How to Make a Hogan With Craft Sticks

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A hogan is a building with a domed roof and a circular base. The Navajo people native to the United States built temporary versions of hogans until migrating to the Southwest. There, they began building the permanent domed structures now commonly referred to as hogans. Hogans are built with overlapping logs and covered with clay and leaves. The doorway always faces east to let in the rising sun. You can make your own model hogan with craft sticks and clay.

Things You'll Need

  • Base board, wood or cardboard
  • Craft sticks
  • White glue
  • Vinyl snips or other heavy-duty scissors
  • Clay
  • Shredded leaves (optional)
  • Fabric scrap
  • Lay a piece of cardboard or wood board on a flat surface, such as a table. Lay out several craft sticks in a circle, leaving a 2-inch opening for the hogan's doorway. Situate so that each stick overlaps 1/4 inch of the adjacent sticks in an alternating pattern: some sticks should lay flat on the board, while the others rest on top.

  • Glue the sticks in place.

  • Repeat this pattern in two more layers, building up.

  • Snip a 1/4 inch off of fifteen craft sticks. Glue and place three layers with these shorter sticks.

  • Snip a 1/2 inch off of fifteen craft sticks. Glue and place three layers with these shorter sticks.

  • Continue in this pattern, except now begin forming complete circles without the two-inch doorway gap. Build up until the top forms a dome or near-dome.

  • Allow the structure to dry for one day.

  • Mix clay with water until a slip forms, about the consistency of ice cream. Optionally, crush dried leaves and mix with the slip. Use a craft stick to cover the dome with the clay slip.

  • Allow clay to dry for one day.

  • Glue a scrap of fabric to the doorway to simulate a door flap.

Tips & Warnings

  • After building the hogan, glue sand and model plants to the board. Draw a compass-rose on the board to show that the doorway is facing east.

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