From Xplor for Kids
October 2010 Issue

Xplor More: Make a Milkweed Bracelet

Publish Date

Oct 01, 2010

Not long ago, nature was a grocery store, pharmacy and hardware shop all rolled into one. If a Native American needed a string for his bow, he couldn’t ride to the sporting goods store. He had to make it himself out of cordage. Cordage is rope or twine made from plant fibers. It’s really useful stuff. You can use cordage to make fishing line, rig a snare, lash small trees together for a shelter or make a bracelet like the one shown below.

Learn the basics here, then go to for detailed instructions.

Find some milkweed or dogbane.

Milkweed and dogbane grow in many places and make great cordage. Collect them in the fall, when their stems and leaves are dry and brown. Don’t pull up their roots. Instead, snip them off at the stem, so the plants will regrow next spring.

Remove the fibers.

Lay the stems on a hard surface. Step on them so they crack open. Gently peel off the stem’s outer layer, and the fibers you’ll need will separate from inside the stem. Sprinkle water on the fibers to make them easier to work with.

Twist the fibers into cordage.

  1. Hold a small bundle of fibers with your hands spaced two inches apart. Twist the fibers with one hand.
  2. When the fibers get tight, bring your hands together, and a loop will form.
  3. Hold the loop in one hand. Use your other hand to twist the strand of fibers farthest away. When that strand is tight, bring it toward you and over the closer strand. Repeat with the other strand. Continue until the cordage will fit around your wrist.
  4. Tie an overhand knot so the cordage won’t unravel.
  5. Stick the knot through the loop. Now you have a milkweed bracelet!

Also in this issue

Photos With Nop & Dave: Fall Color at Hickory Canyons

Dave Stonner shot this photo of colorful fall trees at Hickory Canyons Natural Area near Farmington.

You Discover

With birds migrating south, leaves changing color and hunting seasons gearing up, there’s plenty for you to discover in October and November. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Wild Jobs: Snake Charmer Jeff Briggler

Jeff dives headfirst into nearly everything. He overflows with curiosity about nature, especially animals that give some folks the creeps.

My Outdoor Adventure

For weeks, twins Ashton and Nina Smith had gone to the shooting range to practice firing their dad’s deer rifle. When deer season came around, they could hit the center of the target every time.

Missouri's Creepiest Creatures

Some creatures make folks shriek “Eeek!” Maybe it’s their hairraising appearance or the way they scurry, skitter or slither.


Got snot? Of course you do. Your nose makes enough every day to fill a soda bottle. And, that’s a good thing.

Foggy Forest

A foggy fall forest might seem spooky, but there's nothing to fear. Sit quietly against a tree, and you'll be surprised by what you'll see.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Alicia Weaver
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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Xplor: Oct/Nov 2010

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