This is a low cost craft to help children learn a little about the culture and geography of Argentina. Long before grass fed beef was being touted in the U.S., thousands of cattle were grazing on the grassy plains of the pampas in Argentina. These prairies extend for almost 300,000 square miles. This seemingly endless, mostly flat land in a humid, temperate climate create perfect conditions for growing cow friendly grass.
From the mid 18 century to the mid 19th, Gauchos (the equivalent of our cowboys) ruled the pampas. They mustered cattle, chased down runaway livestock, and performed odd jobs for wealthy estancias (rural estates). They were nomadic peoples who wandered from estancias to estancias to find work.
Gauchos are still in Argentina today. They are skilled horsemen as in days past, but they live more settled lives often as ranch hands on estancias.
A Gaucho always wore a belt, to tuck their knife in. Like many of our western belts, they may have had a large buckle with their initials on it. This craft is perfect for introducing the Gaucho to children.
You can view the complete instructions in this presentation below.
- heavy duty foil
- hole punch
- cardboard (from a cereal box or similar)
- yarn or twine (2 four foot pieces)
- double sided tape
- packing tape (about 2 inches wide)
- craft stick and or Q-tip
Step by Step Instructions:
- Cut out a 4" by 3" oval from cardboard. Use a hole punch to put a hole on each side of the oval.
- Draw guidelines on it (see above).
- Letter your initials on it in large block letters or script. The key is that is needs to be large, leaving plenty of open space around each letter.
- Put 2 pieces of double sided tape and put them on either side of your initials
- Tear off a 3" piece of packing tape and adhere it to the double sided tape with the sticky side of the packing tape FACING UP (see picture for #2 and also below).
- Lay the jute down along the initials you drew, cutting it at the end of each line (see pictures above).
- When all the initials are outlined in jute place the square of foil over the top and wrap it around the back of the oval as pictured above.
- Using a craft stick or a Q-tip tool the foil all around the jute until the letters stand out nicely. Do this slowly and gently trying not to make any tears in the foil.
- Use a blunt pencil to push through the foil where you punched the holes in the oval.
- Fold each length of yarn in half and push one loop through each hole.
- Put the ends of the yarn through its respective loop and pull both sides tight.
- If you want to add an antiqued look to the buckle, put black or brown liquid shoe polish over the surface. Let it sit for a minute of two and then gently wipe off with a paper towel.
This idea came from the book, Around the World Art & Activities. It is no longer in print, but many libraries have it.
A "real" gaucho belt buckle: