Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPIB: Photo Shrink Jewelry Charms

shrinkydinks4Although we have some permanent stations set up in our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, we also occasionally rotate in some different stations to make sure our teens have a variety of activities to engage in. One of our permanent stations includes a bank of iPads which we encourage the teens to do many things with, including create digital media and do photo manipulation. If you have read many posts here at TLT, you know that I am quite obsessed with photo apps and photo manipulation and creation. It is one of my favorite things to do (my phone currently has 14,000 pictures on it and that is not hyperbole). And I then like to find creative things to do with those photos: like turn them into shrink plastic jewelry.

If you are thinking Shrinky Dinks – well, you are right, kind of. Shrinky Dinks are a brand name, there are other types of shrink plastic. And there is shrink plastic that you can put right into your printer, which is my kind of shrink plastic. So this summer, we made photo shrink plastic jewelry with our teens. Today I’m going to tell you how.

Supplies

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  • 2.25 circle punch. I use this one, but you can also just shape fill a 2.25 circle on your computer’s graphics program and a pair of scissors. I like the circle punch because it is a clean circle and it is quick.
  • Standard single hole punch (1/4 inch)
  • Photo printer shrink plastic, as pictured above. There are a few brand options, just make sure it says photo or printer friendly.
  • Some type of technology and a printer
  • A heat source: I recommend a toaster oven
  • A brown grocery bag or lunch sack
  • A metal tray (this usually comes with your toaster oven)
  • Oven mitts
  • A hot pad or trivet
  • Jewelry making findings and tools

Step 1: Creating your images

Before your can print and shrink your images, you need to create your images. For example, you can use Instagram images. Or use any variety of apps to create the images you would like to create(see below for a list of my favorites). When creating or choosing an already existing image, you want to make sure of two things:

1) That they will fit into the 2.25 inches size nicely and

2) That putting a hole in the top or on the sides – more about this in a moment – won’t obscure the important parts of the image. For example, if you are doing a photo with people you’ll want to make sure that you won’t be cutting off their heads when you put a hole in the top.

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For my example bracelet, The Mr. had created a series of Doctor Who inspired silhouette drawings to decorate The Teens room. I took pictures of those pieces of art and used a variety of apps to add backgrounds, text, etc. I then uploaded the images to my laptop so that I could print them.

Step 2: Printing your images

You’ll want to follow all printing instructions on your shrink plastic. For example, you will want to reduce the color intensity because the colors gets darker when the images shrink.

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For making jewelry charms, after much experimentation, we have found that 2.25 inches is a good size to begin with pre-shrink. In addition, a standard hole punch at the top shrinks down to a good size for a top loop and threading onto some type of jewelry finding. You can alternately put a hole on the left and right side using your hole punch to make a fitted charm bracelet where you loop thread or o rings through both sides of the charm.

After you print your image you’ll want to make sure not to touch the image so that the ink doesn’t smear or smudge.

Step 3: Shrinking your images

Again, you’ll want to follow all the package instructions for using the shrink plastic. Typically you set your toaster oven to 325 degrees. You’ll want to place your images on a piece of brown paper bag that fits inside your toaster oven; this just makes it easier to remove for cooling. The paper goes on the metal tray which you put in the oven (though it also works if you lose the metal tray which I’m not saying I did but the image below proves). When you take the metal tray out you can remove the paper and set it on a heat safe surface to cool. We used a left over piece of ceramic tile, but any type of hot pad or trivet will do.

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The shrinking happens pretty quickly so you need to stay right there and watch your items in the oven. They will briefly curl up and it will scare you because you think, “Oh no, they’re going to fold in on themselves.” And yet somehow they don’t. When they are flat again, wait like 2 beats more and then remove the tray to cool.

We have done this in the library with teens and you want to make sure you have an adult supervising the toaster oven at all times. The items get hot and letting them cool down is essential.

Step 4: Turning your images into jewelry – or something

In the most basic sense, you can thread a single charm onto a basic hemp cord and you have a necklace. You can also string beads between several charms and create a necklace or bracelet. I happen to be lucky and my Assistant Director does chain mail as a hobby and this is a fantastic way to make a charm bracelet. Here are a couple of our creations to give you some ideas.

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Don’t want to make jewelry? Don’t put any holes in your plastic, shrink like normal, slap a magnet on the back and you have one of a kind magnets.

There’s a Book for That

And because we try to have a book for every activity we do or station we create in our Teen MakerSpace, we were very excited to find this book:

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A Couple of Notes

We experimented with other shapes, but found that circles worked best and didn’t have any rough edges that could poke.

You can technically do this with traditional shrink plastic and hand drawn images as well. For example, we found that our teens loved to make their initials or names.

Some of Karen’s Favorite Photo Apps

How Did You Do That? Photo Apps Version

App Review: Prisma

App Review: Aviary

App Review: FotoRus

App Review: Image Chef

Tech Talk: App Review – BeFunky

Generate Marketing Creativity with iPhone Apps

Meme the Apps

More Photo Crafts

Instagram crafts

10 Things to Do with a Blank Canvas part 1 and part 2

Share it! Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

TPIB: Photo Word Bookmarks (Or Instagram Photo Booth Strip Looking Bookmarks)

tb3Sometimes I learn about stuff at the library and go home and do it with my kids, but sometimes I do something at home and it turns out to be a great library/Teen MakerSpace activity. The Teen recently turned 14 and she wanted to have a taco birthday. It was very important to me that we have a taco themed birthday without having a Mexican Fiesta type birthday because this is not our culture and I didn’t want to appropriate it or do something that appeared to be mocking it. But The Teen, she does love tacos, so we had a taco themed birthday.

We ended up having a taco taste test where we drove around to various taco places and ranked their tacos. At the same time, our guests were invited to take pictures to spell out the word “taco” using architecture and every day objects which we would then turn into bookmarks.

The rules were this:

You had to appear in one and only one of the pictures.

You couldn’t use an actual letter, like from a sign.

Have fun, be creative.

If you are doing this in a library, you will want to set some additional parameters and perhaps a time limit.

Materials Needed

  • A photo device of some sort, like a smart phone or tablet
  • Printer
  • Clear contact paper
  • Scissors
  • Craft floss to make a tassel
  • PhotoShake app

This is a fun, quick and easy project to do. After you take the photos, it takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Making the Bookmarks

Participants then texted their pictures to me and I made them into bookmarks using the PhotoShake app. Since I have a bank of iPads in my Teen MakerSpace that each have this app downloaded, it’s easy for us to have the teens email their pics to a generic email to download and make into bookmarks. After receiving the pictures and downloading them, I delete the emails immediately. You could also just use a hashtag and then download the pictures that way if you are worried about email.

Using the PhotoShake App to Make Your Word Photo

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After opening your app, choose the Wide Photo option to make your bookmark.

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At the next screen, you will choose the Horizontal option.

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Select your photos under the Shake option. Then choose Edit. It will ask you if you want to Edit your photos manually, say yes. You can then put your photos into the correct order to spell your word. If you’re not familiar with this app, you’ll want to spend some time getting to know the various things you can do with it. For example, you can erase the borders if you wish. In addition, you can add filters, crop and more.

You will then save your photo, which is found under the Share option. You can then print your and cut your photo to size using your regular print options. Ours looked like this:

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To make the bookmark more durable, we covered both sides in clear contact paper. We then punched a hole in it and added a tassel. Instructions on how to make a bookmark tassel can be found here.

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In addition to spelling fun words like taco, we have also done names and nicknames.

Taking the pictures and seeing how everyone made the letters for their words was the funnest part of all.

As an alternative, you can use this same process to make Photo Booth Strip Bookmarks if you have a green screen or a photo booth in your library. Even if you don’t, it’s a fun and easy way to combine Instagram photos into a Photo Booth Strip Bookmark. You would simply choose the vertical option instead of the horizontal option for your layout.

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TPiB: Sharpie Art! Quick and Easy Programming and MakerSpace Ideas

I’m not sure how it happened, but I am obsessed with Sharpies. They have proven to be very popular resources in our Teen MakerSpace. Yes, really. Whenever we have an activity in the Teen MakerSpace, we try to have corresponding books in the Teen MakerSpace. Sometimes we come up with an activity and search for support books, other times we find activities by browsing through the books in our Maker Collection.

There are several go to publisher’s that I search regularly to find maker related titles for our Maker Collection, and one of those publishers is Quarto books. We have a fairly large number of titles by them in the space and one of my favorites is this:

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Sharpie Art Workshop has inspired a lot of fun quick and easy Maker activities for us in the Teen MakerSpace. One of the most popular has been our Sharpie Post It Note Art Gallery . . .

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This title by Quarto is a good companion book for the Sharpie Art Workshop because it talks about lettering and has some coloring pages in the back.

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In fact, there is a page of reading/book related book marks in the back which we used as the inspiration for our Sharpie Book Mark station recently.

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We also have Sharpie Art Buttons as one of the challenges for our Button Making Station. Here are some examples of the artwork that our teens have created.

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We also made small canvases available and the teens made some small canvas art. This robot is my favorite thing ever. The mini canvases cost about $1.47 at the local craft shop or you can buy a bulk order of Amazon for about $1.00 a canvas.

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Here’s The Teen in action making a Sharpie Art Button.

buttons18 buttons15 buttons6We’re six months out now from creating our Teen MakerSpace and we have found that we like to have quick and easy activities to add. We have also found that they don’t have to always be tech heavy. In fact, many of our teens seem to enjoy drawing, coloring and more traditional crafts, so we are working on making sure to provide a variety of both tech and traditional crafts in our Teen MakerSpace. Sharpie art gives us a lot of easy options with just a few tools. And if you make sure and buy your Sharpies during a good sale, it’s not that expensive.

Doing Sharpie art has all been a good reminder for me that not all programming as to be elaborate and well planned. If teens seem to be bored, I can just bust out the Sharpies and challenge them to make something – anything. I’m always surprised by what they come up with.

MakerSpace: Thumbprint Art Buttons

You might think that teens would not be interested in doing thumbprint art. I thought that. It turns out, we would both be wrong. That is the takeaway from this past week, at least for me. I was right there with you, I too was worried that my teens would not be into doing thumbprint art. But I needed a quick and easy maker project for an outreach event and this worked amazingly well for me.

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It began on May the 4th. At a previous location I had done Star Wars thumbprint doodles – I happen to have mine and The Teen’s framed at my house – so I thought it might be fun to do them in the Teen MakerSpace and make them into buttons. But I worried that perhaps teens would think it was a little too juvenile. I worried unnecessarily. It turns out thumbprint art is really fun, easy and makes for some really cool buttons.

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Then I fell down the rabbit hole of thumbprint art. It is vast it turns out. In fact, I put together a Pinterest board of thumbprint art resources which you can find here. It’s amazing the amount of creativity that can be applied to a simple thumbprint.

Fast forward to Friday. I did our first Teen MakerSpace outreach event at the local First Fridays. I decided that doing thumbprint art buttons would be a big hit and I was not wrong. In the space of about3 1/2 hours I made over 150 buttons and we hands down had the most popular table.

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I put together some example sheets and had example buttons on the table, and for the most part the kids and teens made something they saw on the examples. I also pre-made all the circles for the activity so that they would say The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County on them. This meant that we got a lot of free advertising as 150+ kids and teens walked around wearing buttons with our library name on them. Although our makerspace is for teens, we opened the activity up to all ages on the public square because we knew that it would be good promotion for our library, our space and our upcoming summer reading challenges.

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As I mentioned, 99.9% of participants chose and made their thumbprint into something they saw on an example sheet. This teen, however, turned his thumbprint into a grenade and I didn’t know whether I should be impressed by his creativity or terrified of his murderous tendencies. I ultimately decided I was impressed with his creativity; I hadn’t even seen a grenade in any of the examples I saw online.

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As an outreach activity, it worked really well. I was able to put my supplies into one box: stamp pads (min pads, 12 for $4.99 at Michael’s), fine point Sharpies, button supplies and the button maker. Plus, I had a lot less supplies to pack up after the end of the day because they had used all the button supplies. I call this a win.

Then on Saturday I continued the thumbprint button theme to end Scholastic’s “I Read YA” promotional event in our Teen MakerSpace by making “I Read YA” and “I Love YA” thumbprint buttons.

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Buttons have turned out to be really popular for us in the Teen MakerSpace, though it has mainly consisted up to this point of teens cutting up magazines or printing off pictures and making them into buttons. There is nothing wrong with this, but adding the thumbprint art component allowed us to add a little more of the “A” for art into our Teen MakerSpace. In fact, yesterday I ordered several Fingerprint Art books and am going to be doing some Fingerprint Art challenges periodically to help keep those creative juices flowing. There are several options out there, including this series of fingerprint art books:

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I’m also thinking that fingerprint art might be fun for some stop motion animation challenges.

So here’s what I learned last week:

I shouldn’t underestimate teenagers. (Hey, even the best of us sometimes need to be reminded of this.)

Fingerprint art is fun, creative and easy.

Making 150 buttons in a little over 3 hours is great publicity for the library, but it is also exhausting.

Food TPiB: Mug It Edition

Yesterday I talked about cooking with a waffle iron, today were using a mug and a microwave. My source of inspiration: Mug It by Pam McElroy from Zest Books. I can also do this kind of cooking, and it’s a great teen activity. If I can do it, a teen can. And The Teen, The Bestie and I tested it out for you.

mugit3All you need to make this work is a mug (and in some cases a mason jar), ingredients and a microwave. It’s quick and easy. Some of the recipes are even healthy. In fact, Mug It! have a lot of salads in a jar. I liked this because I want to balance healthy eating habits with fun things like waffle cooking. The pictures from inside the book below come directly from the Zest Books website.

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We tried out a variety of the recipes. We began with a cake in a mug, because of course that’s where you would begin. Cake!

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This was yummy. In fact, I lost my cake to Thing 2 who was only going to take a bite and then she ate the entire thing.

We next tried macaroni and cheese in a mug. The Teen and I are very fond of mac & cheese and I was excited to learn you could cook it in a mug.

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For our version we used gluten free pasta and once we figured out how to cook the noodles correctly it worked really well.

Cooking in a mug is actually really popular. I frequently see posts on Buzzfeed and in my FB feed. Having a recipe book was nice. And I liked this one because it has color pictures, which is a must in my cookbook requirements. If you don’t have pictures of the recipes and they aren’t in full color that is a deal breaker for me.

In addition to doing a fun Iron Chef/Chopped type program with mug cooking, adapting the post from yesterday, this book would also make a great gift. Let’s be real, a lot of teens spend some time in the home alone and they have to cook for themselves. And I would have loved to have had this when I was a college student living in the dorms. If you are going to do a series of food programs, I would do something like this:

What days would you add? A post-apocalyptic survival cooking camp would also be fun. Remember, it can be a long running series or it could be a weeklong event – which would be fun for Spring Break. Teens come every day, learn about nutrition and cooking, and they get to eat! I may not be a fan of cooking, but I do love to eat!

Additional Resources

Cooking Programs for Teens

Food Based TPiBs

TPiB: DIY Instagram Magnetic Duct Tape Frames

instagram2 I am, as I believe we have discussed, obsessed with Instgram. Not so much the app as a social media tool, in fact my Instagram account is private in part because I take so many pictures and I figure everyone would be annoyed if they actually followed me. I like the filters and the light effects and the cute little square sizes.

Also, you should know that I use Instagram completely wrong. I take my picture using the regular smart phone camera and then I run it through Instagram so I can enlarge areas that I want, create the lighting that I want, etc. Sometimes I will run a picture through Instagram multiple times to see which effects I like best.

Last week I did something stunning and I actually printed some off. Then we went and bought frames. The frames run anywhere from $3 to $15. This, I thought, is something we can definitely do as a MakerSpace activity. So The Teen and I spent the weekend figuring it out. The black and white frame is our inspiration and the look we were trying to emulate.

First, a note about printing out Instagram pictures:

You can, of course, download your Instagram pics to your regular computer and use some type of a program to print them off. If you have your printer set up correctly, you can also print wirelessly using airprint. HOWEVER, if you print an Instagram picture directly from your photos folder on your smartphone it will stretch out and print 4×6. This is not the desired effect that you want. You can not print wirelessly directly from the Instagram app. BUT you can download an app called Print Your Insta and it will print your Instagram photo in the small square format. The app is technically free, but you have to buy the 99 cent upgrade to remove the watermark. This app will print your Instagram print directly from your Instagram account at a 3.5 by 3.5 size.

Materials and Supplies

instagram4 We started with the model of the picture frame that we had purchased. It’s a great size and magnetic on the back so it fits perfectly in school lockers. To recreate this size and look we used the following:

One piece of photo matte board. We recommend 4.5 by 4.5 or 5 by 5 in size.

Clear contact paper. If you have access to it, those clear dry erase sheets that we used to use for overhead projectors also works. You will cut it the same size as your photo matte board.

Duct tape of choice.

Magnets. We used a roll of magnets because it was the cheapest and I don’t really recommend these magnets. Buy stronger individual magnets because the roll of magnet tape was hard to get to stay flat and it wasn’t as strong as other magnets.

The normal items like paper cutters and scissors come in handy as well.

The DIY Process

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Cut your photo out. You want to leave a small white edge along the border for taping it down. This white edge also provides a great guide for duct taping to help keep your edges straight, bonus.

In order to help the photo stay on the photo matte we used a small piece of acid free scrapbooking tape. We then taped the photo into the center of the matte board.

With our photo in place, we used our duct tape to cover the edges to create a cool border. Because we are perfectionists, we also completely covered the back. You don’t need to do this, it wastes tape to be perfectly honest, but we liked how it created a cleaner, cohesive look.

Apply your magnets to the back.

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Voila – you have a fun Maker project. We made a ton for The Teen to give to all of her friends to put in their lockers as we perfected the process. My fridge is also now covered in them. Since we bought the items in bulk, as we create more framed pictures the cost goes down. More importantly, we got to have fun together while making unique, one of kind items to preserve precious memories and decorate our home.

For more fun program ideas, including more ideas of what to do with your Instagram pictures, check out our Teen Programs in a Box.

5 Reasons Why Maker Days/Labs/Spaces Can Trump Traditional Library Programming

As I approached my position as the YA coordinator at a new library, one of the things I knew I wanted to do was to evaluate my maker programming and try and recreate the parts of it that were successfull while making any necessary changes to improve on the model. And since it was a new idea for this library, I had to be able to prove that there was some benefit into adopting a maker lab model of programming, especially since it can involve a high initial cost. When you are asking administrators to spend money, you need to have some good, solid reasoning for how and why that money is going to be spent. So I went to my new administrators asking that we make that investment of time and money into a maker lab/space so that we could move away from more traditional library programming.

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First, let me define what I am meaning here when I use the term “traditional library programming”. For many YS and YA librarians, we are tasked with continually coming up with programs based around an idea or a theme. For example, you might host a Doctor Who party with a variety of Doctor Who activities or a Mockingjay release party. Traditionally, we are tasked with coming up with a program theme and then create a program around that theme. It can involve a currently popular book, movie or tv show, it can be a craft, or it can be related to a specific medium, such as an anime club. I have been doing programs like these for 20+ years and I understand the who, what, when, why and where of them. I am in no way going to suggest that we should stop doing them. I am, however, going to suggest that we do less of them and develop more programs like MakerSpaces – whether permanent installations or a rotating program like Maker Mondays – to be the primary foundation of tween and teen programming in our libraries.

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In comparison, I have been hosting a regular Maker Mondays for a couple of years now at two different libraries. At The Public Library of Mount Vernon of Knox County (OH), I have 3 carts loaded up with a variety of maker stations that include things like Legos, Little Bits, button makers and more. I go in on a Monday, set up the make lab, and have an open program for several hours. I take a laptop with me so that I can work on book orders or research more maker items (you can rotate new stations in and out to keep it fresh) or answer email in the event that I have a down time with no patrons in the library. Though to be honest, I have yet to have any down time during one of these open labs, even on days when I have had the make lab space open for five hours. They are popular and busy.

So what makes a maker lab/space more desirable than engaging in more traditional library programming? I’m glad you asked.

1. Predictability Drives Up Attendance Numbers

If I have a maker lab or Maker Monday every Monday from say 3 to 9 PM, teens and staff know when upcoming programming is taking place. Having a regularly occurring program with a set schedule eliminates the guess work for our intended audience; it helps them develop a regular routine of coming to the library. My teens at my previous library knew that on Mondays they can come to the library after school and hang out and make stuff. This is the same principle that is applied with things like teen cafes, teen hangouts, or homework help sessions. There’s no carrying around calendars or looking events up on the webpage only to realize that you’ve missed something really cool, it’s regular and predictable and becomes a part of everyone’s routine.

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2. Provides Developmentally Appropriate Opportunities for Self Direction and Exploration

It’s fun to have a trivia night or for everyone to go from station to station during a Harry Potter party, but it’s also developmentally appropriate to give teens the space and freedom to engage in some self directed behaviors, to give them an opportunity to make choices about how they want to spend their time, what they want to create, and what they want to explore. A maker lab or space does this. I have a variety of options, they get to choose what they do or don’t do. It’s empowering, it’s asset building, and it helps them transition into the oncoming storm of independence.

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3. Balances Hands On Learning with Opportunities for Social Interaction

I have routinely found that one of the things that most teens primarily want in library events is a time for social interaction. If you can provide an opportunity for teens to do something and be social, it’s win-win. Part of the large appeal with something with like Rainbow Looms, which were a huge deal not too long ago, is that it is something simple you can do with your hands while sitting around a table and talking with your friends. I like having a couple of maker stations on hand that create this same time of atmosphere for teens. The teens who wish to can go work together on robotics and being really involved with that process, while other teens can do something that requires less attentiveness and catch up with their friends in a safe environment.

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4.Creates a Better Time Management Scenario

Programming and collection development are the two parts of my job that require the most amount of time. At one library I worked at they hired an operations manager from the corporate world with no library experience, she put together a spread sheet for all the librarians of how they should be spending their forty hours a week and allotted one hour to programming. This was an impossible scenario because I was required to have a weekly one hour program, but programming involves more than just this one hour. I had to research each program, deciding which activities we would do, purchase and organize staff and supplies, market the program, set up the program, execute the program and then clean up after the program. Having a regularly recurring maker lab/space cuts down on the amount of time I spend researching, setting up and marketing a program, freeing up more time for me to do other things, like school visits or innovate new elements for the library like our circulating maker kits.

In addition, having a regularly recurring event is easy to brand, which cuts down on the amount of time you spend creating and distributing marketing materials. If you develop publicity materials for your maker space, including a unique logo, then you are kind of set in the marketing department. It’s easy to go in an change dates, re-print, push out notifications on your social media pages. Where as every time you have a new, unique program you have to start from scratch with your marketing effort.

Even if I continue to have say one additional program every month or every other month, like a Paper Towns or Mockingjay release party, the regular maker lab/space gives me more time to research and put together higher quality programs for these bigger events as opposed to having a lot of smaller programs that have to be researched, organized and marketed. Even though I am engaging in what appears to be more regular programming, each individual program takes up less background work, giving me more time for other things.

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5. Has Larger General Audience Appeal

If I have a Doctor Who party, which I have and definitely will again, I am creating an event with a more limited audience. Each time we pick a program theme, we are pre-selecting and limiting our audience. A Doctor Who party appeals to Doctor Who fans, an anime club appeals to anime fans, a gaming night appeals to gamers, etc. When we create a larger event with a variety of activity choices, like a maker lab/space, we are creating programs that are more open for the general public. We are inviting a larger target audience into our space, serving a more diverse portion of our local communities.

A good maker labe/space would involve high and low tech options, you can even throw a craft station or two in there. Right out of the gate, because there is no theme except come make stuff, you are opening your event up to a larger portion of the population. At a recent Maker Monday I had around 75 tweens and teens come in and make stuff with me, that’s more than I get at most of my regular themed programs, except of course for something like a Harry Potter night.

And as I said, I’m not going to stop having some traditionally themed programs, I am just transitioning the ratio of my programming for the reasons stated above. And as the maker movement eventually phases out in popularity, which it probably will, I’ll have to rethink my programming strategy once again. I have been doing this for 20+ years now, this is the strategy that is working for me now, it’s different than the strategy that I used 5 years ago, and I’m sure it will be different than the strategy I use 5 years from now. Being a good YA librarian means paying attention to the needs of my audience and making changes when needed. This is what works best for me now, and as long as it continues to do so I will keep doing it. But you and I both know that won’t be forever. Librarianship is all about change; the core of who we are and what we do remains the same, but the tools we use and the ways in which we do it change from time to time.

MakerSpace Notes:

My Original Mobile Makerspace (the text below)
My Updated Mobile Makerspace
MakerSpace Tech Tools Comparison Chart
The Unboxing and Learning Curve
Exploring Circulating Maker Kits and Circulating Maker Kits part 2 with a Book List
The Maker Bookshelf/Collection (with a book list)
Strawbees part 1 and part 2
Things I Learned Visiting the Cincinnati MakerSpace: Fun with Buttons! Edition
Creating and Using an iPad Lab in Your Library
Take 5: 5 Tools for Movie Making in Your MakerSpace
Take 5: The Robot Test Kitchen Reading List

TPiB: Comic Book Creations

Today I am hosting my first Teen program for this year’s super hero themed program. This is hands down my favorite SRC theme to date. So many cool, easy and fun things to do. Today I’m just having a kind of informal comic themes Maker program where we will cut up discarded graphic novels/manga/comic books to make a wide variety of crafts.

1. Upcycled Bottle Cap Crafts

Bottle cap crafts are quick and easy. You can make magnets. You can hang a washer with a magnet on a string and make easily interchangeable necklaces. And since we’re using GNs and comics we can use pictures or catchy phrases.

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To make the bottle cap crafts you need:

  • Some type of pictures (here I used discarded GNs)
  • A 1 inch hole punch
  • Bottle caps
  • 1 inch circle epoxy stickers
  • Some type of glue to glue the picture into the bottle cap
  • Magnets

To make the necklace: tie a washer to a string long enough for a bracelet or necklace. Attach a magnet to the washer. You can then easily interchange bottle caps to change out your jewelry.

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I also bought a variety of comic book and super hero themed duct tape which will work really well for making button crafts as well. In addition, I bought photo mats and my goal is to have the teens use the duct tape to cover photo mats and frame their GNs pages with it.

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2. Upcycled Buttons

Buttons are actually really popular with my teens. Cutting up GNs and comics to make them is quick and easy.

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3. Turn an old GN into a new (and personalized) GN

I cut up a bunch of discarded GNs to make my own GN. You could glue it to a piece of paper. I happen to have a bunch of various size acrylics to decorate my teen area so I went ahead and made it into a mural/wall art.

comiccraft5

4. Make collages

The above wall art came about actually quite by accident. I started making a simple collage to frame because we have a ton of smaller acrylic frames that were donated and I knew they would make a fun craft for teens to take home. Then I just kind of got carried away and made it into a wall panel. But a basic collage works as well.

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5. Make your own comic strips & gn pages

I am going to be doing this portion of the program in two ways.

BY HAND

comiccrafts8On Amazon I was able to order a few different comic book creation tools that had long comic strip sheets for teens to fill in and graphic novel templates. You can find them here and here.

BY TECHNOLOGY

comicbk3I made the above comic page using an iPhone and the ComicBook app. I wrote previously about comic book creation tools here.

Be a Changemaker Workshops

beachangemakerSometime last year I got a call from Kirsten Cappy at Curious City asking if I wanted to help her write a series of workshops supporting a book called Be a Changemaker by Laurie Ann Thompson. If you aren’t familiar with Curious City, it’s a site where you can find a variety of book based library program ideas with easy to personalize and use publicity materials. I was familiar with Curious City because I had used Kristen’s materials in a previous teen summer reading program. Because I end up having to develop so many program ideas and publicity materials from scratch, it’s nice to find a resource I can use that is less time intensive.

Curious City facilitates children’s literature discovery by creating marketing tools that engage readers with story. “

So Kirsten and I spent a year developing a curriculum, brainstorming ideas, and writing out detailed “lesson plans” or workshop outlines to help librarians lead teens through a multi-part workshop that would encourage teens to be changemakers in their local communities. The premise, for me, became something like what I try to do with Teen Programs in a Box: here are a bunch of ideas and resources, pick and choose the ones that work best for you in terms of your resources and community and bam – you have a program.

I was excited that it was about this book, this topic, because I believe in the power of teens to be a positive force for change in our world. That’s what a changemaker is, someone who sees a problem and works to help address it. Teens do this everyday as we see in moments like the Halo Awards that recognize kids and teens for their amazing achievements and positive contributions to this world. Be a Changemaker takes teens through a variety of steps that begin with brainstorming what problems you would like to address, what your passions are and then leads you through the process of basically organizing a small group of people around a plan to help try and address that problem. Whether it be creating a plan to collect discarded crayons from restaurants or finding a way to help encourage sick kids in your local community, teens can and do start amazing initiatives and this is a great tool to help them do it.

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The workshops we created are available for free in PDF form at the Curious City website. They include workshop outlines, some basic support materials like handouts and worksheets, and publicity materials that you can download and personalize with your library (or school) information to promote your workshop. You can find it all here: http://www.curiouscitydpw.com/2015/05/10/be-a-changemaker-workshops/. In all there are a total of 6 workshops. I tried to take what I know about what makes programs successful and apply them to these workshops. We tried to make sure they were engaging, with lots of hands on activities and opportunities for self exploration and self expression.

Teens can change the world. These workshops and this book can help inspire and challenge them to do it.

More on the Book:

Be a Changemaker: How to 
Start Something that Matters

By Laurie Ann Thompson
Foreword by Bill Drayton
Published by Beyond Words/Simon Pulse
For Ages: 12 and up
Hardcover ISBN: 9781582704654, $19.99
Paperback ISBN: 9781582704647, $12.99

Book Review and Program Ideas: Playing with Surface Design by Courtney Cerruti

When The Mr. and I were in college, he was an art major. I had the distinct privilege of of learning about an array of artistic ideas while watching him take classes. Because of this experience, or perhaps just because of the moments we’ve shared and the influence he has had on me, I’ve always had a tendency to involve arts and crafts into my teen programming in the library. As someone who intensely values self expression and learning, I think it is great to offer teens an introduction to a wide variety of mediums, techniques and opportunities to explore. You never know what might just click with them.

When looking for teen program ideas, I find that it is helpful to be aware of what books are in my nonfiction area. I try to thumb through them when new one comes in, making a note of any ideas I might want to tuck away for future use. Sometimes I will find a single activity that I adore and later use at a theme program, like a Doctor Who party. Other times I might find an idea or technique that I want to build a whole program around, like t-shirt alteration.

Playing with Surface Design is a book that is all about using things like stamps, inks, paints, etc. to alter the surface of something to create a new sort of something. With just a few simple techniques, you can upcycle something you buy at a thrift store to make it uniquely your own, for example. Or you can create your own package wrapping and ribbons, giving something that homemade touch that seems to say I love you and went through this extra step of effort. Or you can take a pair of thrift store shoes and make them new and personal.

Playing with Surface Design discusses four main types of surface altering: monoprinting with gelatin, paste paper, credit card painting and mark making. Mark making is literally doing things like making random marks on a piece of paper – and yes, it can mean scribbling – and then using that paper to make cool designs. Gelatin is like doing printing but instead of using a traditional ink you use a gel based ink. Paste paper involves using various combs and tools to make patterns on paper using paste and pigments. Don’t worry, it’s all explained really well at the beginning of the book.

Here are some examples of ways that you could use this book in teen programming:

1. Paste Paper Mobile

One program that I have done multiple times is a program called Renovate Your Room. It’s all about teaching teens simple things they can do to re-decorate their room on a budget. I will usually have a local interior design person come in to discuss basic things like layout and design, color theory, and even feng shui. Another activity I sometimes do is use a stack of discarded magazines and have them create a collage of their dream room using pictures cut from the magazines. And then we might do a simple activity, like some duct tape crafts that you can add into your room to give it some flair. On page 41, Cerruti goes through the steps of creating a paste paper mobile. This would be a great hands on activity for this type of a program. Also, if you were having a thematic teen program it would be fun to create a mobile for a background decoration.

Some of the other activities that would be great for a Renovate Your Room type of program include Painted Pillow Cover (p. 47), Color Play Lampshade (p. 53) and Scribble Garland (p. 81).

2. Making Polka Dots

I can’t believe I have never thought of this myself, but in the section on Study in Circles: Tea Towels (page 43), Cerutti shares how you can use bubble wrap and ink pads to make polka dots. You could do this, for example, in a t-shirt alternation program, or in a program where you make your own journals, papers, gift wrap and more. It’s quick, simple and kind of genius.

3. Framed Photo Mats

One of my favorite things to do with my teens is to do photography types of activities using apps with a variety of filters – it involves tech!  With the right tools – a smart phone or table and access to a printer – you can do a wide variety of fun programs with teens creating pictures, whether they be selfies, photobooths, or thematic. You could combine that with a program where you make your own photo mats using the techniques in Playing with Surface Design.

4. Back to School Crafts

There are a variety of activities that would be fun to include in a back to school program including Moder Black-And-White Book Covers (p. 69) Patterned Notebooks (p. 73), Making Marks Postcards (p. 77).

5. Earth Day Printmaking

As little kids, almost all of us did crayon rubbings of leaves and twigs and liked the outcome. Bold Botanical Prints (p. 61) takes those rubbings to the next level and teaches the basics of gelatin printmaking. The prints can then be framed and displayed in your teen area, or taken home.

Some of the other activities mentioned include making personalized notecards, stamping wrapping paper, making marbled tassles, and creating stamped-envelope keepsake pouches.

Other titles in this book series include Washi Tape (which I love) and Playing with Image Transfers (which I want desperately). There are some examples of artists working in the filed in the final portion of the book and I think it helps make the art real, pairing it to names and examples of people doing this type of art in the real world.

This book excited me with all of the creative ways I thought of using it in my personal life and teen programming. I found the directions to be pretty thorough and easy to follow. I definitely recommend it.

This book was sent to me for review as part of our Quarto Week here at TLT. Later today we will be hosting a giveaway for 5 of the books we chose for you.

About Quarto Publishing Group

The Quarto Publishing Group (formerly Quayside Publishing Group) books have earned a reputation for style and quality in the fields of art, crafts, hobbies, food and drink, nature, lifestyle, reference and children’s. The children’s program just launched in 2014 with the creation of Walter Foster Jr., but expanded dramatically with the “coming home” of our Quarto UK imprints Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and QEB Publishing, now formally published through Quarto USA.  In addition, a number of our general and specialty book imprints, such as Quarry Books, Motorbooks, and Race Point, publish books on history, craft, art, and other topics of interest to teen readers.  Visit us know at www.quartous.com and beginning this June at www.QuartoKnows.com.