Make A Stone Age Axe - Craft Activity for Kids
Updated: May 4
We tend to think that crafting a real Stone Age Axe would be easy, after all, finding a big rock and attaching it to a big stick should be a piece of cake, right? Erm, not so much.
First you'll have to sharpen a rock using a multitude of smaller rocks to chisel little bits off it. Then a sturdy enough stick must be found to be the haft (the handle) of your axe. A smooth groove then needs to be carved into the haft before the axe head can be affixed by sticking tar and moss into the hole and then wrapping cordage (rope made from nettle stems) around the head to tie it in place.
You'll then have to hope you've done a good job as it's literally a case of life and death. Bopping a Sabre Toothed Tiger over the head, only for the axe head to fall off mid swing, will result in your knees getting bitten off in an instant.
If that all sounds too stressful, and you'd rather keep your knees attached to you, why not build our Arts and Crafts Stone Age Axe instead? It's the perfect challenge for a kid or adult and it will look awesome. Just don't try to hit a Sabre Toothed Tiger on the head with it.
That will end badly.
You Will Need:
White Kitchen Roll (or White Paper)
PVA Glue - We used Craft Planet PVA Glue
Acrylic Paint in Natural Colours (Brown, Green, Grey, etc) - We used Daler-Rowney 12 Colour Acrylic Paint Set
Twine or Wool (Green or Brown) - We used Draper Garden Twine
Scissors (Please get an adult to help when using scissors)
Step 1: Cut Out Your Axe Base
Use scissors to cut out 2 long strips of cardboard approximately 3cm wide and 35-40cm long. This will be the base for your axe haft (handle). (We cut out 4 strips for the haft then glued them together in twos because our cardboard wasn’t very thick. If you have thick cardboard, 2 strips will be sufficient).
Cut 2 rough oval shapes out of cardboard to form the base for the axe head. Our axe head bases were approximately 17cm long by 8cm wide. We created the look of a “blade” or cutting edge on our axe head by making one side a little wider (the blade) than the other.
Step 2: Shape Your Axe Pieces
Take 3 sheets of newspaper and roughly roll them up lengthways. Glue this to one side of one of your cardboard haft strips.
Do the same for the other cardboard haft strip.
Scrunch up newspaper and glue onto one side of one of your cardboard axe head pieces.
Do the same for the other cardboard axe head piece.
Step 3: Papier Mache Your Axe Pieces
Cut rough strips of newspaper
Mix water and PVA glue in a bowl (2 parts glue to 1 part water)
Dip the newspaper in the water/glue mixture to coat. Scrape off any excess with your fingers or on the side of the bowl.
Apply the wet strip of newspaper to one of your axe pieces and smooth down.
Repeat this process until all of your axe pieces are covered in newspaper & water/glue mixture.
Leave to dry overnight.
Step 4: Stick Your Axe Together
Stick the two axe head pieces together by gluing the flat sides together. Use elastic bands to hold them together whilst they dry.
Position your completed axe head onto one of your haft strips. It should be placed about 4cm from the end of the haft strip, against the flat side of the strip. The blade (wider) edge of the axe head should stick out further from the haft than the non-blade edge.
Next, position your second haft strip on the other side of the axe head so that it matches the positioning of the first haft strip. Gently squeeze them together so that the flat sides of both strips come together on top and underneath the axe head. You may need to gently bend the cardboard of the haft strips to get them to surround the axe head and touch together on either side.
Don’t worry about small gaps in the corners at the top and bottom of the axe head – we will fill them in the next step.
Once you are happy with the shape, glue both haft strips in place on either side of the axe head. Use elastic bands to hold the haft strips in place whilst they dry.
Step 5: More Papier Mache!
Once your axe pieces have dried in place, add at least 2 more layers of Papier Mache using the method described above.
The more layers of Papier Mache you apply, the tougher your axe will become.
We did our final two layers of Papier Mache using white kitchen roll. This will give a great texture when complete plus it provides a nice plain background for painting. Plain white paper works well too.
Any gaps between the axe head and the haft can be filled with scrunched Papier Mache strips. These will be painted to look like plant materials later.
Leave each layer to dry overnight.
Step 6: Paint & Decorate Your Axe
Use “natural” coloured paints such as browns, greens and greys to decorate your axe.
We used dark grey for the axe head, brown for the axe haft and green for the “plant materials” stuffed in the gaps.
We added lines on the haft to create a wood effect and a thin line of black around the edges of the axe head to look like “tar” gluing it into the haft.
Wrap brown or green coloured twine around the axe head and haft to represent “cordage” strapping the pieces together.
Are you a teacher? Yes? Then you'll definitely want Imagining History to bring their 'A Handy Guide to Survive the Stone Age' Interactive workshop to your school.
Our Award-Winning sessions combine role-play, storytelling, demonstrations and drama and performance to bring history to life for your students.
Here are some of the craft materials we used to create our Stone Age Axe:
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