Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Quicky & Easy Program Idea: Bottle Wrapping

Bottle Wrapping

The town I live in has a local arts council, which does a lot of cool things. One of the things I recently discovered that they do is host what they call a “Pinterest Party”. They find a cool craft idea on Pinterest, gather the supplies to make it happen, and for a small fee you can come. Because it’s for grown ups, it usually involves wine and socializing as well. I love this idea for teens, but obviously without the wine. You’ll have to save the wine for afterwards.

The party I recently went to involved wrapping a variety of jars and bottles with things like yarn and twine to make decorative pieces. It was easy to do. And The Tween liked one I made so much she confiscated it and has made it into a pen holder for her desk. The other I might give to someone as a Christmas gift. (So if I give this to you as a Christmas gift, act surprised!)

I know that technology and MakerSpaces are all the rage right now in libraries, but I feel like old fashioned crafts meet a lot of teen needs as well: Teens can be active and yet meet their social needs; There is still creative and spatial thinking and planning involved; Fine motor skill manipulatives are always a good thing; and at some point problem solving will usually have to be involved (or maybe I’m just bad at crafting). Plus, I am a firm believer that STEM is enhanced when we add the A and remember to think STEAM – the arts are still important and can enhance STEM education.

What You’ll Need:

Empty jars and bottles (washed and dried out) – Wine bottles, olive jars, anything works
A variety of yarn and twine
Mod Podge
Sponge brushes
Charms and embellishments

What You Do:

See that big curvy part around the charm? That was hard.

You can start from either the bottom or the top (I tried both and found top down to be easier).

Apply some Mod Podge to your bottle and begin wrapping. You’ll want to keep wrapping one continuous string, so don’t cut it off of the skein. That’s why you need about one skein per person. You just keep alternating adding a little bit of Mod Podge and then wrapping your away around.

Make sure you are pulling it tight and avoiding big gaps in your rows.

They didn’t say to do this, but I did it on one and not the other and I think the one I did it to looks better, so apply a layer of Mod Podge on the outside when you are finished. It will dry clear and I thought it gave it a more polished look.

Use a matching or complimentary piece of yarn to thread and hang a charm onto your bottle.

Other people glued on flowers, made initials out of string which they glued on top, etc.

Why I Recommend It:

This craft was easy to do and it is one of those crafts you can do and still sit around and be social. Also, I don’t know about you, but a lot of my tweens/teens are financially challenged so it is nice to have a program where they can take something home that they made and either use it to decorate their room or give it as a gift. This way, they have a physical reminder that not only did they accomplish and make something cool, but they’ll remember that they did it at the library and have those positive associations with the library. Craft programs affirm and empower our teens, they help them meet some of the 40 developmental assets (like their social needs), and they help make those positive connections were looking for.

Check out The Tween’s new pen/pencil holder

Also, check with your children’s department to see if they have left over yarn from previous events. Ask staff to save and collect empty jars. That will help bring the cost down but also makes this a great environmentally friendly craft – think Earth Day! – as you teach teens to upcycle.

Things I Learned:

Going around the curvier parts of a bottle is hard. Go slowly, doing only a couple of rows of yarn at a time and allowing it to get tacky before you add the next few rows. This helped keep it from sliding up and having wide gaps.

Yarn was easier than twine to work with and I felt like you ended up with a more colorful and polished look.

As I mentioned above, put a layer of Mod Podge on the outside of your bottle after you are done covering it in the yarn.