’s better to have an idea of what you’re looking for so you don’t get excited and agree to something that sounds cool, but is impractical to do.
3. YouTube and Vimeo are your friends.
These two video sites will provide you with more “how to” information for crafting than you can imagine. Choose a craft and do a search on each site. Watch a video or two to see how these sites can help you.
4. Specific sites.
Online sites run the gamut of specific craft techniques to information on multiple crafts. Take the same craft you researched in the step above and google it. Bookmark a few of the sites you find that might be helpful to you in the future.
Connect with Local Adults
5. Start a list.
You may not be fired up from what you find on your searches. Perhaps you aren’t willing to put the time into learning a craft that you intend to only share with others once or twice.
For this reason, you’ll be starting a crafter contact list. Use it when you need crafting help. This list might include:
- Contact’s name
- Contact’s email
- Contact’s phone
- Craft(s) they do
- What they’re willing to teach
- Materials you need to provide
- Cost, if any
Add other fields if you wish. You can do this in a word processor, database, spreadsheet or even in your contact list on your phone.
6. Your friends and family.
Friends and family are often willing to help you. Ask any of your friends or family if they craft. If so, find out what they enjoy and if they’d be willing to help show someone else how to do it.
7. Other leaders.
If you’re part of an organization, like Girl Scouts, see if other adults who enjoy crafting would be willing to visit your girls. You might want to trade off other leading tasks like camping or providing instruction on non-crafting skills.
8. Older kids.
Asking older kids to help is a win-win situation. The older kids get experience while the younger kids are more motivated because they are “doing what the big kids are.” Do you have a group of kids willing to do service for you? If so, be sure to track it so they can use this information for scholarship applications and more.
9. Your own kids.
The kids you work with might have some experience crafting that they’d like to share. Don’t dismiss friendship bracelets, clothing decoration, hair accessories, scrapbooks and other crafts kids have learned from their family or each other. Kids are often excited about sharing with their peers. Work with your presenter before allowing them to stand in front of everyone. If they’ve got their craft project ready to present, they’ll be a lot less nervous.
10. School art teachers.
Art teachers are usually willing to come in and do a short program. Arts and crafts tend to work together, so this will allow your kids to be creative without you being in charge. Check with your school and see if you have any teachers you can add to your crafter contact list.
11. Local artists.
Exposure is a good thing. Local artists might want to hand out flyers about their latest show or other information. In exchange, they might be willing to teach your kids. Be sure to discuss what they want to do before agreeing to anything. Get a feel for the person. Will he / she be able to connect with your kids? What kinds of art do they do that you might be able to pull into a meeting, trip or event?
12. Visit art and craft shows.
As you walk around a craft show or other venue where crafted items are displayed, pay attention to the wares. Is it something you can see yourself / your kids making? Do the materials look affordable? If you think the craft you see might be a good fit, start a conversation with the crafter to learn more.
13. Other organizations.
Working with kids is very rewarding. Don’t discount someone’s crafting help because of age, color, religion, etc. Retired people might be happy to help because it gets them out meeting new people and sharing what they enjoy. Crafting guilds and groups can also be a help, especially if they can share a craft they’ve based their group on. What organizations do you have locally that might be able to help you?
NOTE: If you find an organization online, it might have a local chapter that can help you. Check it out!
14. Visit others.
Attend events, workshops and other activities in your area. You’ll find others you can visit with to not only get ideas, but to help support you in your crafting endeavors.
Sites to Explore
To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Craft Support