How Mary and Laura made butter…

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One of the most popular types of butter churn historically is the plunger, which is a bowl, usually made from wood, in which the butter-making procedure is created by moving a stick inserted at the top in a vertical motion. The staff used in the churn is known as a churn, plunger staff, staff, churning stick, plunger, fatter or kirn staff.

In the first Little House book, The little house in the big forest, we read about how Laura and Mary helped Ma make homemade butter inside a churner. Here, I’ve included a wooden buttercream craft for Pioneer dolls to play with at home. Don’t forget to add a grated carrot to the butter to turn it an extra yellow!

Support list:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Natural looking strands
  • wire (optional)
  • Brown acrylic paints
  • Papier-mâché pulp (for butter inside the churn)
  • Chopping stick or dowel rod
  • white school glue
  • Hot glue and a hot glue gun (optional)
  • cardboard scrap
  • Paper towel tube or toilet paper tube

Step by step instructions:

  1. I used a tube of toilet paper for the next craft and made it more stable by layering several of these tubes together with glue. However, you can use any cardboard tube you have on hand to make doll butter and some tubes are strong enough not to stick together. If you want your churn to have proportions similar to mine, it will be 5 1/2 inches high with an opening that measures 2 inches in circumference.
  2. Attach the wooden sticks lengthwise to make the wooden slices of doll butter look original. You can do this using white school glue and then temporarily wrapping the chopsticks with masking tape to hold the wooden sticks in place dry white. Then you can remove the tape later. Alternatively, you may prefer to hot-glue the sticks in place so your project can be done quickly.
  3. I also wrapped the churn with extra thin pieces of cardboard around the craft sticks and painted them to look like metal strips.
  4. Don’t forget to line the bottom of the churn with a circular piece of cardboard and glue. Simply trace the fake churn with a pencil on top of the cardboard to get the exact shape of the hole before cutting the bottom. Attach it with glue.
  5. You can see from the pictures that I cut the dowel rod to act as the whisk. If you are teaching this craft to a larger group of children, chopsticks are better alternatives because they can be recycled already cut.
  6. The dowel fits through the faux wood lid. This was cut out of cardboard to fit the inner circumference of the tube. It doesn’t fall in at an awkward slant because I took a strong narrow strip of cardboard and tied it about 1/2 inch from the lip of the tube opening. Do this with glue and tape. You can see this slightly raised edge in the center image below.
  7. You will also need to cut a hole in the lid for the whisk stick to go through. This is an unnecessary detail when teaching youngsters in a crowd. In the end, they will probably lose detail pieces like this during play and the churn is a nice craft without all the extra detail anyway.
  8. I chose to make more changes to the surface of this butter game with more painting on the outside. If you have woodblock printing paper, it can also be used to decorate the game.
  9. Place lumps of smeared papier-mâché on the inside surface of the tube and paint that surface yellow in order to form a churn with the included processed butter. If you do this, don’t stick the “stirrer” to the end of the whisk or “dash” stick. Because the pulp will inevitably be chopped away by active fantasies. I chose to include the details of the butter because our doll butter is displayed in the dollhouse. But it would be more effective to leave out these details when the kids want to play with them instead.

On the left you can see the toy buttercream finished without further drawing and it looks very nice

At this stage. Some of you may choose not to proceed with the surface change.

Centered here, I’m showing the inside of a dollop’s buttercream. You can see a freehand

edge only inside the tube. This was made to prevent the cap from sinking in

down the tube as kids imitate the flapping action, pumping up a dash of momentum

and down To make butter, of course. Right, the bottom of the stick is made of cardboard.

Left, dash or wavy stick balanced on the edge of the wavy before painting.
A papier-mâché pulp was used in the center to add faux buttercream to the inner lining.
Well our dash does not have an agitator on the bottom so the stick stays put
Move up and down while playing.

Dairy Day Butter Made From Littleton Museum…

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