Friday, January 16, 2009

The March of the Toy Soldiers


Our big project this week has been making a set of toy soldiers.

Since we've been learning about the Revolution, Blaze has been talking a lot about the "Red Coats" coming, and I thought he'd like to have some Revolutionary War toy soldiers to play with. I had hoped to find some at Colonial Williamsburg, but had no luck. I couldn't even find any on-line (I'm picky and wanted wood. I also wanted them to be taller than one inch), so we are making our own.
If you would like to try this project, this is how we are doing it (they aren't all done yet).



One package of "Doll Pins", clothes pins sold at the craft store for the purpose of making dolls (the regular clothes pins we had were too thin for the bases)

One package of Doll Pin Stands, sold next to the doll pins at the craft store

Non-Toxic acrylic paint in dark blue, red, white, and black

Two 3/16-inch dowels cut into 1 1/2- inch pieces (I was able to do that with a pair of scissors)

strong, clear-drying glue

small paint brushes

black wool felt and black 1-inch pom poms for the hats

black permanent marker, for the faces

1. Glue the clothes pin into the wooden base, so it can stand up on its own.

2. Using the white paint, paint around the clothes pin, from the bottom of the "neck" to half-way down the "legs". This will be the shirt and pants.Let the paint dry before proceeding to step 3.


3. Using the black paint, cover the base and half-way up the "leg", until the black touches the white paint, leaving no bare wood showing on the "legs". This will be the boots. I painted the boots a little taller on the half of the clothes pins that will be British soldiers and made them more rounded at the top.


4. Paint on the jackets.

In our set there will be 10 British soldiers with red jackets and 10 American soldiers with blue jackets.


I painted the jackets on straight across the back first and then went back and added the points on each side of the back to make the "shallow tails" that were the fashion at the time.


5. Add any decorative touches to the uniforms.
We added lapels of contrasting color and white buttons to some. Others got crossed white straps.

6. For the arms, sand any rough pieces off the ends of the 1 1/2 inch dowel pieces and paint two for each soldier, leaving the tip you are holding bare. The unpainted tip will be the hand. After the arm is dry, glue it to the body and let it dry over night.



7. The hats can be a variety of shapes. The easiest for the British soldiers is just a 1-inch black pom pom glued to the top of the head. The tri-corner hat is a small triangle of black felt. The other hats are made with a small circle of felt that is folded over and glued together.



8. Draw eyes and mouth with a permanent marker.

Ready to march:



Dawn said...

These are so cute!

Brittney said...

What a fantastically, creative idea! We are studying the Rev. War this coming year and I know my boys are going to love this project! thanks so much for posting it!

Anonymous said...

I found your idea on Crafty Crow and my 6 yr old son and are an having fun working on the project together. It's a great way to get him interested in July 4th.

Crafty Crow