Thursday, July 31, 2014

George Washington, and making powdered wigs

George Washington is one of my favorite people, and there are lots of good books about him. I loved getting the chance to learn even more about his life during this unit.

The children liked this story too.

And here is my favorite story of all about the Founding Fathers—the prophet Wilford Woodruff's vision of them in the St. George temple. There are claims that this story is untrue, but this link gives a bit of explanation and historical background, and supports the story's fundamental accuracy, in my opinion. 
We really wanted to make powdered wigs during this unit, as how can you be a good Revolutionary War Leader without one? I found a bunch of online tutorials for making powdered wigs with a painter's hat as the base, but I didn't want to buy hats for everyone. (I also don't quite like the silhouette of the painter's hat "wig." The ponytail part doesn't look right to me.) Then I found this tutorial for making a wig out of a paper bag. That seemed like a good idea, but all the paper bags we had around weren't right—lunch bags were too small and grocery sacks were too big! So I ended up just using the same idea on butcher paper, which means you have to tape and cut in a few places in order to get the right shape. I will post my template here—for a wig Daisy's size (small 5-year-old), you can just print out these two pages on regular 8 1/2 x 11 paper (make them fill the whole paper) and it will be around the right size.

If you wanted to make a bigger wig, you could enlarge the templates or just trace around them bigger on butcher paper.

It probably looks more complicated than it is, and maybe the whole painter's hat thing is going to be better for most people anyway, but on the off-chance there are people like me who hate having to go to the store for any supplies and will spend 50x the effort trying to rig something together themselves to avoid it—well, these templates will save you a little work. 
Once you have the base of the wig cut and taped together, the gluing part is easy and fun. You have to have a million cotton balls if you're doing wigs for 4 kids like we were, but luckily we keep a million cotton balls on hand around here. :) Gluing and placing the fwuffballs—I mean cotton balls—is a satisfying task. Even little Daisy enjoyed it. You just cover every square inch of the base with cotton balls, tie a ribbon around the the ponytail, and voila! A lovely powdered wig.
There's a bit of a hump at the back of the head, but we don't mind it. :)
I thought the wigs looked particularly nice with the tricorne hats we made!

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