Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

DIY Do Not Disturb Spinner, by Kara DeCarlo

Like most of the world, The Teen has moved to online virtual learning during this unprecedented time. She spends most of her days behind closed doors in her room in online meetings and doing assignments. The other day I wanted to check on her so I knocked on the door and she had to tell me that now was not a good time because she was online with a class. So I tweeted that I now needed some type of in/out board like we have a work so I would know when it was safe to knock. Fellow librarian Kara DeCarlo came to the rescue and shared with me this DIY Do Not Disturb Spinner that she had created for her own home. This might be a fun activity to share with all of our teens now finding themselves trying to navigate in this new online virtual learning world. Thanks Kara!


  • Paper
  • Scissors & something pointy (like an exacto)
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Brad fastener
  • Tape (painters or washi or masking)
  • 2 round objects of different sizes

  Make a list of reasons why the door might be closed

  Trace round things on paper

  Cut out circles

 On small circle, write out things from your list

Once you have worked out the spacing of the words–you want them evenly distributed around the circle–write them in using markers. I used red for “DO NOT DISTURB” and green for “door is shut, but you can interrupt me”.

Place the small circle on top of the large circle and tape down using painters, washi, or masking tape. The tape is a temporary step, so don’t use anything super sticky!

Tape your taped circles to the window and tape them on the window WITH THE LARGE CIRCLE ON TOP.

 Find your largest word, and draw a box around it. Take your circles back to your work space and take all the tape off.

 CUT THE LARGE CIRCLE ONLY. Using your pokey thing, poke a hole in the box you just drew–just big enough to get your scissors into. Cut out the box you drew.

 Place the large circle–now with window–on top of the small circle. Line them up as best you can.

 Use your pokey thing to poke a small hole for your brad fastener to go through.

Poke the brad through and write on the large circle: Why is the door closed? Feel free to add doodles, fancy lettering, and make it your own.

 Hang on your door using 2 pieces of scotch tape on the large circle. The small circle will spin freely behind it.

Meet Kara DeCarlo

Kara DeCarlo is a School Liaison librarian for a large suburban library in northern Illinois. She’s a DIY enthusiast–a side effect from her college days in theater and art. When not at work she leads a junior high Girl Scout troop, digs in the dirt, paints and makes stuff out of metal. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @KaraPaints


  1. Hello, I made this sign and it was awesome. People wouldn’t be barging into my office anymore. 🙂

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