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

shrinkydins

  • 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.

shrinkydinks3  shrinkydinks

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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:

shrinkshrankshrunk

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

App Review & Blended Pic Tutorial: Fused (with an assist from the Silhouette app)

Monday my co-blogger Heather Booth sent me a text that said,” you might really like this app called Fused.” She had no idea what she was starting as I quickly became obsessed, for the MakerSpace and my teens of course! Using the app I was able to create these images:

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The “Love You” overlay in this picture is from Aviary.

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I used a silhouette of Thing 2 and blended it with a great pic of her.

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I used a silhouette of The Teen doing The Dumplin’ Pose with a picture of crowns to create this ode to Dumplin’.

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A picture of stairs overlaid with a silhouette that comes stock with the Fused app.

This pic was further enhanced using an effect in Space Effects and adding Text in Aviary. It took 4 apps to make this picture. I'm probably doing it wrong.

This pic was further enhanced using an effect in Space Effects and adding text in Aviary. It took 4 apps to make this picture. I’m probably doing it wrong.

Now I have been seeing images like this online for years and coveted knowing how to make them. And I’m not going to lie, there was a bit of a learning curve. Here’s how it works, you select a background image and a foreground image and the Fused app blends the two images together. It sounds simple, but there are a few key tricks that improve your outcome.

Tricks and Tips To Keep in Mind

1. It is helpful, though not necessary depending on what you hope to create, if your background image is a black and white silhouette. I found an app called Silhouette to help create this image, more on this in a minute.

2. A big key to your success if having 2 images that are both well taken photographs and that line up well together. For example, I tried to combine a baby silhouette picture of my girls with a current picture of them to show how they have grown and it was hard finding two pictures that lined up well so there faces weren’t being obscured in weird ways. Like, in one attempt you could only see Thing 2’s chin, which didn’t create a very successful end product.

3. Having a nature picture or just a cool colored photo works well, too. Try taking a picture of a neon sign, a sunset, or clouds. These images blend well with others and you don’t have to worry as much about the ways the pictures line up. This image uses a picture of the moon a friend of mine took (used with permission) and a silhouette provided in the Fused app.

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A silhouette of Thing 2 blended with a picture of the cloudy sky that I took.

First Step: Create Your Background Silhouette Using the Silhouette App

As I mentioned, I used an app called Silhouette to create the background silhouette for blending purposes. Here you need to start with a picture that has a stark contrast to begin with. If you can, pose yourself or your subject in front of a white or a dark wall and take your photo in black and white. Here’s my initial photo that I used:

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I then used the Silhouette app to make it into the black and white silhouette I needed for the Fused app:

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A picture with a darker background and a lighter focal point, say a person, will create a white or negative space silhouette.

Darker background with a lighter focal point=white (negative space) silhouette

Darker background with a lighter focal point = white (negative space) silhouette

A picture with a lighter background and a darker focal point will create a black silhouette.

A lighter background with a darker focal point=a black silhouette

A lighter background with a darker focal point = a darker silhouette

Either one works, they just work differently as the Fused app will color in the white space – the negative space – with your other photo. Of course black and white are relative terms, I should probably say negative and positive space The Mr. would say, because you can use an RGB slide bar to colorize your silhouette.

Left: A silhouette of Thing 2 colorized blue Right: Same silhouette blended with a pic of the sky after being spiffed up with the Space Effects app

Left: A silhouette of Thing 2 colorized blue
Right: Same silhouette blended with a pic of the sky after being spiffed up with the Space Effects app

There is also an Invert option that can be used to toggle between a colored or a white silhouette:

The same silhouette from directly above using the Invert option.

The same silhouette from directly above using the Invert option.

It is also helpful to have as little in the background as possible to create your silhouette. Ideally, you would pose your subject in front of a blank wall in a contrasting color.

The above silhouette examples were made using this initial picture, taken at night and lightened. It would have worked better without the dark edges near the top of the frame.

The above silhouette examples were made using this initial picture, taken at night and lightened. It would have worked better without the dark edges near the top of the frame.

And as I mentioned, you do not have to use a black and white silhouette, I just found that Fused app worked better if I did. Insructables has some more information on how to create a photo silhouette. Digital photography school also has some information about photographing silhouettes.

Don’t want to use an app? Here’s a tutorial for creating a silhouette using iPiccy.com

Second Step: Using the Fused App

After saving this to my camera roll, I uploaded it as my background picture in Fused. As my foreground I used this picture:

fused1

The Fused app gives you several blending options and you just kind of play around with them to find an option that you like best. Within each option it also has a slide bar which allows you to increase the contrast and blend. I used the “screen” option with the two pictures above to create this:

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Please note, Fused does not actually have an add text option. I added the text using the Aviary app that I reviewed last week.

I love and highly recommend both of these apps. It takes a little bit of time and trial and error, and some attention to details, to get a good end product; however, as I learned more what worked and what didn’t it became easier to use. The key is having good pictures to start with and it probably won’t surprise you to know that I have tons of those to experiment with.

If you want to get highly sophisticated and have access to Photoshop, here’s a tutorial for creating the same types of effects using that program.

And here is a free online program you can use to create a double exposure effect.

I made this really quickly with the free online double exposure program.

I made this really quickly with the free online double exposure program.

About Fused

BlendPic and InstantBlend are apps similar to Fused that you can also try. I was not able to use InstandBlend as successfully as I was Fused and I have not tried BlendPic. All of them have additional in app purchases. I paid for the upgrade for the Fused app after deciding I really liked it to remove the watermark from my images. In future upgrades of the app I hope that they consider better undo options.

About Silhouette

It’s free and does cool things so no harm, no foul.

Fused also can be used to make videos, but I have no idea how to do that part yet.

Now I’m sure there will be someone out there who will tell me there is a much easier way to do this. :)

TPiB: How to Make a Photo Meme

memes7 The Teen, The Bestie, some neighborhood kids and I spent the weekend perfecting our Meme process so that I could add a new station to my Maker Mondays. Our goal was to combine using technology with something artistic to create a great STEAM project that allowed teens to learn some new skills, explore some photography basics, and have a chance at self-expression. After creating our memes we then used this TPiB to turn our Memes into Magnetic Duct Tape Locker Frames.

The Urban Dictionary defines a Meme as “1 : an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media) ” (Source) So what the teens were trying to do was create their own meme ideas that may or may not of course go viral. But that really wasn’t the point, the point was to learn the creation process.

Step 1: Take Your Picture

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We used smart phones and a variety of apps for this activity, though tablets or even a digital camera and a laptop with some photo editing software would do. Here we talked about composition, lighting and basic layout. The A Beautiful Mess blog has some great photography tutorials. For the purposes of our activity we took a regular picture using the basic camera so that we would have a natural image that we could try various ways of manipulating to see what we liked best. That way, if we ended up going a step too far we had a clean image to start over with.

We also talked about how you could create a basic image and make it artistic. With the right lighting and quote, even a park bench can make for an amazing picture.

Also, this is a really great time to talk about copyright. We made sure that all images were created by us in order to avoid any copyright issues. We discussed why it was important that the original image be created by you and how you couldn’t just download other images from the web or Instagram.

Step 2: Manipulate Your Image

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We then ran our images through a variety of apps to see what we could do. We played around with filters, borders, overlays, vignettes, contrast and more.

Some of the apps we used included:

  • Be Funky: our hands down favorite for filters and adding text all in one
  • Photo Candy: great for overlays and warping images
  • Diptic: creates multiple panel creations
  • PhotoShake: creates grid photos, which proved very popular
  • A Beautiful Mess: has some fun whimsical elements

Some of the apps we tried and were less enthusiastic about include Candy Cam, Font Killer, Space Effects and Insta Blend. These apps either proved too limited in what they could do or were so complicated we couldn’t figure out how to use them well. Please note, some of these apps cost a fee.

Step 3: Add Your Text

meme3

Part of the fun was in creating text to go with our images. We used things like:

  • Reading or book related themes (see Fall Into Reading above)
  • Our favorite book, tv and movie quotes
  • And we made a lot – and I do mean A LOT – of Doctor Who themed ones.

To create the Doctor Who themed ones I took a picture of some canvas art made by The Mr:

meme1

And then we ran them through the Be Funky app and added text:

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They look amazing printed out!

You can easily add text in many of the apps above, like the Be Funky app, which is the app we used to make the Doctor Who pics above. But if you don’t mind multiple steps and the app you are using doesn’t have a font you like you can always use the Over app to add text to a picture. This is my favorite app for adding text.

Step 4: Share Your Photo/Meme

Because we created our Photos/Memes on a smart phone, they were really easy for the teens to just upload and share on their social media. Some of the things you can do with your photos/memes include:

For my Maker Mondays (which I hope to turn into a MakerSpace soon), my ideal would be to have at least one iPad with all the above apps loaded so that teens can come in and play around with the images on their own as well as in programs. We would of course provide some directions and examples, but I think it would be a great way to get teens hands on tech while encouraging them to explore creative design and engage in self expression.

For more on Makerspaces and reviews of some of the apps mentioned above, go here.

You can see a gallery of some of our photo memes here.

Creating and Using an iPad Technology Lab as Part of a Library Teen Makerspace

As part of my teen area Makerspace, I want to buy a number of iPads. Here is some of the information I have been putting together to discuss the who, what, when, where and why of it for my library administration. The iPad can be used in a variety of ways to incorporate more technology in teen programming, from gaming to teaching things like photo manipulation and creating short films. You can also use it as a platform for your library’s social media such as Tumblr and Instagram.

makerspaceBasic iPad Information:

iPad comparison chart: http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/#comparison-chart

This information will help you compare and contrast things like cost, storage capacity and more.

Things you can do with an iPad Tech Lab:

Teach and create a variety of photo manipulation techniques. These photos can then be used in house for display purposes, in marketing materials, and share via social media. They can be incorporated into bookmarks, posters, flyers, end cap displays and more.

  • Basic gaming
  • Create a variety of videos which can be shared and used both in house and online using apps like iMovies, Stop Motion or basic GIF apps life GIFfer.
  • Pair with the Lego Makerspace to create a variety of Lego based activities to combine tech with Lego fun. Adds variety to Lego Makerspace.
  • Produce and share music
  • Engage in social media marketing with teen audience

Apps of Interest

Basic Apps you’ll want to have downloaded: Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter

Gaming Apps

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Price point: $6.99

The popular game brought to iPad, not a full version

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/minecraft-pocket-edition/id479516143?mt=8

For further investigation: 70 Best iPad Games New for 2015 http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/best-ipad-games/

Photo Manipulation Tools

GIFFER

Price point: $2.99

The animated gif app, use to make GIF or short stop motion pictures. Easily upload photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/giffer-the-animated-gif-app/id416952536?mt=8

App review post with examples: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2014/10/app-review-lego-makerspace-fun-giffer-using-legos-to-tell-stories-and-learn-how-to-make-gifs/

Be Funky

Price Point: Basic app is free, but I bought the additional packages which included several effects. Similarly, the basic online service is free but there is an upgrade option.

What you can do:

  • Edit your photo, including cut and paste and several beauty edits
  • Add effects
  • Add frames
  • Add text
  • Create a collage (which can be used in combination with the Pop Art effect and speech bubbles to create a graphic novel/comic book page)

Info Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/befunky-photo-editor-collage/id442716817?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2015/05/tech-talk-app-review-befunky/

Photo Shake

Price point: $1.99

Easily upload photos and do a variety of things with them. I have used it to make book marks, grid pictures and more. Can be printed for in house use or shared on social media.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photoshake!/id389104355?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Word Foto

Price point: $1.99

Creates a word collage using a photo. I have used it to make end cap signage. Also great for sharing via social media.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordfoto/id414002091

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Over

Price point: $1.99

Add text to photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/over/id535811906?mt=8

Adobe PS Express

Price point: Free

Upload and edit photos in a variety of ways.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adobe-photoshop-express/id331975235?mt=8

Comic Book

Price point: $2.99

Upload photos and add various embellishments to make comic book pages.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/comicbook!/id436114747?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

PocketBooth

Price point: $0.99

A mini photo booth that creates photo strips.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketbooth/id385145330

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Photo in Word

Price point: $0.99

Create words that are filled with your photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photo-in-word-pro/id513227128?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Motion Picture Tools

Stop Motion

Price point: $0.99

Easy to use and make stop motion pictures

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stop-motion/id552326107?mt=8

iMovie

Price point: $4.99

Make trailers and movies

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imovie/id377298193?mt%3D8

Music Tools

Spotify

Price point: Free

Use to make book playlists

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spotify/id324684580?mt=8

To investigate further: http://ipad.about.com/od/musical-accessories/tp/The-Best-iPad-Apps-For-Musicians.htm

Coding

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-apps-teaching-children-coding-anna-adam

More on Ipads in Libraries:

20 Coolest iPad Ideas for Your Library – OnlineCollege.org

Integrating iPads and Tablets into Library Services

There’s a Maker Faire in That iPad! 10 Ways to Create …

iPads in the Makerspace! | The GCAA Makerspace

 

 

For all of our tech posts, check out the Tech Talk index

Now it’s your turn: If you have other apps that you use and recommend, please share with us in the comments!

Tech Talk 2015: Index to TLT Posts on Technology, Social Media and More

Technology is a HUGE part of what we do everyday.  Whether we are helping our teens use technology, using technology to connect with our teens, or trying to put together teen programs – there is no escaping it, and no escaping how often it changes.  Since we write about it, I thought we would make it easy for you to find it all in one place – HERE!  After all, geek is the new black.

Using Apps in Your Marketing
Giffer App Review (making GIFs with Legos)
Social Media 101
Relational Reading Revolution: Using social media to connecting readers with authors
The Beginners Guide to the Hashtag
Harness the Power of the Hashtag 
A Scientific Guide to the Best Times to Tweet, FB, Blog, etc. 
The Science of Social Timing 
Executing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
6 Steps to Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan
Examples of People Using Social MediaWell:

You can view the slides of the presentation that I did with JenBigHeart, Jenny Martin and Naomi Bates at TLA 2015 on Radical RA, which includes social media, at Tinyurl.com/Radical-RA

Online Tools

Tech Review: Online Creation Tools Piktochart and Canva

Take 5: Comic Book/Strip Creation Tools

Facebook

Ongoing changing in policies are causing some users to defect, less popular now, teens are defecting, can now use Hashtags

Instagram
Tumblr
5 Things You Can Do with Tumblr :Craft Tutorials: Example, TardisCostume ; 2.Booklists: Example, 10 Things I Learned About Surviving the Apocalypse from YA Books; 3.New Books: Share the  covers ;4.Program Pics ; 5.Book Quotes

Twitter

YouTube
A BookTube Crash Course by AbbyRoseReads
TPIB: When Books Inspire Art (Using Apps to Create Book/Library Related Art)
The Relational Reading Revolution Revisited: Using social media to connect teens w/authors and get them invested in the reading community
Little Bits, Makey Makey, Raspberry Pi and More!

Technology and MakerSpaces

Creating and Using an iPad Technology Lab as Part of a Library Teen Makerspace

Take 5: 5 Tools for Movie Making in Your MakerSpace

Resources

Make

Robot Test Kitchen

www.slashgear.com – tech news
www.buzzfeed.com – great example of content; find content to share
www.mashable.com – fave info resource
www.hypable.com – sharable content
www.ypulse.com – news about teens & millenials
www.socialmediatoday.com – all about social media

Webinars

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/184293860/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-1xvdtlg0g9lqpqmp41zg&show_recommendations=true

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/201441563/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-2985p557m789s5payarx&show_recommendations=true

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/224133986/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-MegAVhyOMCTGgMCpozy5&show_recommendations=true

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/234865862/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-QkxGLSMWvCjoLZQ6GOLw&show_recommendations=true

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/244749503/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-1wGDDKaCytZF9iOa7tQE&show_recommendations=true

STEM and STEAM Programming for Teens in Libraries (an Infopeople webinar)

Full STEAM Ahead with Tween and Teen Programming (a Florida Libraries webinar)