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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

MakerSpace: 5 Low or No Tech Activities for a Teen MakerSpace

makerspacelogo1When I first began transforming my teen space into a Teen MakerSpace, I was adamant that the space had to be tech, tech, tech heavy. All tech, all the time. I pushed back hard against suggestions that I should do things like have gel pens or paint. Part of my concern was legitimate, cost and clean up. Having consumable materials increases your cost right out of the gate. But there are a lot of consumables in tech making as well; see, for example, the 3D pen. You constantly have to replace the filament.

The clean up concern is legitimate as well. We work hard to try and keep our surfaces and floors protected, but there have been accidents. Tables and counters are easier to protect than floors, we simply cover them with cutting mats and it works pretty well.

I have slowly changed my idea of what a makerspace can and should be, in part because of my teens. It turns out, they like to do a lot of traditional arts and crafts just as much as they like to do coding, robotics and electronics. And many of our teens don’t have access to the tools necessary to learn these traditional types of arts and crafts anymore than they have access to the tech to learn coding and electronics. So we – so I – have expanded my idea of what a makerspace is. If it involves making something, I will consider it for the space. So today I am sharing with you 5 of their favorite more traditional arts and crafts activities that we do in our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH).

Sculpey Clay

Desiree making jewelry out of Sculpey clay beads

Desiree making jewelry out of Sculpey clay beads

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Making things out of clay has turned out to be really popular for us. We have a toaster oven in the space that we use to bake the clay. They make anything from figures to jewelry using the clay. Desiree, one of our TMS assistants, has become quite good at clay art.

Teen Coloring

We have a dedicated teen coloring station with blank cartoon and graphic novel strips that teens can create, but we also just print off coloring sheets. We provide colored pencils, markers, and gel pens. I really pushed back against gel pens in the beginning because they are so expensive but found a great set at a reasonable price and we keep them locked up when the room isn’t staffed. It’s a relaxing activity and it’s pretty easy from a staff perspective, and the teens love it.

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Although many of our teens do use our supplies, we have a small handful of teens that come regularly and bring their own supplies and art books. They will also often draw pictures for us. A couple of times they have drawn pictures of us, which is an incredible honor.

Shrinky Dinks

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A bracelet made out of Shrinky Dink charms

A bracelet made out of Shrinky Dink charms

Who knew this childhood favorite would once again be so popular? We buy plain Shrinky Dink sheets at the local craft store and the teens are welcome to create anything they would like. They often trace and color their favorite manga characters. But you can also use Shrinky Dinks to do things like create jewelry.

Lego

today5 today6 Lego can be very tech savvy. For example, you can use Legos to create a Rube Goldberg machine. Legos can also be combined with tech like LittleBits or Raspberry Pi to make remote control vehicles or small robots. But sometimes, the teens just like to build with them. In fact, we now host a daily Lego challenge. We put up a sign with a small pile of Legos and ask teens to do things like build a car, make an animal, or even create a campfire scene. We get a lot of our daily challenges out of this book.

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Painting

today7I suppose in some ways this is just an extension of the coloring/drawing type of activities, but I have to go on the record as saying that I pushed back hard against buying pain and paint brushes. For one, we really do try and limit the amount of money we spend on consumables because you have to replace them a lot. But the truth is, it’s not as high of a cost as I thought it might be. You can buy a value pack of acrylic paint at Michael’s for $8.00. And a value pack of brushes for around $5.00. We don’t provide high quality materials by any means, but they get the job done. The teens not only paint on paper, but they will bring in t-shirts to paint, they paint their cell phone cases to personalize them, and more.

So here’s my takeaway.

1) The idea of a makerspace is always evolving.

2) Don’t be afraid of more traditional arts and crafts.

MakerSpace Madness: Out of the 1, Many – Transforming Art in Multiple Ways

Makerspace Madness

I spent yesterday casually demonstrating to the teens in the Teen MakerSpace how one project can turn into many, many projects. Making isn’t just about making, it’s about re-making and transforming. It’s about thinking outside of the box. It’s about pushing the limits of what you know and learning new things. So yesterday we explored how far we can take one project.

To begin, I was exploring making my own templates. The first template I made was freehand, and it was . . . okay. I then downloaded a pre-made template of the police box which I altered slightly because it turns out that cutting out a template is tedious. Not going to lie, it was not my favorite thing. The key to a good (and easy to cut out) template is to have big spaces and not a lot of lines, straight lines are definitely better. The police box is an easy template to create from scratch because it’s just squares, long rectangles and a triangle for the top light. It doesn’t hurt that I and my girls are huge Doctor Who fans.

I then used my template and a word template (“dream”) that we already had in the space to make a painting. Note: when making your own templates, words are hard. The easiest way to make a word template is to print your word out from a computer, though you’ll want to be careful about fonts.

For someone who is not a painter, I thought my original art piece turned out okay.

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Next, I took a picture of my painting. I like to start with a picture that I have taken so that I don’t have to worry about copyright. I then use a variety of apps to transform my painting into ways that I can’t do freehand because I’m not really an artist. Apps are just my friend.

For example, here I used the Fused app to combine my painting with a galaxy looking background.

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You can then use almost any app, including Instagram, to try out different filters until you find a look that you like. Some of my favorites include Enlight, Hipstamatic, and BeFunky.

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I then used Instagmag to make a photo collage. There are other photo collage apps that you can use including Diptic and PhotoShake, I just happen to be a fan of Instamag’s graphics.

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I then saved and printed my photo – after making it the proper size – to turn it into a button.

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There are other things I can do with this as well:

Print my remixed photo onto transfer paper and make it into a t-shirt or tote bag.

Print my remixed photo and put it onto canvas to make wall art.

Re-size my photo to make original postcards.

The thing is, when you create one type of art, even something like a traditional painting, that doesn’t mean it has to stay in that same shape, form or even color.

And that’s the journey of one piece of art.

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MakerSpace: Low Tech, Low Cost “Screenprinting”

screenprinting

We used several processes to make this example t-shirt. The Design Life words are part of our screen printing trials.

For some time now I have been on a quest to get a screen printing station into my Teen MakerSpace. My research involved reading a ton of books, a lot of trial and error and visiting a local art studio that did traditional screen printing. The big stumbling block for us is that to make screens for screen printing, you have to do a technique that involves emulsion. This was a no go for us. The second stumbling block is that screen printing can take up a lot of space, something which is a very hot commodity for us; We are a small space.

We also tried several low cost kits, some of which sere made by Klutz and Alex; these also proved to be less effective than we liked. Though we did keep the screen part of one of the kits because although you don’t need it for the method we chose to go with, some teens like to use it because it has a more authentic feel. But in a pinch, you can also make your own screens (more on that in a minute).

silkscreen

The paints in this kit were awful, but I did keep and re-use the screen successfully

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Some exhaustive research and a lot of trial and error led us to a couple of low tech, low cost scenarios that do indeed work. It’s not truly screen printing, but it is a low cost, low tech way to achieve the same effects.

What You Need:

  • Stencils (store bought or you can make your own, see below)
  • Fabric paint or Speedball ink (you want something that will stand up to multiple washing)
  • Sponge brushes (or you can use an ink roller or flat edged screen printing scraper thing)
  • 202 No Pins spray fabric adhesive
  • T-shirts
  • A screen (not necessary, but it makes it feel more authentic)
  • A clean, protected surface to work on (you’ll want to cover your work surface to protect it)
  • A hair dryer, fan or heat gun to speed up drying

Getting Started with Stencils

Stencils are used to make your design on your t-shirt. In true screen printing, there is a multi-step process that is used to make your stencils that involves emulsion. We just don’t have the means for this in our library space. But you can achieve some of the same effects by using stencils. And to give it a more authentic and hands on feel, you can make your own stencils in a couple of different ways.

The key to successful “screen printing” is to use simple prints and block lettering. The less intricate your design, the easier it is to get a clean image, especially when you are just beginning.

1. Freezer Paper Stencil

You can use freezer paper to make a stencil if you have access to a printer. Follow the instructions here: Stencil Shirts With Freezer Paper – Instructables. Using this method teens can design their own stencils in a graphics program to make truly unique t-shirts. It involves the most amount of tech in our low tech process. You’ll want to make sure and design a simple image without a lot of lines and details to be effective; also, cutting the stencil out with an exacto knife can be tedious so simpler is quicker, easier and cleaner.

This method is also good because you can then just iron your stencil on to your t-shirt and remove it when you are done.  Some tutorials we read/watched said you could use wax paper but we did not find this to be true – it absolutely works best if you use freezer paper. Using this method, you will only be able to use your stencil once.

2. Card Stock Stencil

You can also make your own stencil using a heavier card stock. You can find those instructions here: Make Your Own Stencil – Instructables. You’re basically going to do the same thing as above: design, print an image, and cut it out with an exacto knife.

3. Buy Stencils

Folkart makes a series of large stencils that fit nicely on t-shirts and tote bags. You can buy them here. This is the easiest method by far, but it eliminates a lot of the tech as teens are no longer engaged in designing and printing out their own stencils.

Preventing Bleeding

When using a stencil, it can be easy for the paint or ink to bleed under the stencil, which makes your design look like a muddy mess. At the screen printing studio they use a temporary glue that helps hold the screen in place and acts as a resist. You can use 202 No Pins fabric adhesive spray to temporarily hold your stencil in place and act as a resist. Once you are done applying your paint/ink and allow your design to dry a little bit, you just lift off your stencil.

Bleeding is bad

Bleeding is bad

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Applying Your Medium

As I mentioned, you do not actually need a screen to do this process. But if you want a more authentic experience, you can make your own screens using either an embroidery hoop or building one out of wood. I found the results to be the same whether I used the screen or not.

To apply your paint you can use either a sponge brush, an ink roller, or a screen printing wedge. I liked the sponge brush the most because I felt it gave me the most control regarding the amount of paint/ink I used. Also, you can buy a bulk pack of sponge brushes fairly cheaply so that multiple teens can make t-shirts at once. In comparison, a wedge can run you around $5.00+ and the ink roller was around $7.00.

spongebrushes

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After you apply your paint/ink, you’ll want to let your design dry a bit before removing your stencil. We used both a fan and a hair dryer.

It also works well on tote bags, in case you were wondering.

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 For more information, check out these resources:

gigposters

I read a lot of books on the topic, and this is one of my favorites.

D.I.Y. Screen Printing – Instructables

Down and Dirty Screenprinting for Under 10$ – Instructables

A 5 Minute Guide to Screen Printing Ink

MakerSpace Madness: Mod-A-Tee @ Your Library – Fun with T-Shirts

Makerspace Madness

Like most teen services/ya librarians, I’m heavy in the midst of planning my teen summer reading programming. This will be the second year of planning that incorporates our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) and we know based on our experience from last year that our current model works pretty well.

This year, we are going to do some thematic making in our Teen MakerSpace involving t-shirts. I was going to call it T-Shirt Tuesdays because I like alliteration, but the reality is that we have the most staff on Mondays, so now we are calling it Mod-A-Tee Mondays, as in modify a t-shirt. I will probably get bonus points if I mention that our Assistant Director came up with the name after I discussed my staffing concerns.

We chose t-shirts because we know that we work in a lower-income area where food and clothing can be a challenge for our teens so we wanted to teach our teens how they could easily make and modify t-shirts to engage in creative, self-expression at low or no cost to them. Later this year we will be doing a series of Make it in the Kitchen programs to address some of the food issues (more on that in a later series of posts). Blank t-shirts can be purchased pretty cheaply and used t-shirts can be purchased for next to nothing at a thrift store; both can be modified in a variety of ways to make not only new clothing, but things like pillows, book bags, and accessories.

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Because our Teen Summer Reading Challenge lasts for 6 weeks, we scoured, researched and tested a variety of ways to modify t-shirts and came up with the 6 that worked the best for us in our space and within our budget. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing those ways with you, telling you what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned. As always, I did a lot of testing at home as well. In fact, the idea for doing t-shirts came as we began making t-shirts and tote bags in my home with the teens that come in and out of our house. After seeing how much they loved both the process and the results, I knew this would be a successful activity for our Teen MakerSpace.

modatee

Week 1: Sharpie Tye-Dye

My assistant director also has really been a proponent of trying to do tye dye with our teens for quite a while. Being the mom to teens who has done tie dye several times at home, I am not a big fan of doing traditional tye-dye in the library (yes, not even outside) because of the amount of color and wet that it involves. But I have successfully done Sharpie tye-dye several times so we will be doing that. I will admit that it doesn’t have the long lasting staying power of traditional tye-dye, but teens enjoy it and I feel that it is a good, library friendly approach. You can find information on how to do Sharpie tie-dye here: TYE-DYE Made With Sharpies – Instructables.

For my example t-shirt, I used a template and Sharpies to make a small tye-dyed phrase on my t-shirt. You then spritz it with rubbing alchohol to make it “bleed” and give it that tye-dye effect.

sharpietiedye

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Several teens helped us make sample t-shirts and test our processes and they gave it a solid thumbs up.

Week 2: Screen Printing

I desperately wanted to do traditional screen printing in my Teen MakerSpace, I thought the teens would enjoy it and I wanted to learn how to do it as well. We even went and visited a local screen printing shop to learn more about the process. It turns out that we don’t really have the space or budget needed to make screen printing one of our stations as we had hoped. But there ARE a few creative ways that you can teach teens to do low tech, low cost screen printing(ish). We’ll be talking about those soon.

Week 3: Puff Paint

And yes, you read that right, we are in fact doing some good old fashion puff painting of t-shirts. We have found that teens love a lot of traditional arts and crafts AND that they love anything retro.

We’ll talk about weeks 4, 5 and 6 soon. Wednesday, I’m going to talk low cost, low tech screen printing.

Getting Ready for May the Fourth: Some Star Wars STEAM Ideas

Our weekly STEM program for 3 to 18 year old patrons took a turn for the galactic yesterday as we focused on Star Wars. None of the ideas I’m about to link to are my own, but I will tell you how well they worked for us and give you some tips for success.

81r2wmJ1JxL_SL1500_Our first activity was releasing Lego Star Wars figures from ‘carbonite.’ You can find the original post here. We used a combination of baking soda and water to freeze the minifigs into ice cubes. First hot tip – they don’t fit in standard ice cube trays. Luckily, I actually had some Star Wars themed jello molds (don’t ask) and they fit in those. We used vinegar to dissolve the ‘carbonite,’ but unlike the original post, I had the kids use pipettes to wash the baking soda away gradually. It really depends on your level of patience, but I think they had fun. Your mileage may vary.

Next we moved on to this activity – creating light saber cards. This was probably my favorite activity and the one I would consider the most teachable moment. If you scroll down in the post, you can find links to all the necessary materials, which were surprisingly affordable. There are also free printables to make the cards themselves. The blogger created one version for ‘May the Fourth’ and one for ‘May the Force,’ so you can use it year round.

We made balloon hovercrafts as detailed here. I’m sure you have some old CDs or DVDs and balloons around, and who doesn’t have a hot glue gun? Unfortunately, the other necessary piece (a pop up bottle lid) is much more difficult to find these days. Almost all of the items that used to have them, such as dish soap and sports water bottles, have switched to the new flip top model. I found them from some online vendors, but you either had to purchase thousands of them or pay exorbitant shipping fees. My best advice is to make friends with people who polish their hardwood floors – all of those containers still use the pop up lids, as does dish soap from the Mrs. Meyer’s company. It’s not ideal, but it is doable if you plan ahead (or have lots of friends with hardwood floors.)

We made these light saber sensory bottles, as well. The post recommends using VOS water bottles, which are quite expensive. We used the large Smart Water bottles because it is what I like to drink. I would recommend going with a smaller bottle, though.

Finally, we made some origami Millennium Falcons. There are many different versions of the instructions online, but the one I found easiest to follow is here.

Happy Star Wars day preparations to all!

MakerSpace: April National Poetry Month Activities

In the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH), we’re getting ready for National Poetry Month (April). We have a variety of activities that we will be hosting all month long in our makerspace using our materials to get teens thinking about and creating poetry. Some of our ideas include making our own chalkboards for teens to write poetry on, turning poetry into digital art and turning them into buttons, and creating visual poetry using methods like Black Out Poetry or Post It note art.

This will be our second year doing poetry in our Teen MakerSpace, so we tried to build on what worked for us successfully last year and provide even more options with more material choices.

Poetry Activities 2017  Poetry Activities 2017 part 2

If you have some other creative suggestions, we would love to hear from you. It’s never too late to add some fun, new ideas.

MakerSpace: Postcard Party

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In an attempt to express my personal political frustrations, I recently hosted a postcard party. It turns out, with or without the politics, this is a great MakerSpace program. Making your own postcards is quicky, easy fun.

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Here’s what I did at home: I invited a group of friends to my home whom I knew wanted to express themselves politically. Using the issues that they were most concerned about, I designed postcards (more on this process in a moment). We then printed them out, personalized them and dropped them in the mail. The Teen was there for this meeting, which is a fact that will become relevant in a moment. In total during this evening we quickly and easily designed about 20 postcards which we printed in multiple copies per sheet.

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It turns out, I really, really liked designing the postcards and, as is often the case when I learn to do something new and enjoy it, I started making a lot of postcards. And I mean A LOT OF POSTCARDS. In fact, The Teen found it to be fun as well and we sat down and I taught her how to design her own postcards. The postcards we designed together weren’t political, but they were personal and they became a fantastic medium of both artistic and self expression.

So Let’s Talk Designing Your Own Postcards

I am currently using Canva. You can use any design program, including GIMP (free, online) or Microsoft Publisher (not free), but Canva has a wide variety of easy to use templates that help you get started and are easily personalized. One of these templates is a postcard template. There are a variety of pre-made postcard layouts that you can choose to get you started and yet you can completely personalize everything. Canva is an online program which is mostly free. You set up an account and there are a wide variety of free templates and elements you can choose. You can also add your own by uploading your own graphics.

postcardtutorial2

For example, regular readers know that I am both photo and photo app obsessed. It’s easy (and fast) to upload your own photos into Canva and use them for postcards. There are a lot of free elements available for use in Canva as well, but I like to use my own whenever possible.

You can start with a blank space or a template. In the beginning, I highly recommend using a template. Easily add or subtract elements like text, graphics, lines and more. There are filters available to change the coloring or tone of your picture. It’s easy, but it’s also flexible and adaptable. As you get better at using the program you can advance how personal you make things.

After you create your design, you then download the postcard. I always choose to download my creations as a JPG because they are easier to use across machines. PDF is another option, but I can easily send, share and print JPGs.

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Now that my postcard is saved on my laptop as a JPG, I just need to print it off. This is pretty quick and easy to do using Microsoft Word. You can fit two postcards per page in a Word document. They are already saved as a standard postcard size so you don’t need to worry about resizing. I print them off on card stock and cut them down to size using a paper cutter. Because I know I want to go in and print more of my postcards, I saved each one as a Word document that I can just open again and again and hit print. For example, I have a filed named SUPPORT LIBRARIES POSTCARD that I can easily open and print off my Support Libraries postcards.

You can design a backside if you wish, but it’s not necessary. After your postcard is printed you just write your message and address it like you would any other postcard. The Teen made a set of postcards; she likes to write her friends encouraging messages and hand them to her friends at school or slip them in their lockers.

A note about the Canva app: there is a Canva app as well for mobile devices. I do not love the app as much as I love the online program. It does not have as many design template options available, for one. The smaller scale can also make precision designing more difficult. However, you can go into a saved design and quickly save it to your mobile device. This makes printing really easy if you have an AirPrinter that also allows you to select the 4×6 size. Print directly onto matte 4×6 photo paper and you don’t have to worry about cutting your postcard to size. This, for me, is the only benefit of the app on my mobile device.

And finally, here’s a look at some of the postcards The Teen and I designed.

postcard39 postcard37 postcard29

And as a fun aside, for some of our postcards we used our button maker to make corresponding 1.25 inch buttons. We were able to easily make them the size we needed for the buttons.

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Here’s What You Need:

  • Some type of device: laptop or PC recommended, though tablets and smartphones will also work
  • Access to Canva (or some other type of graphics program)
  • Cardstock
  • Paper cutter
  • Color printer

For example, it my Teen MakerSpace we have a bank of iPads that we use for digital media. Teens can use these to take pictures using our Green Screen Photo Booth. These pictures can then be uploaded into Canva so that the teens can use them to create personalized postcards as outlined above.

This is a great opportunity to talk with teens about what makes a good photo, design and layout, and the always important topic of copyright.

In just 3 days working about 2 hours a day, we designed and printed out 40 unique postcards that we adored. I can’t recommend this enough.

#MakerSpace: Typewriter Fun

We got a typewriter for our Teen MakerSpace. Yes, a typewriter. This may  not seem like a very high tech gadget to get for a MakerSpace, but it has proven to be a glorious addition. The idea came to me when I went to a Pinterest conference and they had a scrapbooking merchant who had a bank of typewriters set up and it seemed like such a glorious idea. This belief was further reinforced when we went to ALA and there was someone making zines using a good, old fashioned typewriter. So our hunt for a typewriter began.

Behold our typewriter station

Behold our typewriter station

It actually took us months – several months in fact – to find an old-fashioned manual typewriter in quality condition. I scoured thrift stores, antique stores and online apps like 5Mile. We eventually stumbled onto a man not too far from our hometown that bought and restored old typewriters. We went to his home, which he works out of, and walked down the steps into a basement full of 100s of typewriters put on display. He was a true maker, he owned his own 3D printer which he used to print parts and restore parts of the typewriters. He talked with us about things like type-ins, which are a real thing and they sound amazingly cool. He also sold us our super excellent old-fashioned manual typewriter, which it turns out the teens love.

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So you have a typewriter, now what?

As I have mentioned before, we have found that having creative prompts and displays greatly helps our teens think about ways they can engage with our various Teen MakerSpace stations. So we brainstormed activity ideas and put together a challenge sheet:

TypewriterChallenge

Some of our activity challenges include:

Photo Manipulation

Type a favorite quote, poem or even just a short letter on the typewriter. Using an iPad for our iPad station, take a photo of your quote. You can now use various apps to change the look of your work. When you make something you like, you can print it out and do a variety of things with your artwork including, frame it, transfer it onto a canvas, or make it into a button. Here are some examples that I made.

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It’s interesting to take a plain white piece of paper with some typewritten text and see all the various ways that you can change it.

Button Making

As I have mentioned, button making is widely popular in our Teen MakerSpace, so of course which use our typewriter to make buttons.

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Book and Zine Making

An obvious use for the typewriter is to use it to make a mini book in our book making station. We also have resources on making zines that would work nicely with a typewriter.

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You can tear up strips of typewritten words and mod podge them onto a collage or onto a frame. You can type on a piece of origami paper and fold it into a secret message. One teen made shape poetry using the typewriter. There are really a lot of fun and creative ways that a typewriter can be incorporated into a MakerSpace.

After growing up on computers, it’s interesting to see the teens trying to use a manual typewriter. It’s slower than a computer, so there is a bit of an adjustment the teens have to make. It can lead to lots of my gosh you’re so old jokes (for the record, we did in fact have color television when I was born thank you teens). There is a bit of awe and novelty to it. If you can get your hands on one for a reasonable price, I highly recommend it.

A Note About Cost: You can buy a typewriter at Michael’s as part of the We R Memory Keepers line, but it is around $200.00. We kept waiting and it is almost always exempted from any of the coupons, so those don’t help. They do sell replacement ribbons which are universal so they work even on our much discounted antique typewriter. I recommend asking around in the community to see if someone has one to donate or to check resale apps and lists like Ebay or 5Mile.

MakerSpace: Here There Be Stations, an overview of activities offered in the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County

makerspace

Because it is the beginning of the new year – and the end of our first full year of our Teen MakerSpace – we are in the midst of evaluating what we’ve done and what we want to do going forward. One of the things that has become abundantly clear is that we aren’t necessarily using all of our stations to their full potential. So we have set for ourselves five goals for this year, and one of them is to rotate our stations in and out more efficiently. The specific goal is to rotate 2 tech related stations/activities and 2 traditional craft stations in and out each week. In order to do that, we did an inventory of what stations/activities we currently have. This will also help us as we look to develop more stations and activities for this year; now we have a better idea of areas that we may want to focus on.

So for today, I am sharing with you a quick list of the various activities and stations that we offer at the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County. I am pleased to see that there are 45 different options and that there are a pretty good balance between traditional arts and crafts and technology. If we have done a post on that activity here at TLT, I have linked to it as well for additional information.

Teen MakerSpace: Activity Stations Overview
Station/Activity Focus (Education Goals)
Chalk Art (see also this) Arts and Crafts
Sharpie Art Arts and Crafts
Fingerprint Art Arts and Crafts
Teen Coloring Arts and Crafts
Post it Note Art Arts and Crafts
Lettering Arts and Crafts
Paper Crafts Arts and Crafts
Stamp Crafts Arts and Crafts
Tape Crafts (Duct &  Washi) Arts and Crafts
Map Art Arts and Crafts
Book Making Arts and Crafts
Bottle Cap Crafts Arts and Crafts
Fiber Crafts Arts and Crafts, Design
Jewelry Making Arts and Crafts, Design
Ornament Hack Arts and Crafts, Design
Rainbow Loom Arts and Crafts, Math
Nature Crafts Arts and Crafts, Upcycling, Eco Friendly
Coding Apps Coding, Tech
Makey Makey Go Coding, Tech, Programming
String Art Design, Math, Fiber Arts
Squishy Circuits Electronics, Circuits
Little Bits Electronics, Circuits
Paper Circuits Electronics, Circuits
Make: Electronics Kit Electronics, Circuits, Design
Strawbees Engineering, Math
Felties Fiber Crafts
Knitting/Crochet Fiber Crafts, Arts and Crafts
Origami Paper Crafts, Design, Math
Ozobots Robotics, Coding
Brushbots Robotics, Electronics
Dot & Dash Robotics, Coding
Ollie Robotics, Coding
Mechano Robotics, Coding
Tech Take Apart Tech
Shrinky Dinks Tech, Arts and Crafts
Osmo Tech, Coding, Math
Button Making Tech, Creativity, can combine w/digital media
Stop Animation Station Tech, Creativity, Film
3D Pens Tech, Design
Rube Goldberg  Machines Tech, Design, Cause & Effect
Green Screen Photo Booth (see also this) (photo booth prop making) Tech, Digital Media, Photography
Music Making: Digital Media Tech, Music
Digital Media/Photo Manipulation Tech, Photography
Legos Various
Typewriter Word crafts (can combine w/book making)
Playing with the Green Screen Studio in the MakerSpace

Playing with the Green Screen Studio in the MakerSpace

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Legos in the Teen MakerSpace

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Stop Motion Animation in the Teen MakerSpace

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Duct Tape Crafts in the Teen MakerSpace

What’s In Your Teen MakerSpace Manual? : Forms Edition

This week, I have been desperately ill. It’s only a head cold and strep throat, but I will swear to you I have the plague. So yesterday I texted my boss and told her, “When I die, please bring the Teen MakerSpace manual to my funeral and tell everyone it was my greatest professional achievement.” She promised she would.

Tada: The Stupendously Amazing TEEN MAKERSPACE MANUAL

Tada: The Stupendously Amazing TEEN MAKERSPACE MANUAL

But it also reminded me that each time I tweet loving pictures of the manual – yes, I tweet loving pictures of the manual – someone will ask, “What’s in your manual?” So today, I will share that information with you. But first, some history.

I have been a YA services librarian for 22 years now. This is both the first and the fifth library I have worked at. That’s right, I’m working at the first library I ever worked at again. I cam here this time with a storehouse of experience to draw on and a manual that I have developed over those 22 years and adapted for this library and this community. It is now and always will be a work in progress.

The Table of Contents (it has been updated since this picture was taken)

The Table of Contents (it has been updated since this picture was taken)

Teen MakerSpace Manual Table of Contents

Teen Services 101

The first part of the manual is an outline of basic YA services and includes the following:

1. Our YA services mission statement and outline

2. Teens 101: A basic overview of adolescent development

3. The 40 Developmental Assets: A basic overview of the assets and how to use them with teens

4. Customer Service to Teens: A basic discussion of customer service to teens, what is means and what it should look like

5. Teen Fiction Collection Development Plan: An overview of what we purchase, from where, etc.

6. Collection Development Outline and Budget

7. Weeding Guidelines and Calendar

8. Social Media Policy

9. Programming Basics: An overview of what we do and why

Teen MakerSpace 101

The second part of the manual, and the biggest part, is exlusive to our Teen MakerSpace.

10. MakerSpace Outline

11. MakerSpace Inventory: You can find an outline of our various activities and stations here.

12. MakerSpace Opening and Closing Procedures Checklist

13. Directions for each and every Teen MakerSpace station, items or tool: This makes up the biggest bulk of the manual. I can not stress enough how important it is to keep a copy of the directions for each and every piece of tech that you put into a makerspace. I scan in the directions so I have a digital copy and I keep a copy in the manual as well.

14. The Teen MakerSpace Collection Outline: We have 2 separate collections. The YA fic collection, which is outside the Teen MakerSpace, and the TMS collection itself. We believe strongly that each station, tool or activity we do in the TMS should have supporting book materials for check out.

15. Circulating Maker Kits Outline and Inventory

Appendix

16. Forms

wholelibraryhandbook

Many of the items in the TMS manual are actually discussed at length in the book I edited with TLTer Heather Booth, The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services. The collection development forms and policies, for example, were handed down to me, adapted over time, and written right into the book. They have worked for me so I use them.

Overtime, however, I have also developed a wide variety of forms that I like to use. They tease me at work because if they ask a question someone else will reply, “give Karen a moment and she’ll make a form for that.” All teasing aside, I have learned over time that I am a visual person, not auditory. For example, if you tell me we need to buy new 3D pen filament in passing as we pass in the hallway, I am less likely to remember that we had that conversation then if you send me a text or an email. Or better yet, just keep a running form of supplies we need to replenish.

I particularly like to have filled out forms for activities and programs. For one, they help me make sure I am doing all the steps I need to be doing in order to have a successful program. And two, I then have a record should I need to go back and look and see what I did. For example, our local community has a First Friday where we like to go set up a booth and do activities with the teens and promote our Teen MakerSpace. Over time we have worked out an exact checklist of what we need to take so we don’t forget anything. It’s the little details – like trash bags or chairs – that can often get overlooked.

So today I am sharing with you some of the forms that I have developed. Exactly zero of these forms were developed exclusively by me. They are forms that were shared with me and I adapted in some way to meet my needs; librarians are, after all, very good at sharing. So here’s a look at some of the forms in my (if I say beloved is that too much?) Teen MakerSpace manual.

Behold the Gift of Forms

So our appendix is just a master copy of all the forms we use in our Teen MakerSpace for easy access. Here’s a breakdown of what those forms are and how we use them.

TMS Supply Request Form

This one’s a pretty simple supply request form. I wasn’t even going to include it in this post but it’s in the manual under forms and apparently my completionist needs won’t let me leave it off.

tms-supply-requests-2017-pdf

TMS MakerSpace Assistant Training Checklist

Last year, I was incredibly lucky in that I got to hire two assistants to help staff the TMS. In order to make sure these new employees got extensive training, I crowdsourced examples of training checklists and put this one together for our needs.

tms-msa-training-checklist-2017-pdf

TMS Monthly Goals

This is a new form I am introducing this year and, again, it’s crowdsourced. We wanted a tool to help us make sure that we are doing a couple of things in our TMS, like rotating our stations in thoughtful ways and making sure we keep exploring new TMS elements and find creative, new ways to use our existing inventory. Thus, a monthly goals form was born to help us as individuals make sure we are meeting our goals. We have a yearly outline that we use to help specify what our specific goals for the year are.

tms-monthly-goals-report-pdf

TMS Program Planning Worksheet

This is a worksheet I use to plan a big program, which is different then a TMS activity or station. For example, we are working on putting together what we are calling a Con Con (inspired by an idea from ALA 2016) – a convention for teens who want to start going to cons to learn some basic con skills like sewing, painting, etc. I am using this program planning worksheet to help put that program together.

tms-program-planning-worksheet-2017-pdf

TMS Outreach Activity Checklist

This is a checklist we use for any and all outreach activities, including First Fridays as mentioned above. We try to have more than 1 activity to rotate in and out of our outreach bag of tricks. A checklist is completed for each activity and kept in a notebook. When we want to do that outreach activity, we just go and grab the checklist and get our supplies together.

tms-outreach-activity-checklist-2017-pdf

TMS Activity/Station Planning Checklist

Our Teen MakerSpace is set up in stations (we also sometimes use the term activities, just to confuse ourselves). For example, we have a permanent Stop Motion Animation Station. But we also have stations/activities that we can rotate in and out. We have a variety of robots, for example, that we can get out and have a day where we play with, say, Ozobots. We have also found that our teens like to do traditional crafts, so we rotate some of these in and out as well. Because our model is not permanent, we are always looking for new stations and activities to add to our reprotoire to rotate in and out. In order to do that, we have an Activity/Station Planning Checklist. Before we introduce a new idea, we do a little planning. We want to look at things like cost and materials, but we also want to make sure that we have or can purchase book titles that can be used to support that activity/station. Also, having the checklist filed away makes it easy to pull out and set up each station/activity when we rotate it back in.

tms-activity-planning-checklist-pdf

TMS Daily Report

I like to have a daily record of when teens use our Teen MakerSpace and what teens are doing in the space for planning purposes, thus the daily report log. As we work in the space we just make hashtags of teens in the space by hour and note what they are doing. This helps us know when we need staffing and what stations/activities are the most popular with our teens. I find it to be an invaluable tool. Also, because of this tool we know that we had over 3,000 teen visits to our TMS last year during peak, staffed hours and that our teens favorite things to do are make buttons, work with the 3D pen, and use our iPads.

teen-makerspace-daily-report-master-2017-pdf

And now you know why these tease me about forms. But in all seriousness, I find them to be invaluable tools and they really help us organize our Teen MakerSpace. And they complete the amazing Teen MakerSpace Manual. (Was that last line too much?)

Do you have any favorite forms you like to use? Let me know in the comments. I do like a new form to look at and adapt.

Previous MakerSpace Posts

Small Tech, Big Impact: Designing My Maker Space at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH)

MakerSpace: The Making of a Manual

#MakerSpace: 1 Year Later

The MakerSpace Index at TLT