Helpers Guide for Section 2: The Distinctive Touch

Everyone Walks Between Me and TV

Plan a "Designer's Challenge" for the youth. Find someone in the community (or maybe yourself) who has a room that needs a new design. After finding out the homeowners needs and preferences, have the youth put their knowledge to work by creating design boards with a new floor plan, color scheme, flooring and fabric selections. When completed, ask them to share their designs with the homeowner or another adult who will select the design that most meets the criteria. This will provide a great opportunity for discussing different ideas and defending their choices! The finished product can be turned into a video or presenation and submitted to the Design Decisions Challenge (764KB PDF) to compete with other 4-Hers from across the state.

It be Wood?

Youth enjoy expressing their creativity with paint! Ask each person to find a simple wooden accessory or small piece of furniture and bring it to a "Deco Painting" workshop. Sand surfaces so they are smooth, paint with non-toxic acrylic paints, spray with a non-toxic fixative when completed. Let them be as creative as they want to be with their colors and designs! These projects can turn into great accent pieces for their rooms.

Watch Selecting Wood Case Furniture and Selecting Upholstered Furniture to find some tips for picking out furniture.

Finish it with Fabric.

Fabric selection is a key factor to the success of a project. The color and design are important, but if the fabric is not suited for the desired purpose, the outcome will not be satisfactory.

Field trips to fabric stores, furniture stores, and stores where draperies, bedspreads, etc. are sold will help the youth gain a better understanding of fabric quality. In your discussion, illustrate terms as thread count, "hand" draping, crushing, resiliency, pattern match, fiber, etc.

If your community has a furniture upholsterer or person who makes custom draperies, arrange a tour or visit  - both for seeing the quality of fabrics used, and also for potential careers.

Taking Care of Things

Read the labels! Ask your students to bring a cleaner from home, or go to a local business where a variety of cleaning supplies are sold. What do the labels say? Are they water-based? Solvent based? Include VOC's? What precautions are stated? After learning about different cleaners, which ones would you prefer to have in your home? Where should they be stored? How would you dispose of unwanted cleaning products?