If you’re like a lot of Scouts, you’ve collected plenty of patches over the years. Unfortunately, many get tossed into plastic bags or shoeboxes where only dust mites see them.
Don’t let that happen to yours. Use a hide rack patch display. Based on Native American “hide racks” that cured fur pelts, this display lets you show off your souvenirs and practice knots and hitches.
Step 1: To build the frame, position the dowels (use real branches for a more rustic look) in a rectangle. The shorter dowels should lay vertically on top of the longer dowels. Leave an overlap of about two inches on the corners.
Step 2: Drill a 1⁄8-inch pilot hole about 11⁄2 inches deep at each corner. Be sure not to drill completely through the horizontal dowels. Secure each corner with a screw and turn the frame over.
Step 3: With the cotton cord, tie a square lashing on each of the four corners.
Step 4: Give the entire frame, including lashings, a coat of brown wood stain. You might also want to apply a light coat of satin varnish or a polyurethane finish to the frame. Allow the frame to dry.
Step 5: Trim the hide about two inches smaller than the frame. Save the leftover scraps.
Step 6: Cut a row of 1⁄4-inch-long slits along the edges of the hide, spacing the slits about one inch apart and 1⁄2 inch from the edge.
Step 7: From the leftover scrap, cut 1⁄4-inch-wide strips, as long as possible. Join the strips together using square knots until you have two laces 20 feet long each.
Step 8: Lay the frame faceup on a large flat sur face (The screws should not be showing.) Using a
clove hitch, tie the laces to the frame in two opposite corners.
Step 9: Position the hide in the center of the frame and begin looping the laces through the slits—under the hide and over the dowel. Keep an even tension by working in opposite directions. End with a final clove hitch.
Step 10: Cut the Velcro into 1⁄2-inchsquare pieces. Before attaching the squares to the patches, arrange your patches on the rack, which is screwside down.
Step 11: To mount the Velcro, peel off the plastic strip covering the hook side of a Velcro pad and stick it to the patch. Then peel off the strip covering the fuzzy side and stick it to the hide. (Keeping the hook and fuzzy sides consistent will make it easier to rearrange your patches later.)
Step 12: Tie leather strips to the upper corners of the frame to form hanging loops. Attach the rack to your wall using nails or picture hangers. Besides patches, you can also display hat pins, historic trail medals, ribbons or other mementos. What better way to show off the things you’re proud of!