Weather flags, barometers, bulletin boards, cloud charts, and windvanes are projects that can be carried out in establishing and maintaining a weather station. (See Group Fun and The Weather Handbook.) Windvanes of wood or metal are also good craft projects for decorative use on camp buildings. They use tools and techniques as described in Chapters VI and X.

Weather Station EquipmentWeather Flags


Equipment needed: tools (see Chap. VI or X); drill and bit; wood glue or plastic wood.

Materials needed: wood-1//2" pine or plywood, or something similar; metal-10 or 12 gauge copper, or 2 pieces of lighter gauge, riveted or soldered together; 1/4" wood dowels, or hollow tube; rod or spike; two 9" x 1" sticks or dowels, or one 18"; post; washer.

Steps For A Wooden Vane

1. Make a design: in general, plan a design that will catch the wind, such as a boat, fish, or scene. Be sure it has a definite pointer (Fig. XV-7). Make on paper first.

2. Cut design from wood with coping saw.

3. Find center point by balancing vane across a dowel stick.

4. Bore 3/16" hole just in front of this spot, to within 1" of top of vane (Fig. XV-7 a).

5. Insert a 1/8" rod or 1/8" spike with head cut off into hole.

6. Finish by sanding, painting, or varnishing, as desired.

7. Bore hole in post and insert rod in post (Fig. XV-8), with washer.

8. Put vane on post, adjusting so it will swing easily on post.

For a metal vane, follow same general steps of design, cutting out with jeweler's saw (Fig. XV-7 b). At step 3, find balancing center point, and cut out a strip or slot in the vane (Fig. XV-9) 3/16" or 1/4" wide, half way into design. Insert a hollow tube the same length as the slot, and solder in place in slot, on line a and b (Fig. XV-9). This is to hold the rod in the post for swinging. Bore hole in post, and insert 1/8" rod. Put washer over rod, and insert rod into soldered tube in vane, to swing freely (Fig. XV-10).

Steps For Markers

Markers for North, East, South, and West may be cut from 1/2" wood or from metal (Fig. XV-10).

1. Make an extra foot on each letter, for attaching to dowel (Fig. XV-11).

2. Cut stick or dowel in half, making two 9" pieces.

3. In both ends of stick, cut slot wide enough to take the foot of the letters (Fig. XV-11). Sand wooden letters and slots.

4. Drill 1" holes through post, and place sticks in place at right angles to each other, using wood glue or plastic wood to secure (Fig. XV-10).

5. Glue letters in place on ends of sticks (Fig. XV-10).

6. Place post so that the markers are fixed with points of compass.

7. Finish as desired.

Dyeing With Natural Dyes

Many lovely colors may be obtained for craft articles by using dyes from natural materials. Discovering these colors holds great fascination for campers. The colors from natural dyes are not as brilliant as those of chemical dyes, but they are as soft and lovely as any piece of homespun. Basket material, costume material, camp unit ties, or bandanas are some of the possibilities for dyeing with natural dyes. This craft makes use of local plants; Natural History Museums and State Resource Libraries will have information about such resources in specific localities.

To make the dye, berries, bark, vegetable juices, seeds, roots, and blossoms are crushed or broken into bits; after soaking overnight they are brought to a boil, then simmered for an hour or more. The color of the dye bath should be more intense than the desired finish shade, as it is concentrated at this stage.

Natural dyes do not hold their color unless the material is treated with a mordant that helps to fix or charge the color, impregnating the fibers. For wool or silk (animal fibers) the mordant is made of water and alum (one ounce of alum to a gallon of water) plus one-fourth ounce cream of tartar. For cotton, linen, or rayon (vegetable fibers) one-fourth ounce of plain washing soda should be added to the alum and water. The material should be boiled in the mordant bath for one hour, rinsed well, and then immersed in the dye bath.

The container for the dye bath should be enamel or copper ware, and should be large enough to hold the material without crowding. In general, materials should be simmered in the bath for one-half hour to one hour, or until desired shade is obtained (shade will be darker when wet). Add salt or vinegar to the dye bath, and simmer for ten minutes or so.

Remove material from dye bath, rinse well, and dry in shade.

In Arts and Crafts with Inexpensive Materials, a full list of natural materials and the colors they produce is given. Home Dyeing with Natural Dyes and The Use of Vegetable Dyes for Beginners are two other books to help with dyeing with natural dyes.

Dioramas And Habitat Boxes

These are miniature scenes in three dimensions. Sometimes they are used as centerpieces, sometimes as arrangements for a flower show, sometimes as exhibits to show habitats of animals that live in camp, sometimes as part of relief maps (see Chap. XX). One type is constructed to be viewed from all four sides, while another has a background on three sides and is viewed from the front and top.

Equipment needed: scissors and knife; stapler and staples; string and thread; glue or household cement; poster paints and brush.

Materials needed: mosses, grasses, small plants, twigs, etc.; mirror or cellophane; colored paper; cardboard or carton; sand or dirt, papier-mache or plaster of paris; cloth or canvas; plasticene.

Dioramas And Habitat Boxes

Steps For Centerpiece (Viewed On All Sides)

1. Make a plan on paper, deciding on content, size, and arrangement in general; 12" x 18" or 18" x 24" are good starting sizes (Figs. XV-12 and 13). Gather together materials to make the diorama.

2. If "water" is to be included, place mirror or blue cellophane or blue paper covered with clear cellophane on base.

3. Build up land with sand, dirt, pebbles, or one of the materials described in Chapter XX (Map Making), to reproduce the topography of the spot.

4. Place twigs for trees, small plants and grasses for bushes, moss for grass (Fig. XV-12).

5. Make buildings, tents, boats, etc., from colored paper or thin cardboard painted or colored with crayons, or from bits of cloth (see Chap. XVII).

6. For a camp scene, make tiny lashings of twigs for construction, boats and canoes from paper or bark (see Chap. XVII).

7. Model animals from plasticene (see Chap. IV).

Steps for Diorama with Background (viewed from front)

1. Make a plan on paper, as above (Fig. XV-13), planning the piece to fit cardboard carton (Fig. XV-14) or similar container. For rounded container (Fig. XV-15), use thin cardboard secured in position with staples and with strips 1" wide across front.

2. Paint the back and sides on inside with poster paint to suggest sky, skyline, mountains, etc. Paint outside as desired.

3. Assemble as above.

(See Nature Program Guide and The Book of Nature Hobbies.)