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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

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

ButtonInstructionsPage1

ButtonInstructionsPage2

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.

IMG_4145

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.

neverthelessbuttons

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.

Teen MakerSpace Outreach at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Day 1 – Getting Organized

outreachtableAt The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, we have been working really hard to do outreach for our new Teen MakerSpace. This week, I thought I would share with you what our outreach looks like.

We have now put together 2 separate outreach packets, and I am working on a third. What this means is we have created and organized 3 standard outreach modules that are ready to go so we can easily grab one that best fits the situation and just go.

Our 3 modules include:

A Button Making Station

A Photo Booth Station

A Teen Coloring Station

Every day this week I will talk to you about what those modules look like and how we created the various pieces and parts.

Getting Organized

makerspacemanualIn addition to me, there are 2 part-time Teen MakerSpace Assistants. And we are really lucky because our Assistant Director is really invested and she has come to every one of our outreach events to date. And we have now built up a pretty loyal core group of teens who love to come and help out as well. So in terms of staffing, we have anywhere from 2 to 4 people helping out.

The directions for each outreach module can be found in the Teen MakerSpace Staff Manual, my pride and joy. I’m not kidding, I have been known to loving caress that manual. It is my career pride and joy. That’s not weird, right?

 

checklist1 Because each outreach module has a standard checklist, any of our staff can grab the sheet and go. I don’t have to be present for each outreach event, though to date I have been.

We have several standard items that go to each outreach event, which are outlined in the checklist. They include:

A black table cloth

Teen MakerSpace logo table runners

Flyers and brochures

Table, chairs, trash bags, etc.

After that, each outreach module is spelled out more specifically depending on what the activity is. Because this is a Teen MakerSpace outreach, we always want to make sure our teens are DOING/MAKING SOMETHING. But it also has to be fairly quick, light and easy to carry in, set up and tear down, and fairly inexpensive. Yes, coming up with activities can be challenging.

When we have found an activity that we found to be successful, we then finish the checklist for the activity. Each activity must include the following:

  • Detailed instructions with photos
  • Signage (this signage is kept in the manual so it also can just be grab and go)
  • And a very detailed list of supplies needed

Buttons, Buttons and More Buttons

I have talked beforebuttons18 about our first station, which is a button making station. We do either finger print or chalkboard buttons. Please note: don’t do chalkboard buttons in extreme heat, the chalk markers run and it’s not pretty.

Because we have found buttons to be so popular with our teens, when we don’t do a button themed outreach event, we have designed – with our teens and with artwork created by teens in the Teen MakerSpace – a variety of buttons which we have for the teens to pick up and wear. The masters for these are also in the beloved Teen MakerSpace Manual so they can easily be copies and made into buttons before the event. We also usually have a bag on hand for the grab and go.

 

backpackWe also ordered Teen MakerSpace canvas backpacks which we hand out and it is so cool to see teens wearing them around town and into the library. We ordered the table runners and backpacks from TotallyPromotional.com and have been very happy with the end product. We like having visuals that the teens can take with them and the best part is that they then do the advertising for us.

Tomorrow, I will tell you about our Photo Booth outreach module.

 

MakerSpace: Making Fingerprint Pokemon Go Buttons

pokemonbuttons2Pokemon Go is big – you’ve probably heard. So my library is like many libraries and we are trying to plan a Pokemon Go program for our patrons while the program is still hot. Yes, I know Pokemon has been popular for 20 years now, but this is a new level of popularity and we want to tap into the zeitgeist in a timely manner.

We’re in the brainstorm stages, but one thing I know for sure we want to do is continue to use one of our most popular Teen MakerSpace stations – our button makers – to get teens creating. So I spent a part of last week researching Pokemon related button making ideas. And then it hit me, our fingerprint buttons are already so popular, so why not try making Fingerprint Pokemon Buttons.

Which is how I stumbled down the rabbit hole of Pokemon characters. I know Pikachu and a few of the characters I have caught playing Pokemon Go, but my knowledge of Pokemon is definitely lacking. So I had to research and find characters from Pokemon that might be easier to translate in the fine art form of fingerprint art.

Pikachu, it turns out, is actually kind of the easiest. In fact, I have perfected my fingerprint Pikachu and plan on putting that on my next resume.

Scan0026

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Not Just a Button, a Pokebutton

pokeball

I particularly wanted to play around with the idea of the Pokemon being in the Pokeball, but having the red portion of the Pokeball didn’t really work. Making the black bars creates the illusion of the Pokeball, but I had to make them shorter in order to provide space for the fingerprint Pokemon. The Pokeball template ended up looking like this:

pokeballtemplate1Although we definitely want to encourage our fingerprint button makers to be creative and make whatever they want, we have found that many participants want examples that they can follow. So I made a page of examples: Pokeball ExamplesPokeball Examples-page-001

Pokeball Examples 002

Some of my fingerprint Pokemon examples were a little, um, less than successful. It’s okay, you can laugh.

Scan0030 Scan0032

My finished template page ended up looking like this:

pokeballtemplatesIt’s just one of the many activities that we will do for our Pokemon Go program, but it was a fun one to put together. And you have to admit, teen librarians have some of the most interesting resumes out there.

MakerSpace: Button Maker Challenges

At The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH), we have found that one of the most popular activities among our teens in our Teen MakerSpace is making buttons. We run into a lot of our teens around town that look like this:

Buttons, buttons every where!

Buttons, buttons every where!

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

I spy a teen guy with a ton of buttons

But we started to notice that teens were just coming in, printing of a couple of pictures (and engaging in some serious copyright infringement while doing so), and leaving. We really wanted to find a way to encourage teens to get more creative in their button making. So we took the idea of challenge cards and created a variety of button making challenges.

Our button making challenge station

Our button making challenge station

A lot of our challenges are based on ideas we found in some of the books we have right there in our Maker Collection. We scoured through our collection and our resources to come up with creative and fun challenges. And we asked the teens in the Teen MakerSpace for their ideas as well.

postitart4

Books inspire button making

We then created Button Making Challenge cards and put them out for our teens to look at and get inspired by.

Button Making Challenge Cards

Button Making Challenge Cards

We have been excited to see a lot more scenes that look like this in our Teen MakerSpace:

Teens in the Teen MakerSpace

Teens in the Teen MakerSpace

So here is a look at some of our challenges and what our teens have created in response to them.

Sharpie Art Buttons

I am obsessed with Sharpies. So discovering there were books about Sharpie art was a gift. We do a variety of simple Sharpie art activities. One of the simplest is to invite teens to color with Sharpies and turn their artwork into buttons.

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The Teen hard at work on some Sharpie art buttons

Sharpie art buttons!

Sharpie art buttons!

Typography Books + Sharpie Art Books=Button Awesomesauce Magic!

Typography Books + Sharpie Art Books = Button Awesomesauce Magic!

Stick Figure Art Buttons

Using a couple of the stick figure art books we have found, teens love to turn their stick figure art into buttons.

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Sharpies + Stick Figure Art

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

Stick Figure Art Buttons!

Finger Print Art Buttons

I have already talked some about our obsession with fingerprint art buttons. You can read more about it here. It’s a lot of fun and makes the cutest buttons.

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A teen makes a finger print elephant

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Fingerprint Art Buttons!

More finger print art buttons

More finger print art buttons

Chalkboard Buttons

We discovered that there is chalkboard paper, which can be used to make buttons. Instead of using regular chalk, our teens use chalk markers in combination with art books The Art of Chalk and The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering to create original chalk masterpieces which they then make into buttons.

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The TMNTs in Chalkboard Art form

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Chalkboard art buttons

Sidewalk chalk poetry and a camera

Sidewalk chalk poetry and a camera

Map Art Buttons

Using some of the ideas in the Map Art Lab book (pictured below), we made a variety of map art buttons.

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Map Art Buttons

Map art button

Map art button

The Map Art Lab book is also the source of The Books of Your Heart Button. For more information, see this post.

The Books of Our Heart Button

The Books of Our Heart Button

Coloring Pages Buttons

We have a variety of coloring pages in our Teen MakerSpace and encourage the teens to color and then cut out a portion of their page to make their buttons. It asks them to look with a creative eye about editing an already laid out design and only use a portion of it.

Coloring pages buttons

Coloring page buttons

Fill in the Blank Buttons

It’s like Mad Libs, but in button form. The teens can create a quote – like a funny story or a question – and leave a blank. Then when they meet people in the street they can ask them to fill in the blank.

Digital Media Lab Buttons

We wanted to create some button challenges that invited teens to use our iPad lab to do some digital media creation and photo manipulation. There are a variety of apps that will let you use filters, add artwork, and add text to your pictures to create great photos. In addition, we have a green screen so we wanted to get our teens using that as well. When they create the picture they like, they can then size them and print them out and turn them into buttons.

Made with a Scrabble board and an iPad with photo manipulating apps

Made with a Scrabble board and an iPad with photo manipulating apps

Some of the digital media lab challenges include:

Turn your favorite book quote into a button.
Star in a book cover for your fave book using a picture you take and photo apps.
Turn your photo into a mini comic book or graphic novel.
Turn your photo into a meme.

Green screen photos make for fun buttons

Green screen photos make for fun buttons

The Teen dressed as a Weeping Angel. Hipstamtic filters.

The Teen dressed as a Weeping Angel. Hipstamtic filters.

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.

Teens love to turn their personal photos into buttons.

He made a button of himself wearing all his buttons that says, "I Like Buttons". It's very meta.

He made a button of himself wearing all his buttons that says, “I Like Buttons”. It’s very meta.

By creating a variety of challenges, we have found ways to get teens creating original artwork that they then turn into buttons. It has been fun to see what our teens create, and we have found ways to get teens to stay and talk a bit instead of just printing off a quick picture. I feel like our challenges are helping teens learn a little bit more about themselves, the creative process, and art in general. It has also challenged us to look more deeply at the books in our collection and find creative ways to incorporate art into the Teen MakerSpace.

 

Challenge Cards: buttonchallengefirstpage buttonchallengesecondpage

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.

thumbprint31 thumbprint30 thumbprint27

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.

outreachtable thumbprint10 thumbprint9 thumbprint8

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:

fingerprintart fingerprintart2

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Things I Learned Visiting the Cincinnati MakerSpace: Fun with Buttons! Edition

In early June my colleague and I journeyed to the city of Cincinnati (OH) to tour their new MakerSpace. It was glorious in many ways. You can see pictures of that visit on the TLT Tumblr page here, here and here. I learned many things:

The entrance to the Maker Space at the Cincinnati Public Library

The entrance to the Maker Space at the Cincinnati Public Library

1. I can not consistently spell Cincinnati correctly.

2. A button maker is the most glorious fun you can ever have. No, seriously, it is.

So I looked at my colleague when we returned and said, “We need it, a button maker!” To which she replied, “Why yes, yes we do.” And thus the button maker was ordered. After exhaustive research, which involved talking with fellow TLTer Heather Booth who also has a button maker, we opted to purchase ours through American Button Machines. We purchased both a 1.25 inch and a 2.25 machine.

On June 22nd I hosted my first teen program using the button maker and to say that the teens enjoyed it would be an understatement. They were ravenous to create buttons.

Oh look, there's The Tween making buttons!

Oh look, there’s The Tween making buttons!

We cut up comic books, graphic novels (discarded of course) and magazines to make our buttons. We also used scrapbook paper.

We cut up comic books, graphic novels (discarded of course) and magazines to make our buttons. We also used scrapbook paper.

Just a few of the buttons our teens made

Just a few of the buttons our teens made

We then (and by we, I mean me in this case) made a template to make Super Reader buttons to give to kids who completed their SRC goal.

Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

Buttons for our 2015 Super Readers!

After our first program using the button maker, we realized that we needed better instructions. On Monday, July 6th we are going to kick of our Maker Mondays with a variety of Maker stations and we wanted to make sure we had some good instructions for patrons to follow. I made some personalized instruction sheets using some of the pictures off the American Button Machine site and adding my own commentary.

ButtonInstructionsPage1 ButtonInstructionsPage2You can download these instruction sheets if you find them useful Page 1 and Page 2

The original American Button Machines instructions that I adapted can be found here

Our plan for Maker Mondays is to have a variety of stations set up and have really detailed instructions at each station. We will have: Little Bits, Legos, Button Making, the Ellison dies, paper cutters, the Ellison machine, Strawbees and whatever else we come up with set up around our programming room.

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We made buttons for the staff to wear to promote Maker Mondays!

We made buttons for the staff to wear to promote Maker Mondays!

And because we loved our button maker so much, we ordered the pieces and parts to make mirrors and key chains. I did it for you readers, I swear. I wanted to write you a fully informed post. In a not surprising turn of events, I have to report that we also loved the mirrors. They are a little smaller than I would like, but great for putting on lip gloss and checking for monsters under the bed.

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Look! There’s me taking a picture of the front and back side of a 2.25 inch mirror made with the American Button Machine.

Thank you Cincinnati Public Library for a great visit and inspiration! We love our button machine and have already done a prototype of our Maker Mondays with teens that was very successful. We love our button maker!

MakerSpace Notes:

My Original Mobile Makerspace
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