Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Teen Programs in a Box

One of the challenges of teen services is trying to come up with programs that will bring teens into the library, and keep them coming back for more.  Time and money create barriers.  So can the amount of staff you have on board.  Have no fear, TLT is here!

Welcome to TLT: Teen Programs in a Box
TPB are quick and easy outlines of some basic teen programs that you can quickly adapt to your library space, time and needs.  Sometimes they come with a pre-made flier that you can download and add your own library info and specific program info.  At all times they help you – the teen services librarian that is short on time, short on money, and short on staff – but not short on passion!

Benefits of TLT TPB:  Pre-made, quick, easy to adapt, generate creative thinking (you may not like my idea, but they may make stir a new idea in you), and emphasize the fact that teens like to do and create (my motto is: sit as little as possible and never let them leave empty handed!)  I also believe in generating opportunities for teens to be respected, creative, and empowered.  My programming ideas are asset based.

Here are some quick and easy craft ideas bundled in neat themes for you to do . . .

Cool to a T: T-Shirt Decorating

  • Tie-Dye – traditional or quick and easy
  • Stamping
  • Stenciling
  • T-shirt transfers
  • No sew t-shirt transformations – there are several books that cover this topic and a youtube video

 Foam Fun (for Tweens)

  • Foam push pins
  • Foam memo boards
  • Foam photo frames
  • Foam memo holders
  • Foam light switch covers
  • Foam locker magnets

Doodle and Draw Crafts

  • Journals/Sketchbooks
  • Friendship pencils (wrap in wire and add beads) – here, here
  • Book thongs

 Picture Me! Crafts

  • Foam photo frames
  • Wire photo holders
  • Photo keychains
  • Mini scrapbooks
  • Mosaic picture frames
  • Decorate photo frames with beads/sequins

 Just Bead It

  • Friendship bracelets
  • Book thongs
  • Necklaces
  • Safety pin bracelets
  • Shoelace charms
  • Key chains

 Locker Mania Crafts

  • Marble magnets (http://www.amysfavorites.com/house-aamp-home/74/176-glass-marble-magnets)
  • Tin bins (http://www.squidoo.com/altoids-tins)
  • Magnetic photo frames
  • Mini message boards
  • Magnetic note holders (use laundry pins and foam crafts)
  • Pocket bags

 Go Glam!

  • Body glitter
  • Lip gloss
  • Hip hair clips
  • Various jewelry crafts
  • Eye pillows (Girls World, p. 80)
  • Decorate flip-flops
  • Memory wire necklaces

Renovate Your Room

  • Switchplate covers (paint, mosaic, etc.)
  • CD holders
  • Decorate boxes for organizing
  • Memo boards (Cool Stuff, p. 39)
  • Mirrors
  • Beaded or ribbon curtains (Girls World)
  • Sun catchers (Girls World, p. 48)
  • Chinese lanterns (Cool Stuff, p. 113)
  • Decorate votive holders

Boredom Busters

  • Bubbles
  • Make your own Mad-libs (Fun & Games, p. 46)
  • Flip books (Fun & Games, p. 48)
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Confetti kaleidoscope (Fun and Games, p. 95)
  • Cootie catchers
  • Paper footballs

 BFF Crafts

  • BFF jewelry
  • Picture frames
  • Picture frames zipper pulls
  • Mini scrapbooks
  • Memory boxes
  • BFF photo albums

Get a Clue (Mystery and Detective Crafts)

  • Invisible ink
  • Swiss cheese decoder key (Fun and Games, p. 68)
  • Jigsaw letters
  • Smugglers rocks (Fun and Games, p. 74)

Icky Fun

  • Sparkly slime (Fun and Games, p. 76)
  • Shape shifting goo (Fund and Games, p. 78)
  • Nutty putty (Fun and Games, p. 79)
  • Fake blood (Fun and Games)

 Back to School Cool

  • Any locker mania craft
  • Zipper/back pack pulls
  • Book covers

 Furry Friends Crafts

  • Pet photo frames
  • Place mat for food and water dish
  • Pet collars – beaded/sequined/fake fur

Beach Scene/Summer Fun

  • Decorate flip flops
  • Decorate sunglasses
  • Decorate beach towels
  • Decorate beach bags
  • Blue jeans should bag (Girls World)

Snack Attack

  • Fun snack foods
  • Oreo stacking contest
  • Iron chef/Cupcake wars

Support Your Team

  • Pennants
  • Pep rally signs
  • Foam ball shaped photo frames
  • T-shirts
  • Magnets (foam balls with school name, mascot or name and jersey #)

Grow It!

  • Garden sticks
  • Decorate flower pots
  • Garden stones (paint rocks, mosaics, etc.)
  • Bird feeders

The Things We Do For Love (Valentine’s Day Crafts)

  • Picture frames
  • Jigsaw puzzle notes
  • Mini scrapbooks
  • Memory box
  • His/Hers keychains

Pimp My Ride

  • Keychains
  • Steering wheel covers
  • Rearview mirror fun (Make fuzzy dice and other things to hang from the mirror)
  • Trash bags for the car
  • Dashboard confessionals (stickers for your dashboard)
  • Lumbar pillows

Game Night Crafts

  • Collectors card holder boxes
  • Make your own board games
  • Make your own mad-libs
  • Make your own bowling (Fun and Games)
  • Make your own twister (Fun and Games)

Express Yourself Crafts

  • Marble magnets
  • Make your own magnetic poetry kit
  • Make your own bumper stickers
  • Doorhangers

Paper Mania

  • Notecards
  • Make your own wrapping paper
  • Make your own gift bags
  • Make marble paper
  • Paper footballs
  • Cootie catchers
  • Origami

Crafting Goes Green

  • Decoupage using old magazines
  • Plastic bag holders
  • CD clocks and suncatchers
  • Use old jewel cases for CDs to make picture frames
  • Candle holders out of old baby food jars
  • Bottle cap magnets and jewelry

Tech Zone Crafts

  • Monitor frame
  • Memo holders
  • Bulletin boards
  • Pencil holders

Art Through the Ages

  • Sponge painting cave wall drawings
  • Hieroglyphics
  • Create a picture in pointillism
  • Create your own aliens

 Out of This World Crafts

  • Time machines (CD clocks)
  • UFO photo frames (made out of foam)
  • Create your own aliens
  • Celestial suncatchers

Retro Mania Crafts

  • Retro magnets (Retro version of marble magnets)
  • Message in a bottle (Retro Revamp, p. 80)
  • Kindergarten cards (Retro Revamp, p. 101)
  • Bottle cap frames
  • Sock monkeys
  • Fish in a jar/snowglobes (using old baby food jars)

Making Memories

  • Mini scrapbooks
  • Scrapbook pages
  • Time capsules
  • Memory boxes

Around the World in Crafts (Travel Theme)

  • Make your own postcards
  • Travel journals
  • Map bookmarks
  • Map message boards
  • Travel related push pins

Go Global (Multicultural Crafts)

  • Kwanzaa inspired bead necklaces
  • Chinese yo-yos
  • French memo boards
  • CD dreamcatchers 

Duct Tape Mania

  • Duct tape crafts – there are several books that cover this topic well

Luau, Luau

  • Any craft from Beach Scene
  • Make your own leis
  • Hawaiian theme picture frames

Birthday Bash

  • Create your own birthday invitations
  • Decorate goody bags
  • Birthday theme picture frames
  • Mini scrapbooks (fold and fill in later with birthday pics)
  • Guestbook (use make your own journal directions)
  • Make your own birthday fortune cookies

The Princess Is In

  • Tiaras
  • Hair clips
  • Princess photo frames
  • French memo boards
  • Princess push pins
  • Princess door/wall signs 

The Hobby Hole

  • Organizers for collectibles
  • Decorate folders for collecting cards

Gifts for the Grad

  • Photo frames
  • Mini scrapbooks
  • Beaded pin graduation caps
  • Pennants
  • You did it! sign (use foam and wire)


  • Bath salts
  • Body scrubs
  • Eye mask
  • Bath pillow

 Babysitting Bag O Tricks

  • Make crafts bags to do with kids while babysitting
  • Butterflies using footprints as bodies and handprints as wings
  • Macaroni art
  • Make a tote bag to keep ready for babysitting fun and keep all your stuff in it

The Name Game

  • Make bracelets, necklaces, keychains, etc. with your name
  • Make door hangers or wall plaques with your name

 Decoupage This

  • Use old magazines to decoupage boxes, etc.

 Star Struck Crafts

  • Star shaped picture frames of your favorite stars
  • Marble magnets of your favorite stars
  • Decoupage folders, etc. with magazine pictures of your favorite stars

 Investment Op

  • Paper mache piggy banks

None of Your Beeswax

  • Make beeswax candles

Mobile Magic

  • Spice up your room with hanging mobiles – planets, flowers, stars, whatever interests you
  • Disco ball using Styrofoam ball and mosaic mirror pieces

Didn’t You Get the Memo?
Make a variety of memo holders

Haunted Happenings Crafts
Make spooky decorations

  • Spiders
  • Ghosts
  • Tombstones

 Harry Potter Mania

  • Wands – pretzels, frosting, sprinkles
  • Owl messages
  • Wizard hats – Ritz crackers, frosting, Hershey kisses

Make and decorate your own chocolate candies

We Got the Beat (Musical Crafts)

  • CD Wind chimes
  • Make CD holders
  • Disco ball

Bag It!
Make creative gift wrapping, school book covers and more using paper bags, paints, stamps, etc.


  • Zombie make-up
  • Make fun zombie buttons using a traditional button machine or easy acrylic button packs
  • Make a zombie “ugly doll” using old socks or felt, hand sewing required (gocks)
  • Zombie shadow caster using paper and flashlights; teens create a zombie form or scene and use a flashlight to cast it on the wall
  • Make zombie Barbie dolls out of old Barbie dolls
  • Zombie cookies – break limbs off of gingerbread men and decorate appropriately, make it a contest

Craft Books
Retro Revamp
Crafty Girl: Fun and Games (and all titles)
Girl’s World
Stuff to Hold Your Stuff
Stick It: 99 DIY Duct Tape Crafts
Generation T

Other TLT Programs in a Box
Banned Books Week
The Hunger Games
Library Bootcamp
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Teen Read Week: Book Quotation Celebration
Teens Got Talent

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