The last weeks of Summer break are coming to a close. Around this time, children are often getting a bit prickly from being home more often, in closer quarters with siblings, and often with more free time to fill. All of us at Bella Luna Toys fully believe in children's ability to solve their own "boredom" when given the chance. Often, boredom is what leads to an explosion in imaginative play. That being said, there is often a time and place for fun activities like crafts and handwork that require more focused attention (and keep those hands, heads and hearts busy for awhile.) The end of summer break is certainly a good one of these times, and we have plenty of fun crafts to try!
Today we want to share about our Soapstone Jewelry Carving Kits. We carry three different variations of these kits in varied, beautiful designs. Each comes with a solid chunk of soapstone in a general shape that children then use sandpaper to carve down, round out, and decorate to become a pendant for a necklace. The soapstone takes a bit of elbow grease and time to sand down, but is perfect for children ages 6 and up who are more comfortable putting time into projects without becoming frustrated.
Gather Your Supplies:
The soapstone kits come with almost everything you need, including the stone, different textures of sandpaper, a bit of wax, and rope for the necklace. You will also need:
- A small bowl of water
- Fork/Line Carving instrument
- A hairdryer
Carve Your Pendant:
To smooth out the edges of the soapstone pendant, we will rub the sandpaper against the corners and points. These kits come with three pieces of sandpaper, each a different level of roughness for different variations and levels of smoothing. Dip the sheet of sandpaper you'd like to use in the water until it is saturated. Then begin to sand the edges of the stone. Each stone begins with hard corners, when you begin to rub the sandpaper against it, you'll see powder coming off where it's smoothing the surface.
After some time sanding, you'll notice the stone becoming shaped and rounded. Keep sanding until you reach the shape you desire for your pendant. It's recommended to sand it down until the edges are completely rounded, rather than simply rounding the corners.
Once you (or more accurately, your child) is happy with the shape of the pendant, it's time to carve the leaf veins into it. Not all of our Soapstone Pendant Kits come with stones that require this step, but you could always decorate them if you'd prefer to add something a little extra. Use your fork to carve lines to look like the veins running through the leaf. You may need to help younger children to cut the lines a bit deeper to show up. It does take a decent amount of pressure. Rinse the stone under running water to wash off all of the carved away loose soapstone powder.
Now that the soapstone is carved, it's time to warm it up and seal it. Use a hairdryer on the highest heat setting to warm the stone. Hold the dryer over the stone for roughly 5 minutes. Once it feels warm on all sides, rub the piece of wax on the stone. The stone should be warm enough for the wax to melt into the surface. As it melts the soapstone will darken and gain a hint of shine. Coat the entire pendant with wax.
Let the soapstone pendant cool down until it is cool to the touch, about 10-15 minutes. Use the included soft piece of fabric to shine the pendant and smooth any lumps of wax. All that is left now are the finishing touches! Fold the included cord in half and push the folded end through the hole carved through the pendant. Pull the loose ends of cord through the hole created and pull it tightly into a knot. You can then simply tie it around your child's neck or use jewelry clamps and wire to create a more stable closure.
Now, your child has a necklace they can proudly say they carved themselves. These types of crafts not only provide moments of focused activity and persistence, but they give children a sense of pride in creating something with their own hands. With back to school time right around the corner, a Soapstone Jewelry Carving Kit would make a sweet gift, both the kit itself and the time you spend working on it together. They can use the pendant they carve like a worry stone if they get nervous on their first day in a new grade, or make new friends by telling them how they carved it themselves. Wearing something made with their own hands provides an extra boost of confidence!
We have three Soapstone Jewelry Carving Kits as well as several other Soapstone Figure Carving Kits featuring different animals. The jewelry kits are more simple shapes with less details so they work well as introductions to carving.