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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.

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TPIB: Meme ALL the Shirts! (Heather Booth)

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

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Sharpie lettering and spray painting

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

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Putting on your first coats of paint

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Low Tech, Low Cost “Screenprinting”

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

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

Transformation 1: Infinity Scarf

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

Transformation 2: Headbandtransform4

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

Transformation 3: Tote Bagtransform2

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

Transformation 4: Baby Bibtransform3

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

Transformation 5: Jewelrytransform6

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

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

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

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

MakerSpace Mondays: Making Wonder Woman Bracers/Cuffs

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This weekend the Wonder Woman movie is finally here! And June 3rd, Saturday, has been declared Wonder Woman day in libraries: DC Celebrates Wonder Woman Day with Massive Global Event. We will be celebrating on Saturday at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) by making Wonder Woman cuffs/bracers.

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Supplies needed:

  • Used/empty duct tape rolls or poster mailing tubes
  • Duct tape
  • Box cutter
  • Washi tape

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I must admit that this activity necessitates a little bit of planning. It turns out that empty duct tape rolls are in fact the best way to make this activity. They are the perfect width and are thick enough to make good, sturdy cuffs (or bracers as my teens tell me they are called in Wonder Woman speak). You can also cut down an old poster mailing tube. We discovered this because we have a duct tape station in our Teen MakerSpace and the teens kept throwing away the cardboard tubes and we thought, surely there is something we can make with those. And there is! I will also note that there are tutorials out there for making duct tape cuff bracelets without the tubes. See, for example: Duct Tape Cuff: 4 Steps.

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Step 1: Turning your duct tape roll into a cuff

You’ll want to use your box knife to cut a small piece out of your empty duct tape roll so you can slip it onto your wrist. Also, the empty rolls are slightly big for most wrists, so you have to cut them down to size. It takes only 2 cuts and then you can remove a one inch section. This is your opening to fit the cuff easily onto your wrist. For smaller wrists, you can cut a slightly larger piece out.

Step 2: Decorate your cuff using duct and washi tape

They don’t have to be Wonder Woman themed, but Wonder Woman themed is kind of awesome. But you can use any colors of tape and just make amazing wearable jewelry.

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MakerSpace: Low Tech Tool – The Recycled Paper Bead Maker

On a whim, I bought this low tech tool for the MakerSpace, prompted in part by the fact that it was on clearance at Michael’s for $5.00. I looked and it is available at Amazon for $10.00, which is still a good price. In fact, I’m going to buy a couple more for the Teen MakerSpace.

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You can use this to easily turn discarded magazines into paper beads. It’s a great making tool for those who want to be a little more social while engaging in making; we have had some small groups sitting around and talking while someone makes beads, which is why I want to buy a couple more for the space. And there are no shortage of discarded magazines at the library.

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Here’s an example of a bracelet that was made using beads created with this low tech tool. If I’m not mistaken, this one was created using a discarded manga, creating some cool black and white beads.

I highly recommend this low cost maker activity for maker spaces everywhere. It was fun, easy and created some very nice final products. It would also be a great activity for Earth Day or recycled crafts.

TPiB: Book Planters

IMG_7260I am not a crafty person. At all.  I’m unable to draw a straight line or measure correctly and have little to no patience for not catching on to something quickly. So when we ended up with all this extra dirt at the library (don’t ask), and my supervisor said hey, want to make some book planters for a program, I said sure mostly because I wanted to be accommodating, not out of some love for creating things.

 

 
IMG_7286I poked around online for how to make book planters and found lots of detailed instructions, including one titled something like “How to make a book planter in 946 easy steps.” It was more like 40, I guess, but that’s the same thing. Some suggested you cut through the cover. Some involved various power tools for cutting. Some wanted you to stack books up, use a tool to cut a deep round hole, and stick a potted plant in. And on and on. I took the best bits of what I found and came up with this.

 

 

 

IMG_7246You will need:

Discarded hardcover books (I used ones that had broken spines, missing pages, etc) If you can find ones with nice endpapers, bonus!

Box cutters (SHARP)

Cling wrap

Glue (Elmers or Mod Podge or whatever–don’t use rubber cement! That was a bust). I used Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue

Sponges or brushes

A ruler or cardboard square/rectangle template, if you’re feeling precise

Soil

Succulents

Drop cloths

Rags

Butcher paper

Plastic bags

Paper towel

Plastic cups

Scissors

Rulers

Pens

 

Setting up:

IMG_7241Cover your work space with drop cloths or butcher paper. Things got quite messy—dirt, dripped glue, and an infinite number of shredded book pages everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting to work:

For the sake of mess and time, I partially prepped most of the books, but you could let your group start from the beginning.

IMG_72441. Get rid of dust jacket. Flip through the book and see if there are any pages with pictures that you’d like to paste into the front at the end. Snag them if so.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_72502. With the front cover of the book open, glue the pages along all three sides to create a seal. I dotted tacky glue along one side, wiped it all over with a sponge, making sure to really get the corners and making sure the top few pages weren’t flapping loose. Once all sides are covered in glue, set the books aside to dry for a bit. I did this in the days before the program because I was worried the books would still be too wet to easily transport home if attendees glued them at the program. That said, one woman did choose an unglued book and did it at the program. It was mostly dry by the time she left about 90 minutes later.

 

IMG_72343. Once the book is dry, grab a box cutter and decide what size square or rectangle you’d like to cut out of the book’s pages. Use cardboard for a template to cut around, or measure with your ruler/use a ruler as a guide, or just eyeball it. Start slowly and carefully cutting. You will need to cut and remove pages in many, many rounds. Corners are hard. Just remember most of that hole will be covered in dirt and plants, so being inexact is okay. Just try not to mangle that nice top page. You could have the books completely uncut at the program and let attendees start from the top page. My lovely coworkers helped prepare our books and cut through the first 100 pages or so. Cutting takes a while.

 

(At this point, you may want to grab the piles of book pages being cut out. I plan to reuse them for some blackout poetry in April.)

 

4. Once the pages are cut nearly all the way to the bottom or deep enough for soil and plants, you can glue the inside of your square/rectangle to create another seal or just skip right to lining it with cling wrap. We lined enough so that it came up over the top quite a bit–you can trim it later.

 

IMG_72355. Using your plastic cup, scoop out some soil from your bag and arrange soil and your succulents in the hole. Most attendees fit 2 or 3 small succulents.

 

 

 

 

 

6. After planting, use your box cutter to trim off the excess plastic wrap, leaving just a bit to help protect those top pages from any water that might overflow.

 

IMG_72527. If your book doesn’t have nice endpapers and you want to add something more to your planter, you could create a collage from discarded pages and pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_72548. That’s it! I had brought in plastic grocery bags and we were able to set the books carefully inside them for transport home (if you glue the books the day of the project, you might not be able to do this easily).

 

 

 

 

IMG_7285It was a fun program and the book planters turned out lovely. My program was open to adults and teens. I had 6 adult women, 1 man, and 1 teen. The planters would make great gifts for anyone who likes books. Also, if I could successfully make one, anyone can!

 

 

 

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.

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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.