If your kids are studying about Native American culture, making a model birch bark canoe with them is a fun and easy project that you can do together. It will help them appreciate the art of canoe making and it will also provide them with a miniature memento that they can keep. Read the steps listed below and learn about how to make a canoe.
Here's what you'll need:
- Piece of birch bark
Here's what to do:
- Go for a hike with your kids and pull off large piece of bark from a birch tree trunk.
- Soak the bark in water when you get home. The wetter the bark, the easier it is to work with and the less likely that it will tear.
- Find an online pattern for the body of the canoe [source: Native Tech].
- Cut out the template, and place it over the bark.
- Cut the pattern out of the wet bark. Cut slits as the pattern instructs. Remember to use a sharp pair of scissors so that the edges are clean and the bark doesn't tear.
- Place the rough, woody side of the bark face down. Bend the bark in half lengthwise. If the bark is getting too dry, soak it in more water.
- Pinch the ends of the canoe together and fold up the tabs that you cut to make gunwales (the upper edge of the side of the vessel).
- Stitch the sides of the gunwales, using a needle and thick thread, to ensure that the sides hold. Look at canoes online to find stitching inspiration [source: MNHS].
- Open the center of the boat gently to ensure that it will float when put in water.
- Fill up any holes or cracks in the bark with glue.