Latest news, food, business, travel, sport, Tips and Tricks...

King Powhatan's Wampum Bookmark

King Powhatan's Wampum Bookmark

Total Time 30 minutes or less Ages school-age

Inspired by the movie Pocahontas:

In the days of King Powhatan, eastern American Indians used quahog shells to make small cylindrical beads called wampum. These creamy white and purple beads were much more than jewelry -- they served as money and were strung into elaborate belts featuring designs that told a story or identified family ties. Here's a fun stamping technique that lets you turn paper and paint into a customized wampum bookmark for Dad.

by Cindy Littlefield

What you'll need

  • Craft knife
  • Pencil with a cap-style eraser
  • Craft paints (white and purple)
  • Paper plate or plastic lid
  • 7- by 2-inch piece purple scrapbook paper
  • Ruler
  • Scrap paper
  • White cardstock
  • Glue stick

How to make it

Step 1

1. First, create a rubber wampum stamp by cutting the tip off of the cap-style pencil eraser, as shown. Then pour some paint onto the paper plate or plastic lid.

2. Place the purple scrapbook paper down on a flat surface with the short ends at the top and the bottom, and use the pencil and ruler to draw a light line down the center. This will serve as a guide for lining up the letters you'll be stamping. Later, when the paint is dry, you can erase the line.

3. Dip the cut surface of the eraser into the white paint and show your child how to use it to stamp rows of "wampum beads." Then he can use the technique to stamp the letters DAD on the purple paper. Wash the paint off of the eraser.

4. When the letters have dried, place the purple paper on top of a piece of white cardstock and trace around it. Remove the purple paper. Use the eraser to stamp a border of purple wampum along the perimeter of the trace line on the cardstock. Let the paint dry.

5. Trim the cardstock around the purple wampum border. Then glue the purple paper to the cardstock, centering it inside the border. (Trim the edges of the purple paper a bit, if needed, to make it fit.)