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Early American Tin Punch Ornaments are made here


Art, Social Studies  


3, 4, 5, 6  

Title – Early American Tin Punch Ornament
By – Paula Hrbacek
Primary Subject – Art
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies
Grade Level – 3 to 6

Media: Metal working


Introduction: The early settlers did not have glass or screen for windows. They used tin punch instead. A common use for tin punch was on the doors of a pie safe, a cupboard for storing pies and bread. The tin punch let the air circulate, to prevent mold, and also kept the flies and insects away from the food. Tin punch was also used in lanterns. The metal provided a wind break to keep the candle from blowing out, and the holes allowed for circulation, and to let the light out.

Materials: can lids, copies of pattern, masking tape, scrap wood, hammer, nails.

If you know a pet owner who uses a side-cutting can opener so that they can put the lid back on the open can, ask them to save the lids.

If you use lids that have been opened with a top-cutting opener, you will need to cover the sharp edge with tape. Florists use a type of duct tape that is ¼ inch wide, or you can cut normal cloth tape into narrow strips between ¼ to ½ inch wide. Figure out the circumference of the lid, and cut the tape to that length. Roll the can lid down the center of the tape to adhere it to the edge. Pinch the tape to fold it over the edge, and stick it to the front and back. The circumference of the inner circle will be a bit smaller, so you will need to pleat the tape evenly. Do this by pinching right and left, then up and down, dividing the distance into fourths. Then pinch between, dividing into eighths, then sixteenths, etc. until all of the tape is pressed down.

Make copies of the patterns. Cut them apart. Tape one pattern to a lid on the concave side.

Use a piece of scrap lumber for a work surface. If your tables are not sturdy, consider working on the floor, or on a picnic table outside.

Use a nail and hammer, and make a small hole at each dot on the pattern. Roofing nails have large heads that are easier for children to hit. They become dull after a while, so be sure you have extra nails on hand. Make a hole at the top, as indicted on the pattern, for a hanging loop. Attach a piece of string, or a Christmas ornament hook through this hole.

Assessment: holes are even in size, holes are evenly spaced, all the holes on the pattern have been made, hanging loop or hook is neatly attached and tied.

Paula Hrbacek is the author of I Am Living My Faith, a leader’s guide for girls earning a Catholic Religious emblem, and Stars Shine After Dark, a contemporary love story about a football star and a movie star, and how they struggle to keep love alive when his career ends, and her career takes off. Termed “sweet”, for mild love scenes, it has received four star reviews, and is “highly recommended” by romance critics. Available through B & N or , $14.95, ISBN 0-595-17387-X.

E-Mail Paula Hrbacek !

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