Monthly Archives: September 2006

Crafts for Boys: Make a “Boffer”- Make a Safe Sword

picture of boffers

Of course girls can make these to- instead of saying this is a crafts for boys I should say a craft that boys might be interested in. I do avoid sexual stereo-typing but experience has shown me that not too many boys enjoy scrap booking or bead making as much as girls.
Wow- did kids go crazy for these! I saw these last year but never had an opportunity to make- my sons were too young and it looked like a big task. The kids I saw playing with were 8-16 years old. It has ALWAYS been a challenge for me to get boys interested in any kind of a craft and I was thrilled with how much they liked this.
Well- we have been going a group lately where the kids ( mostly boys) seem to gravitate towards swordplay- broom handles, mops and sticks were being whacked all over the place. It was only a matter of time boffer some one got hurt and it twigged that I had an email about how to make these cool “swords” called boffers. There is a whole culture of making and playing with these things- but for our purposes we needed something kids could use as a sword and not kill one another.
These were a HUGE hit- the kids totally loved them and I was a hero. The great thing about these is my 3 year old was as able to join in and have fun as much as the 11 and 12 year olds.
Basically- You take a length plastic (PVC) pipe and thread it through the center hole of a pool noodle- then wrap the whole thing in duct tape. There are many variations but I stuck with the easiest and fastest as I was going to make about 12 of them.
I used this generic boffer design.

The instructions above say to use 3/4 in PVC pipe, I ended up using 1/2 PVC conduit ( cost me 5.00 / 10 foot length)
If you decice to pursue this and want tp make fancier boffers- Here is list of some other good sites offereing intructions on how to make boffers:

The Art of Boffer Smithing

Make Your Own Braided Area Rug from Fabric Scraps

Wow- how cool is this! I think I may try this with a group of kids- making an area rug with fabric scraps! Remember the old fashion rugs your great grandmother had- or ones you see in a cozy cottage? Well You can make your own area rug just like it.
This site has quite a bit of information on making your own braided area rug:

Make a Braided Area Rug

This site has still more ideas- area rugs and a bath mat made from old maternity clothes:)

braided area rug

Books on Making Your Own Braided Rugs and Area Rugs:

The Braided Rug Book: Creating Your Own American Folk ArtInstructions for making your own hooked and braided rugsThe Braided Rug Book: Creating Your Own American Folk Art

How to Make Braided Rugs

Start Gimp/Boondoogle on Keychain Ring

Boondoggle Project- Key Ring


Hardest thing about starting a “plastic lacing ” ( or gimp/scoubidou/boondoggle – whatever ita called! ) project is starting it- it can be a bit intimidating.

Using diagram below- this is how your attach your boondoggle project to a key ring.

When you get length you want- use a glue gun on elmer’s type glue on the end- when it dries- snip tails off with scissors.

boodoggle key ring

Best Candle Fragrance Oils- Cajun Candle Scents

I have been making my own candles for almost 5 years now. I pretty much stick to soy container candles or pillar mold candles.
The container candles are great to have around as little hostess gifts year round and make perfect stocking stuffers or last minute gifts . I have made soy container candles several times now with groups of older kids – the wax is hot so need to supervise with younger ones. One of the MOST important ( and most expensive) factors in candle making is the fragrance oil. This is what makes the difference between a candle at the dollar store and brand names like Yankee Candle Factory. This is why I started making my own candles- I hated the scent of cheap candles and really hated the price of expensive candles.

At any rate- after lots of experiment here is a list of favourite suppliers and my recommended scents.
Favourite Fragrance Suppliers:

The Cajun Candle Factory- Best Candles Scents and Fragrance Oils

Apple Strudel – I normally don’t; go for fruit or “bake” scents but this is exceptional . A great spiced apple scent with hint of vanilla. Really nice fall scent
Banana Nut Bread – Again- I bought this on a whim because I normally don;t like “baked” any kind of scent- but this is just incredible! Anyone I have ever made it for raves about it.

Christmas Memories – OKay- this is my all time favourite scent- I could just eat it. I don;t know what they put in it- it has hint of pear with some spice- Impossible to describe but if you order this you will NOT regret it. I could burn this year round.

Christmas Tree – Best Christmas tree scent I have tried. Slightly sweet- not hint of “pine-sol” or disinfectant smell. Highly recommend. I burn this to compensate for our artificial tree :-)
Cinnamon Buns – People I make this for gaga over it.

French Vanilla – Perfect vanilla scent. I have tried others but keep coming back to this.