Subscribe to SLJ
Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

MakerSpace: Summer of Shirts Index and Gallery

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

makerspacelogo1

TPIB: Meme ALL the Shirts! (Heather Booth)

memetheshirts

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

shirt3

shirt2

shirt1

shirt7

Sharpie lettering and spray painting

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

glue1

Putting on your first coats of paint

glue4

Low Tech, Low Cost “Screenprinting”

shirt4

shirt5

shirt6

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

makerspacelogo1

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

Transformation 1: Infinity Scarf

transform1

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

Transformation 2: Headbandtransform4

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

Transformation 3: Tote Bagtransform2

transform5

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

Transformation 4: Baby Bibtransform3

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

Transformation 5: Jewelrytransform6

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

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

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

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

MakerSpace: DIY Fidget Spinners Three MORE Ways

makerspacelogo1

Earlier I shared with you 3 ways we are making fidget spinners in the Teen MakerSpace at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH). Today I am going to share with you 3 additional ways we have had fun creating our own fidget spinners. All three of these ways involve using a ball bearing. We bought a bulk order of ball bearings off of Amazon for a reasonable price. The ball bearing spinners definitely work better than the non-ball bearing spinners that we created.

fidgets1

DIY Polymer Clay Spinner

fidgets3

Polymer clay has turned out to be a pretty popular item in our Teen MakerSpace, so the teens wanted to explore if they could successfully made a fidget spinner out of clay – and they did. To make the spinner they simply built up the clay around the ball bearing and shaped it into a shape and size that they liked. Our teens made both two and three sided spinners. We baked the clay as directed with the ball bearings already in place.

DIY 3D Pen Spinner

3D Pen Fidget Spinner #1

3D Pen Fidget Spinner #1

I have mentioned many times how our 3D pens are pretty popular, so of course we decided to see if we could make a spinner with one. I actually really liked this spinner the best out of all six that we have made. We used a ball bearing for the center and pennies for the outside spokes to save on the number of bearings we used in subsequent spinners. To make our spinner we built up the 4 individual elements first, making solid circles around the ball bearing and the three pennies. We then connected the four pieces.

3D Pen Fidget Spinner #2

3D Pen Fidget Spinner #2

Light Up LED Spinner Hack

fidgets2

One of our regular teens had the idea to hack a fidget spinner to make it light up using LED lights and button cell batteries. He placed the batteries where the outside bearings usually go, putting them in place using hot glue. He then put an LED light on the end of each and used electrical tape to hold them in place. You can see a short video of our spinner in action here.

The best part about making fidget spinners in so many different ways has been watching the teens explore, create and problem solve. There has been a lot of comparing and contrasting, creative thinking, and working together to try and figure out some of the best ways to try and make new and different types of spinners.

MakerSpace: Mod-A-Tee Making Hot Glue Stencils and Spray Painting T-shirts

makerspacelogo1

This summer is the “Summer of Shirts” in the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH). Every Monday we are teaching our teens a different way that we can make or modify t-shirts. So far we have done Sharpie Tie-Dye, puffy paint, and low-tech screen printing. Last Monday we taught our teens how to create t-shirts using hot glue guns and spray paint and it turned out quite spectacularly, if I’m being honest.

The basic premise: You will make a negative stencil using a hot glue gun and then spray paint over it so that when it is removed you will have a fantastic (and original!) t-shirt design.

glue1

Supplies Needed:

  • T-shirts or tote bags (plain)
  • Hot glue gun with plenty of glue sticks
  • Parchment paper
  • Fabric spray paint (you can buy fabric spray paint or make your own using these instructions: Make Your Own Fabric Spray Paint | My Crazy Blessed Life!)
  • A piece of cardboard to put in between the two layers of your t-shirt
  • Something to keep your work space safe, like a plastic table cloth
Tulip Fabric Spray Paint

Tulip Fabric Spray Paint

Not Needed but Helpful

  • A computer with a printer
  • Sharpies and other embellishments

Making Your Shirts

Step 1: Creating Your Hot Glue Stencil Pieces

First you want to create a design on a piece of paper to be the template for your stencil. You can freehand this if you have the skill, or simply print something off on a piece of paper using your computer. Simple text and graphics work best. For example, silhouettes and big block letters are ideal.

After you have your design on paper, lay a piece of parchment paper over top of it. You will then trace it using the hot glue gun to create your hot glue pieces. Allow them to dry fully before you peel them off the parchment paper. Patience will be an important part of this process throughout as there is a lot of no really, let things fully dry before going on to the next step.

Making the hot glue stencil pieces

Making the hot glue stencil pieces

Step 2: Setting Up for Painting

You will then want to start setting up your shirt for painting. Be sure and put your piece of cardboard in between the two layers of your shirt and to cover your work space with your plastic table cloth to help with any over spray. You’ll also want to spray outside (on grass is recommended) or in a well ventilated space like a garage with an open door.

Getting ready to paint

Getting ready to paint

Gently peel your hot glue pieces off of the parchment paper and position them onto your shirt. When you spray paint the shirt, the hot glue pieces will prevent the paint from getting on the space it is covering.

Hot glue stencil pieces in place

Hot glue stencil pieces in place

Step 3: Painting

You will want to carefully spray paint your t-shirt. If you let colors dry in between coats you can overlay colors and create amazing effects. The trick is to apply gentle pressure, light coats, and to be patient.

Putting on your first coats of paint

Putting on your first coats of paint

After you finish painting your t-shirt, it will look something like this:

A t-shirt with the hot glue stencils in place

A painted t-shirt with the hot glue stencils in place

Above is a cat themed t-shirt made by one of our teens. You can see the places that are covered by the hot glue stencil pieces. She made a template using a silhouette image, printed it, made her hot glue stencil pieces and painted in multiple layers. You then want to make sure and let your paint FULLY DRY. If you try and remove your hot glue stencil pieces you may smudge the surrounding paint. Again, patience is called for. It’s a theme.

The completed cat t-shirt

The completed cat t-shirt

Step 4: Finishing Touches

After your t-shirt is fully dry, you can add embellishments if you like. We found that t-shirts made with text on them kind of popped better if you outlined the text using a Sharpie marker, for example. Or you could use puffy paint to add some dimensionality.

A finished t-shirt

A finished t-shirt

Our Gallery

Stencils can be re-used. The stencil used to make the t-shirt above was also used to make the tote bag below.

glue4

I’m a Maker tote bag

One of our teens cut the neckline out of a t-shirt to make a different type of design and we painted the neck cut-out to make it into a bib for one of the TMS Assistant’s baby. I love this bib so much.

glue3

Final Thoughts

All in all we had about 20 teens participated and they really enjoyed the activity and made some great t-shirts. To do a complete t-shirt from beginning to end took as little as an hour. The fabric spray paint was moderately expensive and didn’t go as far as we thought it would. In fact, we ran out half way through our night and I ran to the store to get more. We did this as a drop-in activity over a six hour period and this really worked well as we could provide more one-on-one instructions.

MakerSpace: DIY Fidget Spinners in Three Ways

makerspacelogo1

This past week we spent some time setting up a DIY Fidget Spinner station at the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH). There are no shortage of DIY Fidget Spinner tutorials out there and we tried several and landed on the following three for our DIY Fidget Spinner station.

fidget9

Cardboard Fidget Spinners (No Bearings)

fidget6

The basic premise for our fidget spinner was found at the Red Ted Art blog and corresponded nicely with our new MakeDo Cardboard Creations station. You can find the basic tutorial here: http://www.redtedart.com/make-fidget-spinner-diy/. The no bearing center uses a toothpick, hot glue and cardboard as the spinning mechanism which we used for both our cardboard and origami fidget spinners.

To see a short video of our cardboard fidget spinner, click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BVSxb6CnWHP/?taken-by=makerspaceplmvkc

It was pretty easy to do and works fairly well. I thought I would be creative and add bottle caps from our bottle cap crafts station to enhance my fidget spinner and I do not recommend this as it makes the fidget a little to big to fit nicely between your fingers and hand. On a second attempt we used scrapbook paper and the epoxy circle stickers from the bottle cap crafts and this worked much better. You can also just use pennies.
fidget5Supplies Needed:
  • Cardboard
  • Box cutter
  • Toothpicks
  • Hot glue
  • Pennies
  • Embellishments (if desired)

Very low cost, quick and easy, effective

Origami Fidget Spinner (No Bearings)

Using the same premise as above, we also made an origami fidget spinner. You can find a variety of origami ninja star tutorials online and turn your origami ninja star into a fidget spinner. We used a toothpick and beads to make our own bearing to create the spinning mechanism.

fidget7

To see a short video of our origami fidget spinner, click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BVSxMkWHJ4Q/?taken-by=makerspaceplmvkc

Supplies Needed:

  • Origami paper
  • Toothpicks
  • Hot glue
  • Embellishments (if desired)

Very low cost, quick and easy, effective

3D Pen Fidget Spinner (with Bearings)

We also bought some bearings off of Amazon and used them in combination with our 3D pens to make fidget spinners. Our first attempt looked like a traditional fidget spinner and used 4 ball bearings. It spins really well and we are very happy with the outcome.

fidget2

With our second attempt we wanted to see if we could make our ball bearings go farther so we used one for the center to make our spinning mechanism and replaced the exterior ball bearings with pennies. By doing this, we can make more fidget spinners with the bearings we have on hand. This worked basically the same.

fidget1

To create our 3d pen fidget spinner we made circles around all four of our objects first and then we joined them together.

fidget3

Supplies Needed:

  • 3D pen and filament
  • Ball bearing
  • Pennies

Higher cost because you need a 3D pen, filament, and the bearings, a little more challenging and time consuming, effective

In setting up a station with various types of fidget spinners for teens to try they get to really engage in comparing and contrasting and problem solving. We’ve already made a variety of various fidget spinners and find it to be a lot of fun. I highly recommend this activity.

MakerSpace: Making a Photo Booth Prop Holder

Yesterday I completely re-arranged and marketed our Teen MakerSpace. As a librarian, this is indeed my idea of a good time. But one thing that has always bothered me is the way we display our Photo Booth Props. As you may know (if you don’t, hi new readers!), we have a lot of photo booth props. We like to make thematic units as new tie-ins come about. But we’ve never had a good way to display them. In fact, they were laying flat on a shelf like this before yesterday – check out the upper left hand corner:

photoboothpropstorage2

 

Awkward, unattractive, hard to get to and easy to make a mess. In other words, not good at all. So yesterday Teen MakerSpace Assistant Morgan and I had a conversation that went like this:

Morgan: I wish we had a bucket or something to display them in.

Karen: We do, but they still get all wobbly and fall over and stuff.

Morgan: What about using that trashcan over there.

Karen: Oh, gross.

**pause**

Karen: We’re a MakerSpace, let’s make one!

So I went into the office and looked around and we have a stack of empty shoe boxes that we can maybe do something with. And it hit me – WE CAN MAKE A PHOTO BOOTH PROP HOLDER. And we did.

photoboothpropstorage

Here’s what we did:

1. We filled our shoe box with rocks to make it heavy so that it would stand up straight. The rocks were placed in a plastic ziploc bag and duct taped to the bottom of the box. The weight is 100% necessary for balance.

2. We covered our box in duct tape to make it attractive.

3. We used a screw driver to poke holes in the top to place each individual prop stick in. This keeps them all nice and neat. No more flopping over! There was much rejoicing.

Now it sits, sturdily I might add, next to our photo booth. See, we used our making skills to solve a problem and make items more accessible. I’m going to call that a win.

photobooth2

To learn more about our photo booth or photo booth props, check out these posts:

Making Photo Booth Props

Building Our Portable Photo Booth

TPIB: Turn your Instagram pics into Photobooth bookmarks