Leave No Trace Craft

By: Gabby Marye

Leave No Trace is the gold standard in outdoor ethics guidelines. It has seven simple principles, which provide an outline for minimum impact when outdoors. However, Leave No Trace guidelines can be hard to teach to younger girls. At the daisy and brownie level, girls want to discover the world around them, which means their attention spans aren’t long enough to handle seven whole principles. I have found that repetition and bright colors are your friend when teaching L.N.T. to our younger Girl Scouts.

I came up with this craft to teach girls of all ages about Leave No Trace. I put mine on one of my hiking backpacks as a reminder every time I hike to abide by the seven principles. This general blueprint can be made as a keychain, (shown below) a bracelet, or even a swap, and all the materials can be found at a craft store or on Amazon!



  • Key rings for keychains, safety pins for swaps
  • Cord/string, preferably 2mm – 2.6mm thick
  • 6mm square letter beads: L, N, and T
  • Heart shaped pony beads
  • Pony beads in purple, black, yellow, green, red, blue, and pink
  • Optional: beads or different colored string for embellishment


  1. Cut a piece of cord 10-12 inches long.
  2. Fold cord in half to find the center of the cord.
  3. Slide the key ring onto one end of the cord and pull to the fold in the middle.
  4. Slide a heart bead or embellishment bead onto both ends of the cord.
  5. Follow that bead with the “L”, “N”, and “T” beads. This acronym is how many people in the outdoors refer to Leave No Trace and the seven principles.
  6. Follow the letter beads with another heart bead or embellishment bead.
  7. Then place the purple bead, this bead represents the first principle, “plan ahead and prepare.”
  8. Next comes the black bead, which represents the second principle, “travel and camp on durable surfaces.”
  9. Then the yellow bead, for “dispose of waste properly,” the third principle.
  10. Next the green bead for the fourth principle, “leave what you find.”
  11. Then the red bead for the fifth principle. Fire safety, “minimize campfire impacts”
  12. The blue bead is the penultimate one for, “respect wildlife,” the sixth principle.
  13. Finally, the pink bead for the seventh principle, “be considerate of others.”
  14. Tie off the end with an overhand knot just under the last bead.

Repeat as many times as you want, or until the concepts of LNT have been grasped.

*For the bracelet variation, use elastic string. Instead of folding in half (which can be hard for the younger girls to do), just string all your beads in the same order onto the elastic and then tie around your wrist using a square knot.

You can visit the Leave No Trace website for all tings related to outdoor ethics.

Happy Crafting!

If you have any questions, contact me at gabbym@gsctx.org.

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