How to Make a Wampum Belt

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 box Ditalini noodles
  • Empty coffee can
  • Vinegar
  • Red and blue food coloring
  • Grid paper
  • Strainer
  • Paper towels
  • Strips of cardboard
  • Glue stick

The founding of the Iroquois Confederacy was symbolized by the wampum. Native American messengers wore a wampum to signify that their messages were legitimate. The wampum beads were made from mussel shells and were used in various patterns to tell stories. Dark colors were used to tell a sad story or report a serious event. What your wampum belt says will be up to you.

Pour half of the box of Ditalini noodles into the empty coffee can.

Cover the noodles with vinegar.

Add equal parts red and blue food coloring until the noodles have been dyed purple. The Iroquois used only variations of purple and cream to make wampum.

Strain the noodles and place on a paper towel to dry.

Draw a geometric pattern on grid paper. The design should be the same length and width as the cardboard strip. Then glue the grid paper to the cardboard strip.

Glue both the dyed and the undyed noodles to the grid paper, using the geometric design as a guide.

Wrap the cardboard strip around your waist and staple the edges together to form a belt.