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Life during the Middle Ages in Europe was not easy or comfortable. Homes were cold and damp. War was always lurking. Families used symbols to signify their lineage which gave them their rights to land and position, which could be inherited. These symbols were painted on homes, embroidered onto clothing & banners, used in miniature to endorse paperwork by pressing a signet ring into wax, and forged onto metal shields. Battles were fought over land, position and religion. This was also a time when ladies wore long dresses and men wore capes and long underwear. They did not have much furniture, but everyone had important pieces of heavy cloth. Curtains were a homes' insulation. Beds had tall posts ('4 posters') so that curtains could be hung from them on all 4 sides, for warmth. Crests were carved into wood, woven into fabric and printed on books. Possessions were of prime importance.
  Supplies: Sources: Cost:
1 Matt board, 9'x6', 2 holes punched RAFT Free
1 black construction paper rectangle, 4x1" COF Free
1 shelf paper rectangle, wood design, 4"x " Supermarket $1.50
1 colored paper rectangle, 4"x6" COF Free
1 gold or copper foil rectangle, 3"x4" COF storeroom Free
1 stripe of fringe, 7" COF storeroom Free
1 piece of yarn, 8" RAFT / COF Free
Glue stick COF Free
Scissors COF Free
Sharpie pens COF Free
Pencil, blunted COF Free
Matt board ruler COF Free
Hot glue & glue gun COF Free
Black tempera paint COF Free
Soft surface for scribing (sponge) COF Free
  Total (approx.)   $1.50
1. Peel wood designed shelf paper and center it on black paper.
2. Carefully draw name on 'wood; with sharpie. Use glue stick to attach this paper plaque to the matt board, just below the holes at the top.
3. Using matt board ruler, hard sponge pad, and pencil, dissect gold foil and draw 'family' images in each of the four corners. Cut into a shield shape.
4. Rub tempera paint into design & wipe off gently.
5. Hold foil shape on colored construction paper and cut a slightly larger shield, the same shape.
6. Use glue stick to attach construction paper shield onto matt board then glue the gold onto the paper shield area with hot glue or rubber cement, though other types will work, too.
7. Attach fringe to bottom of matt board, and tuck it around corner and tape or hot glue, so that it will not unravel.
8. Finish with yarn tied through holes at the top. Beads can be used to finish off the tassels hanging from the knot in this yarn.
Fifth grader shields.
Alex Kent 2003