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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

I Went to a STEAMFest and This is What I Learned

Monday night our local school district – where I live, not where I work – hosted a district wide STEAMFest and I took my family, but I also went to scope things out – as one does. Overall, this was a well crafted event that I would love to host (on a slightly smaller scale) at my local library.

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The Setting

This event was set at the local high school so they had way more space then many public libraries would traditionally have, depending on the size of your library. They had hallways, cafeterias, band rooms and outside quads and they made really good use of this space. All in all they had more than 20 stations set up and sometimes what appeared to be one station was multiple stations in one station. For example, the band room was set up as a MakerSpace so there were several stations within this one room. Similarly in the gym, they had life size chess, cardboard city, and some exhibitors. So scale will definitely depending on the size of your library. But if you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Cardboard City at the beginning of the event

Cardboard City at the beginning of the event

Outside they had a petting zoo, water balloon slingshot, band performances and food trucks. The addition of the food trucks was a really great idea as people stayed longer and were engaged. They also had concession sales inside. My family was there for the entire 5 hours (though they ran out of supplies at some stations before we got to them).

The Stations

There were a large variety of events that appealed to multiple age groups. The organizers definitely made sure to address all of the community needs. Here is a brief listing of the many stations they had:

  • Water balloon slingshots
  • Petting zoo
  • Slime making
  • Learning about germs
  • Stained glass art
  • Fingerprint art
  • MakerSpace Fun including Ozobots, Kinetic Sand, Snap Circuits, and a couple of other building toys
  • Nanotechnology with the Ross Perot Museum
  • Face painting
  • Robot mazes
  • Lego building
  • Building bridges challenge
  • Giant Tetris
  • A giant green screen and overhead projector
  • Life size chess
  • Cardboard City
  • Escape the Bus
Giant Tetris

Giant Tetris

Organizing the Event

The district obviously spent some time in planning this event as it was well organized. They had great signage and clearly labelled maps telling you where each station was. Every volunteer had a coordinated t-shirt so they could clearly be identified. Volunteers had clearly outlined shifts to help cover throughout the event, which lasted from 4 to 9 PM. Various student groups rotated in and out as greeters.

The map of the event

The map of the event

Funding the Event

I had the opportunity to talk with the school superintendent and asked if they had a grant, which I was surprised to learn they did not. They had many local business sponsors, who had tables set up throughout the event. For example, the Slime Time table had signage that said they were sponsored by a local insurance agent and then across from that station the agent had a table set up with information about their business. I’m not sure of the overall cost of the event, though I do know that the Escape the Bus web page says the bus is $3,500 for one day. Many of the other materials they already had in the various schools. There would have been money spent on things like signage, the t-shirts and more, but with the local business sponsors they probably didn’t spend as much money as you would guess an event of this magnitude would cost.

Cardboard City later in the event

Cardboard City later in the event

Their Mission

As I mentioned, I did have an opportunity to talk with the superintendent and she emphasized that the reason they were hosting this event was to engage the community and raise awareness of and interest in science and the arts. We are a sport heavy community without a lot of local science and arts resources so our community really needed this event. I love the mission and feel that they really succeeded.

The Mr made a TV for Cardboard City

The Mr made a TV for Cardboard City

Final Thoughts

I took pictures throughout the day (until my phone died) and immediately went to my assistant director proclaiming that we could – and should – do a scaled down version of this event for our local community. I say scaled down because we are a much smaller facility with a much smaller budget. But with our Teen MakerSpace already in place, we have a lot of the tools we could use already in place. The staffing and space would actually be our biggest stumbling block.

Robot Mazes

Robot Mazes

MakerSpace: Outreach Activity – Book Face

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I can obviously not begin to take credit for the fabulous idea of Book Face as it is undoubtedly something that you have seen all over the Internet. What I want to share with you, however, is how we did our Book Face and why we chose to do it in the way that we did.

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In case you don’t know, Book Face involves taking a book with a partial face on the cover and holding it over your own face to complete the picture. It’s a pretty cool way to promote books and create fun art.

The Why

On the First Friday of every month the town where my library resides hosts a downtown event where local businesses promote their offerings to the community. It’s a type of music and arts festival with live music and food trucks. We do a monthly hands on activity to promote the Teen MakerSpace that has included things like making buttons and photo booths. They have almost exclusively focused on promoting the Teen MakerSpace and I wanted to do something hands on while also promoting books and reading. So we decided to use our mobile photo booth to do Book Face. My main goal for this activity was to do something hands on and fun to promote the Teen MakerSpace while also reminding the teens that we interacted with that we were a library and have great YA literature.

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The How

We already have a mobile photo booth, which you can read about here. So instead of taking regular photo booth props, we scoured the shelves for books with a part of a face on the cover. The books would be our props and we would be promoting books. It’s a win-win situation.

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What we took:

  • The mobile photo booth
  • 16 books with partial faces
  • A smart phone with an additional charger to take and post photos to our TMS Instagram account
  • A hand out explaining book face and a bibliography
  • The other regular stuff: table, table runner, chairs, etc.

The handout that we took had instructions for Book Face on one side, including the hashtag where they could find their photo on our TMS Instagram account and a reminder that they could come into the TMS and we would help them print off their photo to make it into a button or some other ways they could enhance their photo. The back side of the handout includes a bibliography of the books we had on hand.

BookFace Handout

Final Thoughts

This activity did achieve what we wanted it to. People browsed through the books and highlighted some titles. A couple of people asked if we were giving away the books for free, so we had to be vigilant around the table of books to make sure they stayed. One parent complained that the books were inappropriate for teens to even be looking at. But overall, the outreach activity was a success and helped us achieve our goals. We promoted the TMS AND talked with teens about books.

What I would do differently?

Although I would call the outreach activity a success, there are a few things that I would do differently.

One, I would have example pictures on display somewhere. It was kind of a hard concept to explain and although a lot of people found it fun and interesting, we had a lot less buy in then we did with photo booth props. I think display photos and buttons would have helped a lot.

Two, better signage. Bigger and better. Especially near the books.

Three, we just needed more books. And I took exclusively teen books, but since this is an everyone event I would take some picture and adult books as well.

If you have a portable photo booth, I definitely recommend doing this as an outreach activity.

A Book Face photo gallery:

Please note, this is also our current teen book display which is why you will see various backgrounds. We also have taken some in front of our green screen in the TMS.

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SLJTeenLive: Teen MakerSpace On a Budget Preview

On Wednesday I am honored to be a part of this year’s SLJTeenLive event. I will be talking with several other librarians about library programming “On a Budget”. I, specifically, will be talking about creating a Teen Makerspace on a budget. You can find a preview of my presentation here at SLJ.

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You can register FOR FREE to be a part of SLJTeenLive here.

MakerSpace: Legos! The one tool every makerspace needs?

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I maintain that a genuine staple of a good MakerSpace can be found in Legos. Make no mistake, Legos are not cheap, but they have a versatility about them. And you can get around the cost of Legos by buying random bulk packages off of Amazon. You have no idea what kinds of pieces you will get, but they are significantly cheaper. And occasionally you can find a good sale. Wal Mart, for example, occasionally has a case of 500+ Legos for around $30.00. It’s a good starting place. You can start small and keep adding to your collection over time. You need a good amount of standard bricks, but you also need unique pieces to really build a variety of projects. Some libraries successfully get donations from the community, but I have tried at two different libraries and have found that people really like to hang on to their Legos.

In addition to just doing regular Lego builds, you can combine Legos with things like LittleBits and a Hummingbird Robotics Kit to take your Lego creations to the next level. If you are really advanced, you can even combine them with a Raspberry Pi to make a remote control car. Below we adapted the idea behind brushbots to make vibrating Lego cars. All you need is a vibrating motor, a coin battery and an adhesive to attach it to your Lego car.

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Here are some of the ways we use Legos in our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County.

The Lego Wall

Inspired by all the great Lego walls we kept seeing online, we too wanted to created a Lego wall, but we simply didn’t have the wall space in our area. So we made a portable Lego wall using a piece of plywood and 4 10×10 Lego plates. We can set the Lego wall in one of our windows and take it out whenever we would like. We can also take it with us on a stand for outreach events.

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This is a Lego maze that was built by multiple teens on our Lego wall. One teen started it and as teens come in they continue to make it grow. At this point about 4 teens have had a hand in building this maze.

The Daily Lego Challenge

We put out a daily Lego challenge as one of our regular Teen MakerSpace stations. A large number of our ideas come from the book 365 Things to Do with Lego Bricks.

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Lego Challenge Cards

There are a variety of Lego challenge cards that you can find online by doing a Google search. We have a deck of cards – laminated for longevity – that we keep out and teens can randomly choose a card and take the challenge.

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The Lego Challenge Game

We took the idea of the Lego challenge cards one step further and created a Lego challenge game. Again, this idea was inspired by things I found online. I created a numbered game sheet and a teen created our dice using Sculpey clay. You simply roll the dice and complete the challenge that matches the number you rolled. You can make multiple game boards and rotate them out to keep it interesting.

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Rube Goldberg Machines

A Rube Goldberg Machine is a type of chain reaction machine where one action leads to another. You can make one using Legos. In fact, there is even a book about it called Lego Chain Reaction. After teens get the concept down, it’s fun to challenge them to make a design of their own.

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Stop Motion Animation

We regularly use Legos in our Stop Motion Animation station. The minifigurines are great cast members and you can build your own sets.

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Lego Books

We have a HUGE collection of Lego books in our Teen MakerSpace and they are some of our highest circulating items. No Starch Press has a great collection of Lego books.

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Although our books are always available for check out, we do keep the Legos locked up when no staff is in the room to help prevent theft.

And no, Lego didn’t pay me to write this post. I have just really found Legos to be a useful MakerSpace tool.

MakerSpace: How to turn a photo into a silhouette – and make it into a book page button of course!

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Arguably one of the most complicated buttons I have ever made involved learning how to use GIMP to turn a portrait into a silhouette PNG which I could then use for other types of art. To be fair, I set out to make this button because I wanted to learn how to cut a person out of a picture and turn that image into a silhouette. This was 100% about trying to learn a new skill so that I could teach it to teens in the Teen MakerSpace. The cool button was just a bonus.

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Part 1: Making Your Silhouette

Instructions can be found here but the basics of it are this . . .

Step 1: Installing GIMP

First, you have to download GIMP if you don’t already have it installed. GIMP is a free online resource that you can use to manipulate photos or do graphic design. It is a really advanced program that I have yet to master, so I don’t use it often. You can also do this in Adobe Photoshop, but that program is pretty expensive.

Step 2: Opening Your Photo

You will then use GIMP to open the photo you want to turn into a silhouette. Here’s the photo we’ll be working with.

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Today Teen MakerSpace Assistant Morgan will be our model. Thank you Morgan!

You’ll want to start with a really clean image that has a solid figure in the foreground. If possible, have your subject stand in front of a green screen or white wall. A blank background is not necessary, but incredibly helpful.

Step 3: Selecting the Figure

After you have loaded your image, you then need to select the figure you want to cut out of your picture. You will use the intelligent scissors to do this. Under the tools menu, choose selection tools and then choose intelligent scissors at the bottom of your list.

Tools – Selection Tools – Intelligent Scissors

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You will then begin outlining your picture by clicking at various spots along the figure. Start at one location and go completely around your figure until you return to your original starting point. Each time you click, you will see a small white circle which indicates a kind of an anchor for your scissors. This shows you the area that is going to be cut out. You want to be as precise as possible to get clean lines.

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When you have gone fully around your figure you will double click on your first circle, your starting point, and the circles will disappear and a dash line will appear around your figure. Your figure is now the foreground and it is separated from the background.

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Step 4: Removing the Background

Right now, your figure and background are separated by your dash line and you are working on the foreground, your figure. If you clicked delete right now, it would remove your figure, so you have to let the program know that it is the background and not the figure (the foreground) that you want to remove. You need to invert your image. To do this, go under the select menu and choose invert. Invert lets you toggle between the foreground (the figure) and the background. You can now hit delete and it will delete your background. If you accidentally delete your figure just hit CTRL Z to undo it and invert again to select the right object to delete.

Select – Invert – Delete

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Step 5: Selecting the Figure to Transform It

Because you have inverted, you are now working on the background image. So to continue working on the figure, you need to repeat the invert step to let the program now that you are once again working on the figure.

Select – Invert

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At this point, you have a full color cut out of your figure. If you want, you can technically save your image here. But if you want to create a silhouette, carry on.

Step 6: Making the Silhouette

Your figure is now selected and you want to fill it with a solid black color to turn it into a silhouette. To do this, go to the tools menu and select paint tools and then select bucket fill. A bucket fill side window will open and you need to pay attention to this window. For one, you will want to make sure that the fill color selected is black. Under the section titled “Fill Area” you’ll also want to make sure that fill whole selection is chosen. You are filling the foreground so it would be FG color fill under the fill type. You’ll then move your mouse onto the figure and click enter to fill it. This should turn your figure into a black silhouette.

Tools – Paint Tools – Bucket Fill

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You don’t have to use black, you can use any color you would like.

Step 7: Saving Your Silhouette

Your final step is to export and save your image. You’ll want to export your image as a .png to maintain the transparent background so that you can overlay your silhouette over another image if you would like. To do this you will go under the file menu and choose export as, making sure that you export your image as a png.

File – Export As – PNG

silhouettefinalYou now have a silhouette png that you can use in a variety of ways. For example, you can make a cameo if you so choose. For our button making purposes, we overlay the silhouette over a book page. You can do this in two ways.

Part 2: Making Your Button

The low tech way: Print off your silhouette and use small, precise scissors to cut out your silhouette. Cut the page out of a discarded book to your button size. Simply place the cut out silhouette over the circle and button it! Of course, you’ll also want to make sure your silhouette picture is sized to your button size before printing.

The high tech way: You could do this right there in GIMP, but my GIMP skills are not that advanced, so I do this part in Publisher. Save a picture of a book page. You can take a photo, download it, and upload it into Publisher. Or simply do a Google image search for a copyright free book page. Insert a circle shape and fill it with the picture. You can then insert your silhouette as a separate image and lay it on top of your filled circle.

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The breakdown:

1. Open Publisher

2. Insert Shape-Circle

3. Size circle

4. Fill circle shape with picture of book page

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5. Insert a separate image and choose your silhouette

6. Use drag points to size image so that it lays right over your book page circle

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7. Print

8. Cut out your circle insert

9. Button it!

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Here I took an image of Thing 2 and did all of the above steps and turned it into multiple different art forms. I have also demonstrated the cut out image before and after I turned it into a silhouette, making a button out of both forms. I also printed off a full size page and framed it – it makes good art.

As I have mentioned, for me this is hands down the most complicated button I have made. It is also the most personal and perhaps my most favorite. I made copies of this button and gave it to family members for Christmas. It took me several attempts to learn how to do it, but now with practice I can sometimes even do it without looking at the instructions again. But only sometimes.

MakerSpace: How to Design a Button

Button, button, who makes the button? I do! Teens do! But how? Yesterday I shared some basics on button making, today let’s talk about designing your buttons.

For the purpose of this discussion a button insert will refer to your final circle image cut to size that is placed in between the two button parts – the shell and the pin back – which will ultimately become your button. It’s the graphic piece that you create to make a button.

Start Here: MakerSpace: Button Making is All the Rage (The Complete Button Making Index)

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What Programs Do You Use to Design a Button?

We’re going to start here with the final step. I know that sounds weird, but your ultimate goal is to create and print a properly sized button insert – the graphic piece – that will make your image pop. The final step is sizing and printing that button insert. We’ll start there.

In the final steps, I recommend using a program like Microsoft Publisher to finish your button design. This allows you to create your button true to size and then print it out. For example, if you are making a 2.25 button you can use the Insert Shape feature, choose a circle, and size it to 2.25. You can use the fill feature to fill the button with your circle OR you can use it as an outline and overlay it on your image to make sure what you want to appear does in fact appear in the middle of the button.

insershapeResizing Photos for Button Makers

After you have made a design that you are happy with and appropriately sized them, you can then “group” all the parts and copy and paste them to make rows of button inserts. For example, here are some SRC buttons I designed to give to kids who participated in our 2015 summer reading program. This is what the printed out sheet of paper will look like. You then just cut your button inserts out and go through the button making steps.

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Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

Why Publisher? You need a publishing program that handles graphics well and prints true to size. For example, if you create a circle image in PowerPoint, even though on screen it is sized the correct size, it doesn’t print out true to size because a PowerPoint slide is not the same size as a sheet of paper. It’s a computer focused program as opposed to a print focused program. Publisher is designed to create and print materials so it works really well for printing button inserts.

In a pinch, you can create your image in another program and copy and paste it into Word at the correct size, but it’s a few more steps. I only recently got Microsoft Publisher on my personal laptop and used Word for quite some time. It’s perfectly functional, though more complicated then I liked.

You Don’t, However, Have to Begin with Publisher to Design Your Button

So let’s go back to the beginning – designing your button insert.

Let’s be honest, if you are using Publisher to size and print your buttons, you can in fact use them to design your entire button if you so choose. But it is not the only tool I use and there are many other tools that offer other features that you may wish to explore.

Although I recommend ending and printing with Publisher, you don’t have to begin there. I most often don’t. For example, I might fall in love with a picture I have taken on Instagram so that becomes my starting point. I might design something online in Canva and then transfer it into publisher for sizing and printing. I also use a lot of photo apps that have different filters, texts, and features to enhance a photo. I just create my image and then download it to my computer and insert it into Publisher for sizing and printing. Yes, some buttons take a lot of steps. But the design process is part of what I enjoy.

More photos manipulated with photo apps and turned into buttons. Washi tape makes up the borders on some of these buttons.

More photos manipulated with photo apps and turned into buttons. Washi tape makes up the borders on some of these buttons.

Some of my favorite design programs/apps include:

See also: How Did You Do That? Photo Apps Version and Generate Marketing Creativity with iPhone Apps

Some Design Tips to Keep in Mind

All the basic rules of graphic design basically apply:

In addition, remember that here you are designing in a circle. This can present some unique challenges, especially since a lot of traditional design we do is in the square format. Try to focus your image in the center of the circle. Make sure that any important parts – including text – aren’t being cut off.

Made from an Instagram pic. Had to layer images to prevent text from being cut off.

Made from an Instagram pic. Had to layer images to prevent text from being cut off.

The most important tip: Make sure and leave a little edge around all of your design so it doesn’t accidentally get cut off when you make the actual button. Words and important image pieces should not go all the way to the edge of your circle. You can have a background color that fills the complete image, but leave a little bit of space around the edges especially when you include any text.

There are Some Online Tools and Tutorials

How To Design a Button in Photoshop [4/13/2009] – YouTube

Button Designer Make Button Artwork Online

Create Buttons | Button Design | Custom Buttons | Pin Buttons

Button Designer Make Button Artwork Online

Free Button Maker Software – American Button Machines

MakePins.com: Make Custom Pins and Buttons That You Design

I have used exactly none of these. You really can design them yourselves quickly and easily as you become more proficient at using whatever software/apps you choose and just learn what does and doesn’t work.

At the End of the Day, Not all Buttons Needs to Be Computer Generated at All!

A table full of scrap button materials

A table full of scrap button materials

Put out a tub of scrapbook paper, discarded magazines and gns/manga, stickers, Sharpies, gel pens and more! Buttons can be mixed media collages or hand drawn. Fingerprint art buttons are some of our favorite buttons to be honest.

Hand drawn Sharpie art turned into buttons

Hand drawn Sharpie art turned into buttons

Coloring pages buttons

Coloring pages buttons

You can pre-cut a bunch of plain circles and put them out with a box of markers and let teens design.

Fingerprint Art Buttons for Shark Week

Fingerprint Art Buttons for Shark Week

You can pre-cut a bunch of pre-sized circles out of blank paper and put them out with a box of markers or gel pens and teens will still design pretty cool buttons.

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

To Recap: How to Design a Button Ranked from Easiest to Hardest Method

1. Cut out a plain circle and hand draw a design

2. Use paper scraps to create a design

3. Download an image and size it in Publisher (be aware of copyright)

4. Create a design from scratch in Publisher

5. Create a design in another resource, download it, and resize it in Publisher

Have fun designing!

MakerSpace: The #ButtonFun Gallery

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Earlier today I shared with you a summary post about button making in makerspaces. Using the hashtag #ButtonFun, I and some Twitter followers have been sharing our favorite button making tips and a gallery of our creations. Here’s a roundup.

 

The #ButtonFun Gallery//

  1. Words typed in paper. Edges inked by brushing on an ink pad. Beautiful #buttonfun https://t.co/EXZJdTcxmE

    Words typed in paper. Edges inked by brushing on an ink pad. Beautiful #buttonfun pic.twitter.com/EXZJdTcxmE
  2. This teen turned a 21 Pilots lyric into a button using a typewriter #Buttonfun https://t.co/6oBZBaLxyw

    This teen turned a 21 Pilots lyric into a button using a typewriter #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/6oBZBaLxyw
  3. Hands down my fave button. Pic of my scrabble board taken with smart phone #Buttonfun https://t.co/ZfQaoq6qcu

    Hands down my fave button. Pic of my scrabble board taken with smart phone #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/ZfQaoq6qcu
  4. Very Meta: We made a button of this button loving teen wearing all of his buttons #Buttonfun https://t.co/Vop8VzXWNI

    Very Meta: We made a button of this button loving teen wearing all of his buttons #Buttonfun pic.twitter.com/Vop8VzXWNI

 

MakerSpace: Button Making is All the Rage (The Complete Button Making Index)

One of our most popular stations in our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) has been button making. We enjoy making buttons so much that a couple of staff members have purchased their own button making machines for personal use at home (hello, yes I’m one of the guilty ones). So we decided to end our Summer Reading Challenge with a week of button making challenges. I get asked a lot of questions about buttons here at TLT, so let me try and answer them all for you here in one convenient post. Consider this the ultimate button making resource! If you have questions that you don’t see answered here, please leave a comment and I will respond.

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What kind of machine do you use?

At home and in our Teen MakerSpace, we use button making machines from American Button Machines. We have both the 2.25 and the 1.25 sizes. We’ve also made mirrors and keychains with packages we have purchased with them. Our machines in the Teen MakerSpace have held up to daily use for over a year and a half and they are still going strong. They are easy to use, durable, and quick. I can not emphasize how popular and fun this simple making tool can be.

Our button making challenge station

Our button making challenge station

What about training and instructions?

In order to help make sure our button makers stay in good working condition, we made our own button machine instructions. We also made instructions on how to resize images in order to make button: General Resizing Photos for Button Maker Instructions

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Once a teen is trained to use the laptop to make their images and use the machine to make their buttons, they are very successful in creating a variety of buttons on their own. After some initial training, 100% of teens will be capable of coming in and using the machines without any assistance.

Do you charge for your buttons?

We do not currently charge our teens to make a button. We do, however, limit our teens to 2 buttons a day. Each year for our Summer Reading Challenge we also give 100 button pieces as one of our prize options and this has proven to be popular. If we were to charge, we would probably charge around a quarter per button as this is roughly what the costs of supplies averages out to per button.

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What size button is the most popular?

Right now, it seems like the 1.25 size is the most popular. For example, if you go into Hot Topic, they always have bins full of buttons that you can buy in this size. The small buttons can pack a powerful visual impact.

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So what size button do you recommend?

This is not a straightforward question. The true answer is, it depends on what you want to accomplish.

For more artistic buttons or buttons with quotes and slogans, the 2.25 size is better.

For buttons with icons or small but powerful visual images, the 1.25 size is better.

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

What do you use to design your buttons?

To be honest, I am all over the place on this one. The simplest and most direct tool to use is a publishing program like Microsoft Publisher. It allows you to design, save and print your buttons true to size in one easy place. I have also, however, designed buttons on my phone using apps or used something like Canva and then imported the image into Publisher. Designing images on my phone allows me to engage when I am away from my computer but have access to my phone and get bored or simply am multitasking.

And now a word about Instagram and social media sized graphics. An Instagram picture seems like a great place to start when designing a button image – and it truly can be – but I recommend caution when beginning with a square image to translate into a round image. You’ll want to make sure the focus of your image is in the center or else it won’t translate well. The exception is if you overlay the square image over a background as this prevents the corners from being cut off. Let’s discuss.

For example, this is an image I created using a variety of apps while sitting on an airplane. I thought it would make an excellent button but the words get cut off because it goes to close to the edges if you try and convert it into a circle.

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So I overlaid the image over a plain image of clouds and it does, in fact, make an excellent button. So Instagram pics can translate well into button images with a little creative design and problem solving.

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You can print and make these buttons here: She Persisited 125 Buttons

How do you inspire teens to create buttons?

To help get our teens thinking creatively and past the idea that they can just print off an image from the Internet and make it into a button (and this is always a great time to talk copyright with your teens), we have put together a variety of button making challenges. You can find those challenge cards here: Button Challenge Card Examples  Button Making Challenge Cards

We always try to have a gallery of examples around to inspire our teen makers.

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Additional Button Making Posts at TLT

TPiB: The Books of Our Heart Button

MakerSpace: Thumbprint Art Buttons

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

MakerSpace: Button Maker Challenges

Things I Learned Visiting the Cincinnati MakerSpace: Fun with Buttons (the beginning of my obsession)

Want to share some of your favorite buttons with me? I would love to see them. Tweet them at me at @tlt16 with the tag #buttonfun. Also, I would love to hear what some of your favorite button challenges might be or answer any questions you might have. Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

MakerSpace: Summer of Shirts Index and Gallery

Here are all the modify your t-shirt posts in one place with a gallery of some of our finished products. Click on the link for the instructions.

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TPIB: Meme ALL the Shirts! (Heather Booth)

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Mod-A-Tee @ Your Library – Fun with T-Shirts: Sharpie Tie-Dye, Puffy Paint, Spray Painting

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Sharpie lettering and spray painting

MakerSpace: Mod-A-Tee Making Hot Glue Stencils and Spraypainting T-Shirts

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Putting on your first coats of paint

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Low Tech, Low Cost “Screenprinting”

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MakerSpace: 5 Ways We Transformed T-Shirts into Something New

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So the Summer of Shirts is over. Last Monday was our last day and we took all the ways we transformed shirts in the previous weeks – Sharpie tie-dye, Low Tech Screen Printing, Transfers, and more (links at end of post) – and taught our teens ways that they could then transform those shirts into something new and different. Here are the five ways that we transformed our t-shirts.

Transformation 1: Infinity Scarf

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To make an infinity scarf, you simply cut your shirt into large circular strips. This scarf is Sharpie tie-dyed and modeled by Thing 2. Instructions: No Sew T-shirt Infinity Scarf Tutorial: 5 Steps

Transformation 2: Headbandtransform4

This is part of a t-shirt cut off and just sewn together to make a headband. It is also Sharpie tie-dyed. Instructions: 3 DIY headbands you can make from old T-shirts – SheKnows

Transformation 3: Tote Bagtransform2

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There are several ways you can make a T-shirt tote bag. They all begin with cutting out the neck and cutting of the sleeves. An easy sew method just has you sewing the bottom of the bag shut. No sew directions: How to Make a Tote Bag From a T-shirt (no sew tote bag). Sew tote bag instructions:  FASTEST RECYCLED T-SHIRT TOTE BAG: 6 Steps (with Pictures)

Transformation 4: Baby Bibtransform3

When you cut the next portion of a t-shirt out to make a bag, depending on how deep you cut your neck, it makes an awesome bib. The trick is to make sure and include the neck band in whatever amount of shirt you cut out. Instructions: https://folkhaven.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/easiest-no-sew-bibs/

Transformation 5: Jewelrytransform6

There are a wide variety of ways that you can turn t-shirts into jewelry. Here we tied pony beads onto strips of t-shirt and braided them together. A great starting place can be found here: 15 Easy Ways to Turn T-Shirts into Jewelry | Brit + Co

The benefit to using t-shirts is that they are actually a pretty cheap starting point. A plain white t-shirt is $2.00 to $3.00 at most major craft stores. And you can also find a wide variety of old, used t-shirts at thrift shops for a t-shirt modification program. In fact, I put up a box in our staff lounge and asked for donations and got a lot because everyone has old t-shirts they are looking for a way to get rid of.

The teens enjoyed the ideas because they are into self-expression and creativity and this was fun, easy, and well within their price range.

MakerSpace: Teaching Teens to Use Canva to Design their Own T-shirts (Laser T-shirt Transfers)