Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Teen craft cabinet essentials

When I began hosting craft programs at the library, I wondered how people could possibly talk about crafts as an inexpensive activity. Everything cost money! Even many “cheap” crafts don’t come cheap if you don’t have any supplies stored up. Case in point: Poetry Month favorite, blackout poetry.

Use your damaged and discarded books and newspapers and create inspiring poems by marking out lines and words with Sharpies… which cost over a buck a piece. If you don’t have a tub of them somewhere in your library to pull into the program room, that free program does actually cost money.

The most cost effective solution is to beg and borrow where you can, and kindly bring the Interlibrary Loan staff a tray of brownies every now and then as thanks for letting you borrow their Sharpies (or the scissors from the YS staff… or the knitting club for their cast off yarn…). But sometimes a teen librarian just needs her own stuff, kwim?

It takes time to build a great craft stash, so don’t be afraid to ask for the funds you need, but plan carefully too. Take into consideration what you have, what you want, and what you can add bit by bit in a logical way. Spend the funds you are allocated, too! Did you get $20 for a program and have $3 left? If your library works on a “use it or lose it” kind of budget, by all means use that $3 in a meaningful, appropriate way. Here are some of the little things that add up over time, but all make great additions to a teen crafting stash. Items to collect from staff members at no cost to you are starred.

Teen Craft Cabinet Wish List

(aka the “what to buy with the last $5” list)

Scrapbook paper

*Old magazines/books/comics

Tacky glue (if you have only one type, this is what I recommend for its versatility)

Glitter glue

Glue sticks



Scissors (Fiskars cost more but are worth it. With teens, you can get away with school size/quality)

Retractible utility knives

Duct tape

Washi tape

*Embroidery floss, yarn

*Multi-colored felt, fabric remnants and scraps

*Containers (glass jars, small boxes, Altoid tins, etc)

Puff paint

Fabric markers

Fine tipped markers

Colored pencils

“Grown up” coloring books (Dover always has a few inexpensive options)

Craft sticks

Paper plates

*Shopping bags (for toting items home)

Baby wipes (for cleaning up)

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for sales on stacking containers, portable drawers, or just some shoe boxes for organizing your stash!

What else would you add? What are your most versatile craft stash pieces?  


  1. I’ve done these blackout poems with students–they are fascinating. Pretty much any kind of text can yield something interesting. In a lit and health unit, a student did one using a wikipedia article on obesity that was quite expressive.

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