Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Junior Girl Scouts badge: Jeweler

Step 1:  Get to know the tools of the trade.  Visiting a jewelry store is listed as a suggested activity.  Since we had already scheduled an Auntie Anne's field trip at the mall to satisfy a step for the Juniors Simple Meals badge, I contacted Osterman Jewelers to see if one of their associates would be willing to talk with our troop.  They were excited to help.  The girls learned about the 4 C's of diamonds:  color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.  They were permitted to look in a light-directing viewer to see hearts and arrows in a diamond.  They were also shown a tool that allows jewelers to test a diamond's authenticity.  Our girls enjoyed looking at the birthstone jewelry the most.  Mid-January proved to be the perfect time of year to schedule this field trip.  Mall traffic was low, and we were all suffering from a little cabin fever.  

Step 2:  Make jewelry with metal.  Our girls made metal washer necklaces.  You can read about that experience here.   

Step 3:  Turn everyday objects into jewelry.  One of the choices listed to satisfy this badge step is to make a bracelet by forming beads out of clay.  I purchased a package of oven-bake clay from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.  Our Brownies were working with a co-leader on the Pets badge during this particular meeting, so I knew we would only have six girls making beads.  Prior to the meeting, I cut the clay into six equal pieces and packaged them in baggies for each girl.  

The girls were instructed to make beads for a bracelet.  We told them to be as creative as they could be, and we gave them the majority of the meeting time to work on the beads.  We allowed 30 minutes for baking and cooling the beads.  (The directions on the package suggest baking the beads in the oven at 275 degrees for 15 minutes per 1/4" thickness of clay).  We had various materials available for the girls to use to thread their beads (ribbon, yarn, parachute cord, elastic cord, fishing line, and hemp cord).  These supplies were left over from previous projects, so we did not have to purchase them specifically for this project.   We were impressed with the beads the girls made, that's for sure!

Step 4:  Create jewelry inspired by another culture.  To complete this step, we chose to make macrame bracelets.  At the same time, the Brownies would satisfy Step 5 Enjoy Girl Scout Traditions (Girl Scout Way Badge).  Read our suggestions for this project here.  

Step 5:  Make a sparkling gift.  When all was said and done, we spent a portion of five different meetings making jewelry for the first four steps for this badge.  When the plan for the year was being developed, I had every intention of teaching the girls to make friendship bracelets using embroidery floss.  (I realize these bracelets would not be sparkling).  I now see we are not going to have time to fit this project in this year.  As I considered the alternatives, I focused on the word gift here.  To be honest, this is an occasion when I decided to stretch the badge requirements a bit to meet our needs.  Any of the jewelry made to satisfy the other four badge steps could be given to friends and family members as a gift.  Our troop will not be making an additional piece of jewelry specifically to give to someone special.

Our girls truly enjoyed earning this badge.  These projects are great for a cold or rainy day when you are stuck inside with family and friends.  I hope you are inspired to make some jewelry of your own.  Have fun!  Thank you for reading!

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