The Hoopeston Area High School Tool Shed group is again offering festive crafts for this Christmas season.
Tool Shed President Rhys Root said the group is offering four types of items this year: a Christmas wreath made of slices of wood, a Christmas-themed picture holder with the Cornjerker logo on it, a chalkboard tray and walnut or cherry candle holders.
Root said the candle holders have three different sizes.
He said the wreaths are made by chopping up logs and nailing them together to create a wreath.
Root said the picture holder is reversible so it can be used anytime of the year and snowflakes and the Cornjerker logo can be peeled off if the buyer chooses to do so.
Root listed the prices for the items: chalkboard tray-$20, picture holder-$20, candle holders-$20 for a set of three and the Christmas wreath-$20 for a large or $15 for a small.
Asked which of the items takes the most time and effort to make, Root pointed to the candle holders.
He said creating the candle holders requires cutting out a pattern on each piece of wood along with cutting out the bases for each holder.
Root estimated it takes three to four days of class time to make each set.
The group decided on the items they wanted to sell this year after their teacher, Shawn Swartzentruber, told them to look at various designs and choose which they wanted to proceed with.
Root said they wanted find festive designs to go along with Christmas season.
Group Vice President Colby Burton said the class is only using reclaimed or locally-sourced lumber for the items this year.
He said this does add to the build time for the items since the students have to inspect each piece of wood for old nails.
Burton said they will continue selling until the end of the semester.
Root said they’ve been marketing the items by posting posters around town and at local businesses and around the school.
Root said the Tool Shed group has been taking orders for the items for about a month and have sold $500 or $600 worth so far.
The proceeds from the sales will go towards funding the projects that the students will build in their second semester this year, Root said.
Root said the students put their own money into the project to buy shares.
Burton said they will use the money they made off the shares the bought to fund their own projects next semester.
Burton is considering building a desk he can use when he heads off to college after graduating from Hoopeston Area.
Asked what items Group Secretary Samantha Cade and her fellow classmates want to work on in the semester, Cade said Swartzentruber has been encouraging them to choose larger projects to work on throughout the entire second semester.
Asked what he feels he’s learning from this project, Root said it’s definitely given him a better sense of how to sell an item, specifically looking at what customers want and listening to feedback.
Root said the group had teachers come into the show and share their input on what the group was doing right and what they needed to change.
“We really learned off of that,” he said.
Cade said being a part of the group has helped her learn how to advertise and how to build various items.
Cade said the group has advertised by putting out fliers and spreading the word throughout the school district.
“Just making sure to spread the word,” she said.
Cade has been impressed with the response they’ve gotten so far.
“It’s a lot better than what I thought,” she said. “At first, I was kind of iffy on how it would get spread around, but it’s done really well thus far.”
Burton said he wanted to get involved with the Tool Shed group because he enjoys hands-on activities and appreciates that Swartzentruber teaches them a great deal.
He said being a part of the group has given him a better sense of the work that goes into actually selling a product.
“How much it actually takes to get stuff advertised, sold and made,” he said.
To order any items from the Tool Shed group this holiday season or learn more about what they have to offer, contact a group member or call Hoopeston Area High School at 217-283-6661.