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Last Updated: 06/04/03


Make a Coonskin Cap
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Compiled by Daniel R. Mott: Roundtable Staff District 23, West Jordan, Utah

Buckskin Pioneers - Some of the projects here can be done using either paper or cloth. Cloth is of course the more durable of the two. If cloth is to be used, the best thing to do is to sew the seams, which will allow the project to last longer. However, since these projects are designed for den and pack activities, it is best to go the paper route for two reasons, one: to have more involvement from the boys in making the projects, two: the purpose for these projects is more of a temporary nature for the boys to have fun at the den or pack meeting itself. These ideas are based on a book by Peggy Parish called "Let's Be Early Settlers with Daniel Boone".

- Daniel R. Mott Assistant District Commissioner District 23

Coonskin Cap

1) Cut a strip of lightweight cardboard long enough to go around your head with two inches left over.

2) Fit the band around your head, then staple or tape the ends in place.

3) Place this cardboard band on a piece of cloth, brown paper sack, or butcher paper and draw a circle that is slightly larger then the cardboard band. Cut this out.

4) Spread glue around one edge of the cardboard band.

5) Lay the cloth or paper circle flat and place the cardboard band, with the glued side down, in the center. Pull the edge of the cloth over the cardboard and press it onto the glue (for the paper circle, cuts will have to be made at intervals along the circle in order for the paper to fit without crinkling). This makes the frame for the hat.

6) Cut the coonskin tail the size and shape you want it from a piece of cloth or paper. Glue the tail into place at the lower edge of the cardboard band. Let the glue dry.

7) Spread glue over the frame and cover it with cotton. Then do the same for the tail and let dry.

8) Paint over the cotton. Be sure to paint stripes on the tail.


1) To make the barrel of the rifle, open two sheets of paper to their full size. Starting from a long side, roll the papers into a tight tube. Tape the edges in place.

2) For the handle, cut two pieces of cardboard twelve inches long and three inches wide. Shape the cardboard to look like a rifle stock as shown in the drawing at the right. Glue a piece of cardboard on each side of the barrel, starting about six inches from one end and let the glue dry.

3) Crumple up newspaper and stuff into the empty places between the cardboard and the gun barrel.

4) Cut or tear newspaper into strips and dip the strips one at a time into a flour paste, smoothing them onto the rifle. Continue this process until the entire rifle is covered with several layers of strips; then let the paste dry.

5) To make a trigger, cut a pipe cleaner in half. Fold this piece in half again and stick it into the handle of the rifle; gluing it into place.

6) Bend another pipe cleaner into a curved shape to make the trigger guard. Stick this into the handle around the trigger; gluing it into place.

7) Paint the rifle as you desire.

Shot Pouch

1) The shot pouch can be made out of leather or paper. When using leather it is best to have a soft thin flexible leather or to use suede.

2) To make a pattern, cut a piece of newspaper fourteen inches wide and nine inches deep. Round off the corners on one end into a "u" shape.

3) Lay the pattern on either a piece of leather or a brown paper bag and draw around the pattern with a pencil.

4) Remove the pattern and cut along the lines.

5) On another section or piece of leather or paper lay the straight edge of the pattern four inches below the edge of the paper or leather (this extra section will make the flap for the pouch. Remove the pattern and cut along the lines.

6) Match the two pieces together, making them fit at the rounded edges. for the paper shot pouch glue the edges together and fold the flap over. For the leather shot pouch a series of holes along the edge of the pouch and thread lacing through the holes.

7) Decorate the pouch with paint.

8) For the leather pouch, punch a hole on either side of the top of the pouch to put a strip of leather braided or not, as desired, through the holes and long enough to reach the shoulder and across to the opposite waist. For the paper pouch glue a piece of string to either side of the pouch which is also long enough to hang over the shoulder to the waist.

Powder Horn

1) Cut a sheet of newspaper in half the long way. Then fold it in half the same way. Starting with a corner on the folded edge, roll the paper into a cone shape. Tape the edges in place.

2) Trim the top evenly all the way around and tape all loose edges.

3) Stuff the horn with newspaper do it will keep its shape.

4) Mix flour and water together to form a thin paste. Cut or tear some newspaper into thin strips. Dip each strip into the flour paste and smooth onto the horn. Continue doing this until the horn is covered with several layers of strips. Curve the point of the horn using paste strips. After the paste has dried remove the newspaper stuffing.

5) Cut a circle of cardboard large enough to cover the open end of the horn. Tape the cover to the horn both on the inside and the outside on one side only, so you can open and close it.

6) Cut a piece of string long enough so that the horn will hang at the boy's waist. Glue one end of the string to each end of the horn. paint the horn and let dry.

Hunting Knife

1) On apiece of cardboard draw a the outline of knife blade at the size you would like it to be.

2) Draw a line across the straight end of the blade where you want the handle to end.

3) Cut or tear the newspaper into strips. Mix flour paste. Dip each strip into the paste and smooth it onto the knife. Continue doing this until the knife is covered with several layers of paper strips. Let the paste dry and paint the knife.


1) Either cloth or cardboard can be used to make the sheath. Lay the knife on a piece of cardboard so that the handle is partly above the top of the cardboard (if using cloth fold the cloth in half and lay the knife partly above the fold).

2) Draw a line about a half an inch from the blade all the way around. Remove the knife and cut along the lines. Cut out another one using the first as a pattern.

3) Put the two pieces together. In the case of the cardboard version bend the edges down, gluing and taping with plastic tape the edges together (bending the edges gives room for the knife to slide into the sheath. For the cloth version, glue and tape, with plastic or vinyl tape, the edges together.

4) Cut a strip of cloth one wide and six inches long. Cut a horizontal slit one inch wide near the top of the sheath, place the strip through the slit and tape or sew the strip together.

5) Paint the sheath and let dry.

6) The sheath may worn on the belt or tied on to a strip of cloth long enough to go around your waist.

Splint Broom

It was the man or boy's job to do the whittling when a woman needed a new broom.

1) Open three sheets of newspaper to their full size. Staring from a long side, roll the papers into a tube to make the broom handle.

2) Cut the bottoms from three large paper sacks. Split the bags so they lie flat. Draw a line across the bags about two inches from the top.

3) Going from the bottom edge to the line, cut the bag into narrow slits; cutting all three bags at once if you wish.

4) Wrap the bags around one end of the handle, with the strips pointing towards the other end. Tape the bags into place.

5) Turn the handle so that the strips flip down and over the end of the handle. Pull the strips together and tie them with a string or some yarn to hold them in place.


1) On a piece of cardboard draw a paddle shape as shown in the drawing at the right.

2) Cut a piece of white paper the same size as the wide part of the paddle.

3) Write the alphabet in capital and small letters on the white paper. Place the alphabet sheet on the paddle.

4) Tear off a piece of plastic wrap a little larger than the paper. Place the plastic wrap over the alphabet sheet. Fold the edges to the back of the paddle and tape them in place.

Quill Pen

1) Cut the tip from a quill (turkey feathers work best).

2) Split through the middle of the shaft for about a half an inch. Cut away one side of the split part.

3) Sharpen the remaining side into a point.

4) Dip the point of the quill into some ink. Shake off the excess ink. Do not press down too hard when writing or the pen will become quickly dull.


Early settlers ate their food from wooden trenchers; a wooden slab of wood that had been hollowed out.

1) Make enough salt clay for each boy to be able to model a rectangular slab approximately 4 inches long by 2 inches wide and an inch deep. With their fingers the boys need to form the salt dough into a rectangular slab of the above dimensions; upon which the boy presses in the center to hollow out the center to make it rounded.

2) Shape another bit of salt dough into a spoon.

3) Let the clay dry and paint the trencher and spoon.

Making Dyes

These colors may not be as bright as you are used to, but it will give the boy an experience in how it was done. Be sure the cub is wearing an old long sleeved shirt, smock, etc. over his uniform.

Yellow Collect the dry outside skins of onions. Pour hot water over them and let them soak overnight. Strain off the liquid and throw away the skins.

Purple Bottled un-sweetened grape juice makes a nice shade of purple.

Red Beets make a light shade of red. Grate or grind raw beets. Put the pulp in a piece of cloth and squeeze out the cloth.

Green A light shade of green can be obtained by grinding fresh spinach or green grass in a food grinder. After grinding put the pulp in a piece of cloth and squeeze out the juice.

Brown Black walnut hulls (not the shell) make a dark brown. Pound the hulls off the nuts and put them in a pan. Pour hot tap water over the hulls and let them soak overnight. Strain off the liquid and throw away the hulls.


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