Friday, June 26, 2009

The magical Red Rods

While I was composing "that" post (& yes, by "that" I do mean "that one I've told you about but still haven't finished" ;) I was googling around & came across this post from Melissa at Chasing Cheerios where she made her own Red Rods & was really interested to read A from Itty Bitty Love's comment too... Red Rods *had* been on my to-buy list.

The next morning I went for a wander around my little local hardware store & happened upon the perfect lengths of wood! I took them to the counter to ask how much it was and what they might charge to cut it: $1 a metre & he would cut it for free! Umm, hmmm... you see... I need a few cuts. I need it to be cut into 10 pieces. Of different lengths. Oh, and maybe I want 2 sets of each now that I think of it. Is that still free? Amazingly he still said 'Yes". This is the same slightly-grumpy-yet-wonderful man who helped cut the pieces for the box for my Moveable Alphabet! What a guy :)

So, this was what I brought home. 2 of each piece because I decided that if I was going to make the Red Rods then I might as well make the Number Rods at the same time. Can you believe that this is 11 metres of wood?! So, the wood was $11 & then I spent another $10 on spray paint & masking tape.

First job, give them a light sand. Not my favourite job but I gave them a once-over.

Next, I laid them all out on paper on the grass & started spraying! I did do a test-piece first. I sprayed them all, let them dry & then turned them over. I ran out of red just at the end so while they're all painted I might end up buying another can to make them darker & glossier. We'll see. I will admit that I am a perfectionist - but I'm trying to let go otherwise I don't end up actually making anything because it will never be perfect enough. If you've read my blog for a while you'll know I'm slowly teaching myself to embrace imperfection!

Anyway, they dried & they were done. It was so easy! Why didn't I make these a long time ago? The answer is in that last paragraph I think ;) They're not 'perfect' but they are great & I'm so happy to have them. All I have to do is read over the presentation of them, hopefully watch this video & practice & they'll be in Lovely's hands :)

The Number Rods will hopefully be next week's project - I have done one test (the 2 rod) & the spray paint was a little messy (ie. I got blue on the red. woops!) but I think it will be okay. I decided to start with a Red Rod & then add the blue stripes so lets see if that gamble pays off.

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Comments :


  1. Wonderful! I will have to check what they are for. I haven't seen that project before.

    I have to throw a comment out for that picture of the red rods just after you sprayed them... it is really cool how your silhouette is over the rods. If you cropped the rest out, it would be a really neat abstract picture!

  2. Well done! So satisfying to make these materials - it's quite addictive really!

  3. Wow! I am now totally impressed (as if I wasn't already!!!!). That's so cheap! And they look great!!

    I have not got a move on with this type of thing (Im thinking the sand paper letters) as I want board all cut up....but they can o it for you??? Well your lovely Mr grumpy can anyway!!

    Im going to see if I have any such fellow around these parts. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Cant wait to see how they go in Lovely's lovey hands.

  4. These look great! I recently painted a different colored stripe around the top of my son's bedroom. I used "frog tape" - its just like blue painters tape but its green. I got it at Sherwin Williams but I'm sure its available everywhere. It is easy to lift off but makes a crisper line than the blue stuff. I am also learning not to be a perfectionist, but I thought you'd want to know if you don't already!!! :)
    Thanks for your blog! Leslie

  5. Oh! They look perfect to me! I had to sand/spray paint my pink tower last year, and it was impossible to get it flawless. I hope Lovely makes lots of really cool things with those red rods!

  6. They look great! I'll be eagerly waiting to see if your number rods turn out ok using spray paint. I've been putting off painting ours because I was dreading painting by hand.

  7. They turned out great! I made some just like that a few years ago and it was sooooo satisfying to have made them myself (not to mention the savings).

  8. Hi gals!

    Val - Sorry... Sometimes I'm so caught up in my 'Montessori-mind' bubble that I forget that the whole world doesn't know what I'm talking about! LOL ;) The Red Rods are used to introduce the concept of 'Length'. They are part of the Montessori SENSORIAL materials and give the child both an ability to visually discriminate differences of length but, also, by carrying and manipulating them with their hands they can build a muscular memory of length. Cool, huh?!

    Hi Meg :) Parcel on the way to you!

    MoaMM - I think I got lucky with the cutting because it's a small town hardware store (ie. I don't think that Bunnings would do it for free!) but it's totally worth asking. I want to have some board cut for the sandpaper letters and alphabet too - but don't think that they have the right stuff though I should go and look again. Whether he'd cut me almost 40 squares I don't know!

    Hi Leslie! Thanks for leaving a comment :) I've not seen 'frog tape' around although I have heard of it. The masking tape isn't going to be the best - it can stretch outta shape a little I think. We'll see! I was interested to look at your profile. Although we are not a religious family I am quite interested in the spiritual aspect of the Montessori curriculum.

    Anne - Thanks! Where you touching up your pink tower or starting from scratch? Are there any interesting extensions you do (or the children in your classroom have discovered) for the Rods? I'd love to hear :)

    Nicole - Hi! Another Montessori blogger (with a Waldorf spin I'm guessing?) I can't wait to delve deeper into your blog.

    Theresa - There sure is a sense of accomplishment. Love it. btw, does JBug still ever use hers & if so - what kind of thing does she use them for now?


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