Balsa trees are a fast-growing plant that acts as a "nurse tree" in the humid rainforests of Central and South America. This means that because of its fast growth and large leaves, it protects other plants from dangerous sun rays. Balsa is also useful to humans. A popular wood type for kids' crafting, balsa is often used due to its lightweight quality and low price. Balsa can be purchased in most craft and hardware stores for a low price. Because balsa is easy to cut, it is ideal for children's crafts.
Purchase various forms of balsa wood. Balsa can be purchased in sticks, sheets or blocks for carving. Typically, balsa is sold without finish, but sheets and blocks can be purchased in craft stores pre-painted.
Draw a design or shape onto balsa sheets, using a ruler to create straight edges. Make sure the designs are relatively simple. Cut out the design using a craft razor for flat shapes that can be glued to surfaces.
Use a balsa sheet as the base for building. Then, have the child glue balsa sticks and sheets together to create a house, skyscraper or other object. Balsa is so light, a standard craft glue can be used. For heavier balsa sticks, hot glue can be used. Glue flat shapes to the surface for extra accents. Let dry.
Paint the finished object using kid-friendly paint.
- Use caution when using craft razors and knives. Do not let the child perform this part of the design process.
- Keep children away from hot glue and hot glue guns, as it can burn the skin.