American Girl GOTY Lea-inspired DIY walking stick craft

Remember my post about Lea Clark, the 2016 Girl of the Year from American Girl? If so, then you understand how excited we are for her release. She is an American Girl Doll who loves photography, starts a blog, and loves nature. Lea is basically everything we were hoping for in the new Girl of the Year, and then more. Lea Clark GOTY walking sticksAs excited as I was to see that Lea has an accessory pack with a camera, I was almost as excited when I saw Lea's Rainforest Hike Accessory Set that comes complete with an adorable walking stick. I’m a huge fan of hiking with a walking stick as it makes it so much easier to navigate rough or slippery terrain, and this is especially true for kids. Lea's accessories

My husband has always been a big believer in the walking stick and always makes sure the kids have good one that they can use on our adventures to help them up trails and over slick surfaces. But, up until now, our walking sticks have just been plain old branches that were already the right shape and size.

What fun is there in that? Wouldn't hiking be even more fun if your walking stick looked as cool as Lea's?Lea Clark GOTY walking stickSo, we decided that we would celebrate Lea’s arrival with our own little Lea-inspired craft and make our own walking sticks for our adventures.

Want to make your own? Here's how:What you need walking stick craft

A found walking stick

Glue gun

Washi tape

Paint {optional}

Assorted ribbon


Fabric scraps

We started by finding the perfect branches from our walking stick stash. The perfect walking stick is a little taller than waist-high, sturdy enough to put weight on, but thin enough so it’s lightweight and able to easily fit in little hands. If your perfect stick has any rough parts or branches, you can trim them off and then use sand paper to smooth it out and make it comfortable to hold. Sanding down the walking stickOnce you have the stick chosen, the next step is finding ribbons, washi tape, and paint {if you’d like} so you can decorate it. You don’t need long pieces of ribbon since you will only be wrapping it around the diameter of the stick, so this is a great use for all those little leftovers from other projects. We had lots of ribbon dating back to our wedding and bridal shower invites from 2004, so I was happy to have a craft that could use up all the scraps and make a fun little piece that the kids could enjoy.

Measure around your stick at the widest point, overlapping about an inch so that no wood would show through. Use that measurement to cut one piece of ribbon as a guide. Your child can now use that guide to cut measure and cut numerous pieces of ribbons. Have your child lay them out in the ribbons in the pattern they would like to see on the finished walking stick to make it easy for you to help them with the gluing process.

After your ribbon pieces are cut and laid out, you are ready to start gluing. Use a small dab of glue under the ribbon edge and then continue with a thin line around the stick. Once the ribbon wraps all the way around, add another dab of glue to secure the end and then start on the next piece. Gluing ribbon on walking stickYou can also use washi tape, duct tape, or even paint in places along your walking stick, or you can leave bare wood exposed like we chose to do for a more rustic look. For the grip, simply use a long piece of ribbon or fabric and wind it around the stick tightly, securing with hot glue every few inches so that it stays in place. This will give your child a nice, comfortable place to hold while walking and hiking. Walking stick handleThat's it, your walking stick is all ready for use… just add your own adventure.

Do you have a little adventurer? Bring home Lea Clark and share her story with your little one. You will love reading about her trip to Brazil where she explores the rainforest with her family and learns to take chances and trust herself. American Girl Lea-inspired walking stick craft for kidsRemember that Lea is only going to be available throughout 2016, so if you want to bring her home, act quickly before she's gone. Checking on Lea's world on American Girl confirms that she's already very popular and some of her accessories are already backordered. This is your fair warning to buy early!Lea American Girl walking stickHave you done any Lea-inspired crafts at your house? I'd love to hear about them!

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