Handicrafts- Appropriate and Essential for High School?

Leathercraft - tag and coin purse

Handicrafts in high school take on new significance as your teens explore areas of interest. My boys have long been fans of working with their hands and I am sure it comes from watching their father in his workshop. The shop is a place where their dad invents and explores and he has always allowed the children a place to have their own projects.

As your children grow, you can allow more freedom to take a project and personalize it. Don’t limit your definition of handicrafts to things like sewing and knitting. Find projects that give your child skills they can apply as they grow into adults.

Here is an example from our family.

Leathercraft book illustrations
We started a few years ago to work with leather and leathercrafting tools. I purchased a kit to get us started (linked below on Amazon.com), found an old book on Applied Leathercraft (linked below on Amazon.com), and then we used the internet for ideas. What I love about this handicraft is that it is highly practical but still has an element of artistic flair that can be added by embellishing the leather with patterns and designs. My boys loved the physicality of the projects.

Leathercraft stamp
Hammering the stamped designs is hard work and takes patience and practice. I let them use scrap leather to learn with before starting on the actual projects in the kits. (You can purchase scrap leather at most craft or fabric stores.)

Leathercraft instructions
The instructions that come with the kits are very well done and you will feel confident about these projects even if you have never done this sort of work before.

Here are the kits we purchased.

Here is the book we used to learn the history of leathercrafting and then the step by step tutorials for making projects in addition to the ones in the kits.

Metal horseshoe belt buckle
As an off-shoot from working with leather and Mr. A’s interest in making his own belts, he designed and made several belt buckles while working in his welding and metal fabrication class. Here is one that is not very practical but he really likes it.

Metal work - Cowboy with Horseshoes
His did a series of projects with horseshoes after the belt buckle.

I am really glad that I found Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods before we hit high school when I might have been tempted to pass up the opportunity for handicrafts with my boys. Looking back on the past few years I see how allowing time for these sorts of activities and calling it school has given them time to explore things and build on skills learned to make personalized, practical projects.

I encourage other CM families to give handicrafts a place in high school. 

Lists of project ideas from the Applied Leathercraft book
Leathercraft list 1

Leathercraft list 2

I don’t know what a “toilet-set case” is…probably don’t want to know.

This post will be a part of the up-coming Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival on handicrafts.

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