What is paper sloyd? The preface to Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades by Ednah Anne Rich defines sloyd as “tool work so arranged and employed as to stimulate and promote vigorous, intelligent self-activity for a purpose, which the worker recognizes as good.”
Sloyd, which means “skilled labor” in Swedish, was originally a system of manual training focusing on woodworking and its associated tools. In the case of paper sloyd, the focus is on creating useful objects with paper, and the tools are things the homeschool handy-mom is likely to have on hand — pencils, rulers, scissors, glue, string, compasses, and hole punches.
Although it is quite easy to work though Paper Sloyd at your own pace, it was designed to be completed in three years, and the projects are divided up accordingly. Models range from envelopes and book covers the first year to comb holders and pen boxes the second year to flower holders and match boxes the third year. A fourth chapter with a variety of supplementary models is also included. Each project is accompanied by directions and a diagram showing where to fold and cut. Be sure to read the “Working Directions” near the beginning of the book; there are important pointers on how to make clean folds and draw accurate lines.
Whether you’re looking for rainy-day projects or an alternative to traditional origami, or maybe even a hands-on way to introduce basic math skills such as working with fractions, you’ll find many useful and interesting ideas in Paper Sloyd. And the best part is that it’s available free online!