IELTS Cue Card Sample 487 - Describe a handcraft item which you made yourself

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a handcraft item which you made yourself.

You should say:

  • what it was
  • how you made it
  • what you did with it

and explain how you felt about making it yourself.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]

Sample Answer 1:
Kite flying is a popular activity in China and I have made different types of kites in various occasions all by myself. For this cue card topic, I would love to talk about a dragon kite that I made when I was around 16 years old.  

Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is a traditional and widely celebrated festival in China and it usually falls in April. During this festival, many people, especially children and young, play around with a variety of kites. On such an occasion I made a kite which was more than 4 feet in length and looked like a red dragon. This sort of kite is usually called dragon kite and it is quite tough to make and fly. When a traditional kite might take an hour to be made, a dragon kite sometimes takes more than a week, depending on the size and shape of it.

It took me more than 4 days to complete this kite and I required to purchase some special papers, colour, plastic, glue, ribbon, and sticks to make this kite. First I had to use the sticks of different sizes to build the main shape of the kite. The sticks were linked to each other very strongly and I used glue, sticks and plastic to make the final shape of the kite. Then I  checked whether the structure was strong enough to fly or not. After that,  I wrapped the frame with colourful papers and plastics to give it a beautiful shape. I was quite happy to see the final outcome and was convinced that it would fly without any obstacle. The wings of the dragon were more than 1 feet each and I had to be very careful while making it. Any wrong shape of the wing would actually ruin the whole project. I had to make it strong while keeping it light. That was a tough challenge but luckily I was quite successful in making the final kite.  

When I made the kite and finally flew it in the sky, it was a great experience for me. I was relieved that it was flying and looked good. People were looking at that large size dragon kite and some of them appreciated it. It was embracing the white cloud in the sky and went higher than most other kites. It was moving as if a great dragon was acting as a guardian of the sky and protecting the people below it. I was quite excited when it finally declared its prominence in the sky.

Cue Card Answer 2:
Oh my goodness! This topic is tough for me. I’m not really a ‘handcraft’ sort of person. I am very bad at creative things, I really admire it when I see what other people can do – somehow taking some old newspapers and a bucket of glue and creating some extraordinary work of art out of papier mâché, but that isn’t really me, unfortunately. If I tried the same it would end up with spilt glue and newspaper print smeared everywhere and a gooey heap of soggy paper trailing all around the room! However, when I was very little we used to sometimes do crafts at school, and occasionally I’d see a children’s TV programme which would include ideas of things that were easy to make with discarded household items. I can think of an example of this, and that’s what I’m going to talk about today. I’ll tell you what it was (though that might be harder than you think), how I made it, what I did with it, and what I felt about it too.
 
Well, as to the ‘what it was’. I suppose I can only say it was a ‘useful box for putting things in’, (which is a quote from Winnie the Pooh in case you were wondering). Not that useful probably, because it was very small. It will make more sense when I explain how I made it.
 
So, what you needed was an old matchbox. Nowadays, matchboxes tend to be made of cardboard, but when I was very little they were actually made of very finely cut wood sometimes. I have no idea how that worked, but they were. All I did, was take an old matchbox once the matches had all been used. Then I got hold of some very special sellotape. It was gold, I really don’t know where it came from because it would be unusual even now. However, I had it, and some silver tape too. I very carefully wound the gold and silver tape around the outside of the matchbox until it was completely covered up. If you look at the box now you can see it’s a bit wonky, so it must have been hard to do with my little podgy fingers as a toddler. I then found a button from somewhere and stuck it in the middle of the top of the box. Job done! A little box for secret treasure. So what did I do with it? Well, the purpose of this creative outburst was to make a gift for my Dad. I’m not sure if I did this for fathers’ day, or whether I made it for a birthday present, but it was very definitely made with my dad in mind. So what I did with it, was wrap it up carefully for him to open at breakfast on the morning of his special day.
 
Honestly, I don’t remember now how I felt about making it myself, but I’m guessing I would have been very proud, because I was at an age when I’d have been too little to have any money of my own, and it took quite a bit of initiative to come up with this gift idea and follow it through (though I have a suspicion my mum might have helped a bit with gluing on the button!). However, last year my Dad died, and over the subsequent months, I’ve been sorting through some of his things quite gradually. In a side drawer of his desk, I came across this little box which he had carefully kept for nearly 50 years. It had been put into service for storing potentially useful paper clips, and was very suitable for such a job. It was really strange seeing it again. On the one hand, it was long forgotten, until that moment I had no idea he still had it, let alone for current use. On the other hand as soon as I saw it I recognised it instantly. It was quite poignant, but also a good memory. I had done this spontaneous thing for him, and although essentially it was just an old matchbox wrapped up in sellotape which had now largely lost its stickiness and was peeling away that didn’t matter. It wasn’t the quality of my handcraft that was important, it was the love and determination that had gone into making it.  

So it seems, even though my attempt at handcraft wouldn’t win any prizes in a competition, I hope this little story goes to show that really and truly, it is often the case that it really is ‘the thought that counts’! How do I feel about making it myself? Well, really happy, it was such a personal exchange, and I was happy that my Dad must have really appreciated it to have kept it for all those years.

[Written by - Lucy Marris (2016): Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam)]

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