Paper Cow Directions

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, May 27, 1912:I hope this week won’t be as monotonous as last week was. I have to watch cows more days and then I think I’ll make a dash for liberty.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

This is the third time in two weeks that Grandma mentioned watching the cows. I agree with Grandma that it’s getting monotonous, so decided to have a little fun today and make some paper cows.

(My husband thinks that I’ve gone a bit over the edge–especially when I posed the cows for the photo–but making the cows was relaxing and we all need to play sometimes. 🙂 )

The June, 1913 issue of The School-Arts Magazine had a pattern for a paper cow.

If you’d like to make some cows, here is the pattern and the directions:

Click here for paper cow pattern.

Cut out the pattern pieces. On heavy cardstock trace around the pattern pieces. Cut out and decorate as desired.

Dovetail the legs and body together at the slits. The slits for the ears (see small black line between eyes and neck) can be made by an adult  using a small sharp knife or very small sharp scissors.

Note: I used crayons to put the black spots on the cows. If I did it again, I might cut back spots out of construction paper.

P.S.—Previous posts with old-time paper crafts have been very popular. If you haven’t already seen them you may want to check them out:

Paper Doll Girl and Her Swimming Ducks

Paper Birds

Swimming Frog

School Girl Paper Doll

I’m reprinting this 1912 photo that I posted several days ago. I had fun trying to reproduce the look of cows in a field when I took the picture of the paper cows and thought you might enjoy seeing this photo again. Photo source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (June 1, 1912)

11 thoughts on “Paper Cow Directions

  1. I can’t wait to see your Granma make her break for freedom! With all the cows you would have fit right in with the Sepia Saturday theme of cattle. I can just picture you cutting out those little cows and posing them while your husband shakes his head and thinks you’ve about gone over the brink. ;-D

  2. Ha ha ha… won’t be long now and poor old Helena will be making her “dash for liberty”. She’s such a typical teen, eh? …
    We sure do need to “play” sometimes Sheryl. My last couple of blogs have me a bit sad so am having fun taking a totally different “tack” with the present one. I also have a fun blog title “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” where I go to “play” when the Family History bizzo gets a bit heavy.
    Love the cows and know my youngest grandson will have fun making them with me… esp when I show him where they came from and tell him the story. He’ll be impressed 🙂 … thanks

    1. It is vital to strike a balance between serious things and fun. I checked out Weird, Wild & Wonderful. It’s great. Thanks for telling me about it.

  3. I wonder how Helena felt about cows when she grew older. Did she shriek in horror at the sight of one, or did they feel like familiar old friends, when her days of watching them were finally over (and she had made her dash for liberty!) I love your paper cows, you can tell your husband that at least one blogging friend appreciated them. 🙂

    1. My grandmother married a dairy farmer so she spent her entire life around cows. I guess (in a long term sense) that she never made a dash for liberty from cows. But I also think that they felt like familiar old friends as the years passed. I can remember when she was very elderly, after my grandfather died, that she sometimes helped her adult son feed his cows. There was no way that she needed to do that–and at that point in her life she probably slowed my uncle down– but she did it because she enjoyed being part of the farm routines.

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