ToolGirl Mag Ruffman Teaching Kids and Parents How to Work with Tools

December 13th, 2011 by Cathy Rust Leave a reply »

Mag's go-kart!

As ToolGirl, Mag Ruffman has successfully shown women how to work with a variety of power tools. She believes it’s time to move to her next project: helping children learn how to use tools. When she first came up with the idea, she pitched three different ideas for TV shows to three different TV stations, and was turned down flat each time. Mag figures the big issue is liability, with TV people believing that children + tools = disaster waiting to happen = Lawsuit.

Undaunted, she approached Lowe’s with the same idea and since Lowe’s already has a parent and child workshop program, they thought it was a great idea. Now Mag’s producing online videos working with kids, teaching them and parents how to do simple projects together. The videos will be accessible through Lowe’s Canada website, complete with a set of downloadable instructions to make the object that Mag and her colleagues and kids will be making in the video. Mag also told me that within the PDF of instructions there will be links to short videos with information on how to use certain tools. Even some parents who might not be familiar with using some tools will benefit from the instructions. “If you don’t know how to use a circular saw, there will be a link in the instructions to a short video on how to operate it,” she says. Kids’ tasks are kept to assembly, finishing, sanding and some fastening. Parents tasks will include cutting, using heat, and any other more challenging tasks.

The videos will launch on the Lowe’s Canada website in early 2012, will be 3-5 minutes long. Mag’s planning on producing 20 different videos and projects to start.

Mag sent along two projects she’s already tried out with kids.

Homemade chalkboard paint on child's play table

Homemade Chalkboard Paint

Ingredients:

  • 250 ml flat zero VOC Paint, any colour. Remember to ask if paint is still zero VOC after tinting. Better yet, buy a small test pot for this project. Mag’s favourite paint is Olympic Premium Latex which is still zero VOC after tinting).
  • 1tbsp unsanded grout (any brand and colour)
  • foam roller brush
Mix the unsanded grout with paint until blended. Apply to prepared surface with foam roller and let dry. Apply a second coat if necessary and let dry.

Mag's Homemade photo blocks

Wood Blocks with Photos

Tools and supplies:
  • T-shirt transfers (dark or light)
  • photos printed from computer
  • wood blocks
  • iron
Choose photos and print from your computer onto T-shirt transfer. Try to match photo size to block size. Iron T-shirt transfer directly onto wooden block.
Keep up with Mag’s work at ToolGirl.com.

Untitled from Mag Ruffman on Vimeo.

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1 comment

  1. Karen Aquino says:

    Thank you so much for your undaunted pursuit of someone to take on this project Mag. I have followed you through the years and love your simple and fun approach to workshop projects and have learned alot. The kids nowadays don’t have this taught many places so Kudos to Lowes for sponsoring this. Congrats…will share with my kids too!!!

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