a Letter Home
suggested grade levels: K- 6
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson
|heavy cotton or linen paper, or construction paper||colored wax candle||newspaper||saucepan|
|feather quill (available at a craft shop)||small jelly jar||paper clip||stove|
|cotton cloth for blotting||walnut shells||vinegar||salt|
1. Mash the walnut shells and place them in a saucepan with water. Have an adult help you boil them down slowly on the stove until the water is dark brown. Strain out the shells, then add a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of vinegar to the boiling ink (this will set the color). Turn of the stove and let the ink cool completely. When it is cool pour a small amount in the jelly jar.
2. Cover you work area with newspaper. Dip the quill into the ink in the jar and use it to write your letter on the paper. Use the cloth to wipe up drips and spills. It will take a little practice t get used to writing this way. TIP: you may want to wear rubber gloves, or your fingers will be stained with the walnut.
3. When you are done allow the ink on your letter to dry completely. There were no envelopes then, so the paper was folded to make one. Use the picture as a guide, and fold your letter into a pioneer envelope.
4. These envelopes were sealed with melted wax from a candle ("sealing wax"). Sometimes a family had a special seal that they pressed into the wax to personalize their mail. Broken seals indicated that someone had read your mail! Use a paper clip and shape it into your own unique seal design. Then ask an adult to help you light a candle a drip melted wax to seal your letter. When the wax is almost dry press your seal into it.
5. Now address your letter and it is ready to send!
Geography: Geography Topics