Let your arms get in on the hiking action by learning how to make your own walking stick! This fun family craft allows you to spend quality time together while leaving you with a practical tool that will help you traverse the trails more confidently! Forget about those store-bought trekking staffs or high-priced hiking poles. Make a personalized walking stick with your own bare hands using all the elements gifted to you by Mother Nature! Here’s how:
Step 1: Picking A Stick
It all starts here! The stick that you pick will be the biggest determinant of how your walking stick turns out, so don’t make your decision carelessly. Never cut a branch from a live tree. Instead, scour the ground for the perfect piece of timber. A good stick will be:
- Long (can be cut to an appropriate length)
- Thick/Stout (1-2 inches in diameter)
- Sturdy (no signs of insect infiltration or damage)
Step 2: Prepping the Wood
If you’re standing with your arms at your sides, you’ll want your stick to be about 6-8 inches above your elbow. Cut your stick to the appropriate height. Next, you’ll need to trim off any twigs on your stick before whittling away the bark. Using shallow, controlled strokes, shave off all of the bark to fully expose the wood. If you’d like a wrist loop, drill a small hole toward the top of your stick. If you have little ones making walking sticks, this step is best done by an adult.
Step 3: Patience and Time
To ensure that your stick is as durable as possible, you’ll need to give it plenty of time to dry. Seek out an arid environment and let your stick sit somewhere for two weeks to a month. Once it is cured, you can move on to the next step!
Step 4: Personalization
Now comes the fun part! You can decorate your walking stick in a endless variety of ways. Etching in your initials, carving a face, painting on an emblem, or using a wood burner to add creative touches are all great options to set your walking stick apart from the rest! You can also use wood stain to add darker hues to enhance the originality.
Step 5: Protect and Seal
In a well-ventilated area, apply multiple coats of polyurethane to seal in the wood and prevent future rotting. Allow for plenty of time to dry in between coats.
Step 6: Final Touches
If you opted for a wrist loop, thread a piece of rawhide lace, heavy-duty string, or a thick cord through the hole you’ve made at the top. Secure the loop in place with a knot. To cushion the base of your walking stick, take a one-inch diameter copper pipe and slip it snugly onto the bottom. You may need to whittle the base down a bit to get a tight fit. Secure the pipe in place with epoxy glue.
The last and final step is to hit the trails with your walking stick in hand! Now you’ll be able to conquer even the most uneven terrain with stable footing! Snap a quick picture of your new walking stick and share it with us on Facebook or Instagram! We’d love to see all those homemade walking sticks out on the trails! Happy hiking!
For more fun family crafts, create your own wind chimes to decorate your campsite or make your own reusable marshmallow roasters to enjoy endless s’mores on your next outdoor adventure!