Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Locker Crafts

It’s back to school time which for a lot of middle school and high school teens means one thing – LOCKERS! Well, I’m sure it means a lot of things. But for the creative side of me it means LOCKERS! I love making a locker personal, which means MAKING STUFF. We’re all about making! So here are some of our current favorite magnetic crafts that would be great for a locker making event.

The key, of course, to locker crafts are magnets. I have something to say to you about magnets. When you go to the craft store you will find that the cheapest magnets you can buy are these:


DO NOT BUY THESE. They are self-adhesive but they do not in fact stick well. And because they are rolled up it is hard to get them to lay flat. Basically, I have nothing positive to say about this magnet approach except that it is, in fact, usually cheapest. And there is a reason for that.

So what do I recommend? These:magnets2

They seem to have the sticking power we need for our crafts and they are still self-adhesive, a bonus because hot glue it turns out is in fact really hot. I may or may not have recently have been reminded of that fact the hard way.

So now that we have the ever important magnet discussion out of the way, let’s move on to the locker crafts I have to share with you. And here’s an important thing, if you have some additional ideas, please do share them with me in the comments. I love new ideas.

Magnetic Memes

Made with some original artwork and the BeFunky app

Made with some original artwork and the BeFunky app

As you may have read, I am obsessed with making my own photos and creating magnetic frames. So obsessed, we recently painted The Teen’s closet door with magnetic paint so we could decorate it with all of our “locker crafts”. It’s all in the name of MakerSpace research, I swear.


But here’s why I like the photo memes:

1) Let’s be honest, I’m in love with my kids. But you don’t have to use pictures of your kids. You can make them with a picture of anything and a quote from anywhere. It’s an opportunity to be creative and personal.

2.) I love how it combines learning how to use tech with allowing teens an opportunity for creative self-expression.

Here is a short tutorial on making your own memes and here is our tutorial for how we made them into magnetic duct taped framed masterpieces that hang well in a locker.

Magnetic Memes, Take II – The Grid Photo


In addition to making photo memes, I am also obsessed with the grid photo. It’s a great way to show a relationship over time or highlight a special day or event. For example, here is a grid photo of The Teen and The Bestie ice skating the other weekend. It would be a great way to do the 12 years of school (see, obsessed with my kids). I have done montages of my marriage to The Mr., the girls over time, the girls with various friends, etc. I even recently made one for a friend and her husband who went on a cruise. Teens could do their senior year, homecoming, prom, etc.

To make the grid photos I use the grid option on the Photo Shake app. You can do something like 16 to 25 photos. It allows you to move the photos around. You can have frames or no frames. I have printed them out larger size and framed them so they decorate my walls. You can print them out in the smaller Instagram size and use the above mentioned magnetic duct tape framing technique to create a grid photo for a locker.

Magnetic Memes, Take III – Button Form, Kinda


If you have a button machine you can easily turn your buttons into magnets. You simply take out the pin, use the machine as directed, and put a magnet on the back. You just need to make sure it is a thick enough magnet to compensate for the inward curve of the button back. Teens can make their own photo memes as outlined above and use them to make magnets. I made this one using a Lego minifigure, a background, and the PhotoCandy app. I downloaded it into Publisher to make sure it was the correct size for my button machine and then printed it off and voila’ – I have a homemade and completely awesome magnet. We are doing this for our upcoming Star Wars Reads Day activity.

Magnetic Chalkboards


Yesterday I outlined two ways you can make chalkboards. Add magnets to the backs of your creation and you have a locker chalkboard. Again, you’ll want to make sure you use strong enough magnets because these are slightly heavier. They have 4×4 canvas frames that would work well for this craft. And in the comments Kirsten shares with us how you can make your own (cheaper) chalkboard paint in a variety of colors.

Magnetic Chalkboards Adapted into Dry Erase Boards


You can use the tutorial mentioned above with a couple of variations to make a dry erase board instead of a chalkboard. After cutting your matte board to size, cover it with contact paper. You can use white contact paper to get a traditional dry erase board look if desired. We used colored matte boards and clear contact paper to get various colors for our dry erase boards. They work really well.

Rainbow Loom Pencil Hangers


The Teen found and did this craft all on her own. Afterwards she came and got me and said, “Mom, this would be a great library program.” It was a proud day for me. She of course used a YouTube video as a tutorial, which you can find here.

Bottle Cap Magnets


This is a tried and true standby for us. As you can see, we have done a lot of variations: Minecraft, Divergent, Sherlock, Duct Tape, etc. You can find instructions here.

There you have it, some of my favorite locker crafts. These have all been tested by several of my teens have the teen seal of approval.

Have some of your own to share? Drop me a comment. I’m always looking for new ideas.

See Also: Teen Program in a Box: Send Them Back to School with Style

TPiB: Bristlebots, take II (or what happens when you give teens space to be creative)

Since the SRC was science themed this year, Christie and I knew that we wanted to do a small robot program. We did a lot of research and came up with some various ideas, but ultimately we decided to do these small robots called Bristlebots or Brushbots. It turned out there were pre-made kits you could buy so we did that.

The day before my program I put a sample together to make sure that I would know how to do it with my tweens and teens. As a general rule, I try to avoid embarrassing myself in front of them. I’m not saying it never happens, I’m just saying that in this particular instance I thought putting a demo together was a good idea. One of the things I discovered was that putting the bots together wouldn’t take much time at all. But I had my Lego Makerspace so I figured we could spend the rest of the time building racing courses and letting the teens race their bots.

The day of the program, these teens genuinely surprised me. Instead of building tracks, they began doing little experiments of their own. One kid used a mini-figurine and his bot motor to see if he could get the person to move. Another built a horse and did the same. They take a concept and ran with it.

Then they started building cars using Legos and their bot motors to race. This meant they had to experiment a lot because whether or not the car would move depended on things like design, size, and the size of the motor/battery from the bot. For bigger cars, they tried using two motors, which didn’t work as well. But they could make a variety of smaller cars, use their brush bot motors, and race.

And as they built race tracks, they found that they had to consider things like how to round the corners so that the bots didn’t get stuck in them.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CqgPcy9QJU]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbFjbSk8xOc]

And the beauty of it is that it all came from them. I gave them free reign and they allowed their minds to take them places I would never have thought of. I was very impressed and the take away for me is that in our programming sometimes it’s a great idea to leave space for creativity; we can try and control the program, or we can be open to allowing the program to go in new directions and surprise us all.

TPiB: 10 Things to Do with a Blank Canvas, part 2

All you need to create some original art is really a blank canvas and some Mod Podge.  Well, and a few things to put on your canvas.  But the beauty is, you can take all that fantastic art you see in the store for a high dollar amount and create your own less expensive versions.  And then – no one has a piece of art like it but you! You are one of a kind, so shouldn’t your artwork be as well?  Yes, yes it should.  Yesterday I shared the first 5 of our 10 Things to Do with a Blank Canvas projects.  Here are the final 5.  Keep in mind, these are only 10 ideas, there are so many more.  And although it would make for a great tween or teen project, think room renovation, don’t forget that you can also use these projects to decorate a library or classroom.  And they would make wonderful, personalized gifts.

Blackout Poetry

This is a screen shot of all the different examples you can find if you do a Google image search for Blackout Poetry

Blackout poetry is where you take a piece of the newspaper and a black marker to black out most of the words until you have created a unique poem.  Once you have made your poem (and the black marker has thoroughly dried), decoupage your page onto an appropiately sized canvas and make your poem into wall art.  There is more information and a book full of poems at Newspaper Blackout.

Duct Tape It

My canvas art project does not look nearly as good as this one over at Duct Tape Fashion by Danielle Carter, but I wanted you to see how intricate it can truly be.  You can learn more at Duct Tape Fashion.

Six Feet Under the Stars by Danielle Carter, posted on Duct Tape Fashion

Look, you can cover anything with duct tape.  Anything.  So why not a blank canvas? You can make designs.  Buy a pack of 4 mini canvases and create a series that corresponds to the colors in your room and make basic designs.  Remember you can cut the tape to make shapes, it doesn’t just have to be lines, stripes and patterns.  Layer your tape to create a sheet (they actually sell the sheets by the way) and cut out any shape you can think of.

This is my idea of a Duct Tape project.  I covered the canvas with chalkboard paint and did a little edging with Batman Duck Tape for Christie’s office door.  Yes, that really is about the level of my ability.

Peel Away Book Quote Art

This is brilliant and outlined expertly by Erin from The Library as Incubator Project.  Just do it.  Any colors.  Any quotes.

Chalkboard It

They have an excellent example and instructions for this at LivingWellSpendingLess.com so go there

Chalkboard paint is a thing.  You can buy it.  It is fun.  Paint your canvas with chalkboard paint.  Then you could use something easy – say Duct Tape – to create a colorful border.  Voila. You have a custom designed chalboard for your room that matches your unique style and decor.  This one that they made at Living Well, Spending Less is awesome. And then there is mine:


Invite a bunch of your friends over.  Prep your canvas by spray painting a base coat.  Now, everyone paints their hands.  Yep, you know where this is going.  Make a handprint on your canvas.  You can use stickers or markers to write words, names, dates, etc. onto your canvas (once it has dried).  Then, seal it with a clear coat.  Or, you know, you could always just paint on it.  Or do some combination of projects 1 through 9.  In fact, you can buy a 12×12 canvas and just decoupage a scrapbook page.

Made with scrapbook paper and stickers. Don’t laugh.

Check out Part 1 for some other ideas and some general tips.

More Canvas Ideas
More Pinterest
Hey, Even More Pinterest

TPiB: Hosting a Teen Film Festival, inspired by Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker


Earlier today, we reviewed (and recommended) Andrew Jenks, My Adventures as a Young FilmmakerOf course, there are all kinds of programming potential tie-ins for the book.  You can go little, hosting a movie viewing party, or go big, inviting teens to create their own short films and hosting a local teen film festival.  So many people are doing amazing things these days with smartphones and computers, it is a great way to tap into that creativity with your local teens.

Hosting a Teen Film Festival
Today is a time of great creative renaissance for teens.  Now, more than ever, they have the tools at their disposal to make their own movies.  You can see amazing examples on YouTube and hitRECORD.org.  For a great look at young people dabbling in the word of film, watch the movie Super 8.  Tap into this zeitgeist moment and ask your teens to participate in a local teen film festival put on by you, their favorite librarian.

Hot Tips
Put together an awesome prize package.  It could include things like gift cards, local movie theater passes, or even something like a digital camera, iPod touch, etc.  You can ask local stores to donate and give them sponsorship credit.

Network with your local schools to get submissions, especially the art departments.  Sometimes they will even offer extra credit if you prompt them.

Getting Your Promotional Materials Organized

1.  Decide how you want to organize your teen film festival.  Will it be an open theme or will you ask teens to shoot on a specific theme?  If you want to do book related, you could ask teens to create their own booktrailers (see this post for more info).  Or, you could ask teens to make creative videos promoting the library.  But to spark true creativity, just leave it open.

2.  You’ll want to set some specific guidelines.  You’ll definitely want to address in your submission guidelines any rules you might have about language and content.  I’ve heard libraries say it had to be something you could sit and watch with the adults in your life, including teachers and parents.  That seems like a good guidelines.  You’ll always want to address length, etc.

3.  Create a way for teens to submit their videos.  You can set up a dummy email account using a free service such as gmail and asked teens to submit them via e-mail.  By using a dedicated account, you can make the e-mail address film festival related and easy to remember for teens and have an easy way to access all the submitted videos with your inbox being flooded with other correspondence.

5.  You’ll want to set up a YouTube channel to upload the videos to and have an online gallery.  You can upload the videos all at once or do several a day for a week.

6.  Create a voting mechanism to allow teens to vote on a winner.  If your library has a teen website, you can easily insert a poll feature to allow for voting.  FB also has an easy to use poll feature.

Showing The Work
If you have a way in-house, stream the videos in your teen area or at your check out desk.  You can use laptops or digital photo frames to do this.  I have also visited some libraries recently that had iPads attached to end caps, which would be ideal for this as well.

Have a film festival event where you actually show the videos in-house.  You can use a laptop and projector to do this.  Be sure and have refreshments. You might also want to consider contacting your local TV station personalities to come and host the event.

Depending on the number of submissions you receive, you may want to ask the top vote getting teens to talk a little bit about their piece as an introduction to showing them.

Award prizes and voila – you have hosted your own mini, local teen film festival.

Other Film Related Programs

We recently outlined a variety of movie related programming ideas based on the book Reel Culture by Zest Books, so you may want to check it out for some additional ideas.

Want to make a movie? There’s an app for that of course.  Here’s more on iMovie. 
Here’s some information on making book trailers. 
Here’s a YouTube clip on making a Short Film
Clipcanvas on How to Make a Short Movie
Top 5 Online Tools to Make a Online for Free
How to Use Windwos Movie Maker 
Don’t forget about Vine and Snapchat

See Also:
See also: Lights, Camera, Action: 5 YA Titles about teen filmmakers

Teen Tech 12

Teen Tech Week is coming (March 4 – 10)! Every year it seems to sneak up on me planning wise; We’ve just announced the big medal winners and are thinking about Valentine’s Day and them – bam – it’s Teen Tech Week. TTW is a great time to consider the role that technology plays in our programming. Teens like tech, but a lot of smaller libraries don’t have the staff or the budgets to keep up with the latest technology and really incorporate them into our programming. In fact, it often seems that teens are way ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. Even my preteen got a Kindle ereader for Christmas (which she loves) but our library still doesn’t offer any e-book services, which is true of a lot of libraries (although more and more are).

So what will you be doing this week – and this year – to incorporate the teen love of tech into your programming? Here are 12 ideas for you to consider doing in 2012.  Have one of your own? Please share it in the comments. Read more for the TLT Teen Tech 12 . . .

 1. Facebook Timeline
On February 10th everyone, like it or not, will have their FB pages goes over to the new Timeline format. There is a lot of information out there about how to “pimp” your Timeline and make it more uniquely your own. Spend some time getting familiar with the new Timelines so you can help your teens understand and use it. This is also a good time to talk with your teens about online privacy and safety issues. Have a small tech lab and invite teens to come play with the new Timeline and help them create unique covers for their pages.

PCMag.com: 12 Things you should know about Facebook Timeline
PCWorld: Facebook Timelines privacy tips: lock down your profile
Geek System: How to make your Timeline cover look extra awesome

2. Twitter Talk
Believe it or not, you can have some fun and interesting discussions on Twitter in only 140 characters a statement.  Set a date, time, and topic and invite your teens to meet you online for some Twitter chat. It’s even more fun if there is some type of big event – like a tv show premiere or awards show – that you can meet with your teens online and talk about.  You can also hold a virtual book discussion group using Twitter. You’ll want to create a hashtag that everyone includes in their tweets so that the topic is easy to follow. How to TweetChat info. Please note: this of course works with your Facebook page as well.

3.  Prezi
Teach your teens to take their presentations up a notch. PowerPoint is so last year.  Prezi is “the zooming presentation”. It’s fun and dynamic. Teens can create book talks, make library commercials and more for you as you teach them how to use this more dynamic presentation program.

4. QR Code Scavenger Hunt
You can download a QR code creator and have teens do a scavenger hunt through your library, their schools, or the entire town.  Out of all the programming, this will be the most limiting becuase it is important for us to remember that not all teens have smart phones (or any type of cell phone). iLearn Technology has put together a great “How to” for those of you interested in this type of programming.

5.  Figment
Figment is an online community that invites teens to share and critique their writings and the writings of other teens. They also have a daily writing prompt that would be great to get some writing and talking going. They have a wide variety of contests going on at all times that you can promote and invite your teens to tap into. You could have some more traditional writing workshops and then provide the opportunity for teens to submit their pieces on Figment.

6.  Meme

Ashlee Kunkel shared on the TLT Facebook wall that she was going to be doing a library meme contest and was going to use her FB page to promote it. To make a long story short, a meme is an idea or statement that spreads and is imitated. You see them everyday: Honey badger, Ryan Goslins and his Hey Girl. A meme is a picture or statement that goes viral. Rickrolling is my favorite meme and I have a friend who will snap a pic when Rick Astley comes on the radio and text it to me. It’s our thing.  There are some online meme generators that teens can use to create their own. I love this idea, if they get a good meme that takes off, it can really be a win for the library in their community.

Created using Typoinsta

7. Digital Photography
Technology does not have to mean computers, social media or even the Internet. You can have some photography workshops (ask a local photographer to come help) and help teens learn some basics about digital photography. Or you can help teens learn to create and alter their images to be more creative. You can use free online photo editing software, like Picknik.com (which is sadly going away) or Gimp (download it for free), to create more unique images, play with colorizing, or add texts. In fact, teens can use their own photographs to create unique memes. And you know I have mentioned things like iPhone apps (WordFoto, Instagram, etc.) that can help you make fun images. Or setting up a photobooth. Or decorating your teen area. You can even have an online photo contest where teens submit pics online and everyone votes on a winner. And I am not even going to use this talking point to shamelessly plug The 2012 Project. Nope, I’m really not. But you can see how it would fit right here, right? Okay – carry on. (I am Hipstamtic and Instagram obsessed right now, just saying.)

Rookie: How to use Picnik without looking like a tool
Business Insider: 10 Things you never knew you could do with your Instagram photos after you take them

8. Virtual Battle of the Bands
When I moved to Texas the Arlington Public Library system was having a virtual battle of the bands, which is a great way to do some preliminary rounds until you get to, say, a final four, and you can have a rocking after hours or outdoors concert. Teens simply submit songs mp3s or videos that you can share online and give your teen patrons the opportunity to vote on. All you need to do is set up your BOTB parameters, deadlines, and promote, promote, promote. This structure would also work for things like teen created book trailers, art work, memes, and more.

9. Comic Creators
There are a variety of online sites that help teens create their own comics and comic strips. This is a great way to get your gn fans involved and promote your gn collection whil incorporating technology into your programming.  There are online tools such as Pixton, Strip Creator, or ToonDoo. There are more out there so look around and find the one that works best for you.

10. Blog, Blog, Bloggity Blog
Help teens set up a blog! Most blogging platforms are free and easy to use. And blogging has benefits: teens get a forum to express themselves, be creative, practice writing skills and learn about protecting their online image. Encourage teens to blog about whatever they want and means something to them. Your TAB could blog about their library experiences, book discussion group members could blog about the books you are reading, etc. The opportunities are limitless.

11. Video Game Design
 Many teens are into playing video games, you may have noticed. Get those creative juices flowing in your teens and ask them what kind of video game they would design? Shh, don’t tell them – but they are in essence writing stories when they put together ideas for video games. They are creating unique worlds, rules of play, characters and more. They don’t actually have to design the game, just outline what it would look like. And I am sure some of your teens will include some unique artwork to help make their visions more clear.

12. Future Tech
Teens are smart, creative people and many of them have ideas about what the next great app, device, or technology breakthrough may be. Some of the greatest science fiction writers speculated about the future and how technology would play a part (think I, Robot), so let’s give our teens the opportunity to do the same.  You can have a simple, straightforward short story or art contest which invites teens to imagine what the future of technology may be. Or you can get together a bunch of materials, think junked computer parts and recylced materials, and you can give them time to create the technology of the future. Then they can tell everyone what their device is, how it would work and how it will impact the future. It’s like Project Fashion but Project Tech. Basically, you are inviting your teens to be Heinz Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb and create their own “inator”.

If you have more great tech programming ideas, please share them in the comments. If you have a program or idea that goes incredibly well for you, please consider sharing it with us here at TLT as a guess blog post so that other librarians can see and do.  And don’t forget to submit your Teen Tech Week pics as a part of The 2012 Project. You didn’t really think I wouldn’t mention it, did you?

TPIB: All the World’s a Stage

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,” – William Shakespeare

If all the world’s a stage, you can help teens play their part with some fun, theater themed programming.  Right after Halloween your local stores will be putting all their make-up and costumes on clearance, so now is a good time to stock up for a theater themed program.  You can choose from the activities below and do a one-time, one-hour workshop or you can do a series of theater themed workshops.  You can work alone or contact your local high school drama teacher or local theater to do some networking.

Head Gear: Costuming from the Neck Up

The theme for the 2011 OLC Conference was “Use Your Head”.  As part of the table decorations for the event, they thematically decorated a variety of styrofoam wig heads.  It made a cool visual impact, and is a fun, creative way to get teens involved in costuming as part of our program.  You can buy the styrofoam heads in bulk from Amazon.com.  Right after Halloween, when everything is 50 to 75% off is a great time of year to buy the costuming displays.  Because you are working with heads, you want to focus on hats, hair, and head gear.  Teens can visit your stockpile to decorate (costume) their head.  It can be done casually and just for fun, or in various types of mini challenges (think Project Runway with only the head).  You can ask them to do genre themed heads, for example.

You can let teens take their heads home, or, better yet, use them to decorate your teen area or in a display case.  Be sure to take pictures to share online.

Face Time: Stage Make-Up

There are a variety of sites online that show you how to do various types of face make-up.  You can do glam or focus on scary.  You can also make your own body/face glitter or simply do face painting.  Recent reports indicate that some Halloween and face painting materials are tainted with lead so you may want to consider making your own face paint.  And here are some face painting tips.  There are a wide variety of YouTube tutorials for all kinds of face make-up and face painting.

Dress Up Time

No costuming is complete without, well, an actual costume.  So visit a local thrift store (or,if you are anything like me, clean out your closet) and get together a wide variety of different costume options.  Again, this is a great activity to purchase various costumes on clearance at your local stores.

You can divide teens into teams and have them create a full head-to-toe costume for one of the team members.  Again, think Project Runway.  You can give them various challenges like: 70s or other decades fashion, specific genres, or ask them to create a character from a novel.

You can also do dress up relay races.

Don’t forget to take pictures!  These would be fun to use in promotional and RA materials, share online and teens are going to want the mementos because they will be having so much fun.

The Show Must Go On

You can do the above activities as a one-time program, or do them as part of a larger theater themed series of workshops.  Teens can then put together mini-plays to perform for younger audiences; they can be more complete productions with staging or you can simplify it and do some reader’s theater.  This is a great way to have fun programming for teens and give them service opportunities to perform for your younger patrons – it’s win/win for everyone.

TPIB: Monster Fest

Today is October 1 which means Halloween is right around the corner.  So it’s time to get your spook on with some wicked (and wickedly cool) programming.  For this this event we are going to look at monster inspired crafts, food and games and turn October into Monstrober, a rip roaring Monster Fest.  You can have a one time event or pick a day of the week and invite teens to drop in each, let’s say Monday, and do some monster inspired activities.

1.  Pumpkin Monsters
If the thought of pumpkin carving in the library sends chills down your spine, try the less frightening alternative: pumpkin painting.  Give teens some pumpkins (small ones will do) and some acrylic paints and instruct them to create their version of the most fearsome pumpkin creature known to man.  They will have to leave them in the library to dry so put them up on some higher shelves and use them to decorate the library.  And if you want, allow teens to vote on a winner.  You can take pictures and share them on your social websites as well as allow voting in house.

2.  Shrinky Monsters
Did you know that you can do Shrinky Dinks in a toaster over?  You can buy blank packets of Shrinky Dink paper, colored pencils and leave teens to it.  Simply follow the instructions on the package.  Your Shrinky Dink monsters can be made into magnets or jewelry.  Or, string them all up as garland to decorate your teen shelves during the month of October.

3.  Exquisite Corpse
If you read my posts, you know that I have mentioned this activity not once but twice before.  But it is a FREAKTASTIC monster making idea.  Divide your teens into teams of 3 or 4.  Give them either individual sheets of paper or, for more ghoulish fun take 1 long sheet of paper (think table covering size) and fold it into 3 or 4 sections (1 for each person on the team).  The rule is this:  each person on the team can not see what the previous person has drawn.  So person 1 draws the head, person 2 draws the torso and person 3 draws the legs.  What type of monstrous creature will they come up with?  When all the components are put together you will see some wicked creativity . . .

4.  Zombie Prom
As far as monsters go, there are none quite to popular right now as the zombie.  Invite the undead to come to your library for a zombie prom.  Libraries everywhere are jumping on the zombie bandwagon, and it is good to strike while the trend is hot.  The Newport Public Library zombie prom in 2009 invited teens to come dressed in the best zombie prom gear (think altered thrift store clothing, shredding and blood stains provided by your teens) and had a variety of activities including crafts and a zombie themed photobooth.  I would recommend getting teens to do the Thriller dance by Michael Jackson and bring out the new Calling All the Monsters video by China McClain on The Disney Channel.  Of course, a little Monster Mash might be fun, too.  Here are some great ideas about making a zombie costume.  And here is a video on cheap and easy zombie make-up.  Everyone loves cheap and easy, especially librarians with shrinking budgets.

5.  Mini Monster Felties
With some cheap felt scares, needles, stuffing and thread you can invite teens to make mini monster felties similar to these.  Pair this with some of the other monster themed crafts.  And again, these can be strung up to create monster themed garland.

6.  Clay Monsters
Of course, what you can do with felt you can also do with air dry or bake clay.  Check out these Fimo clay monsters and be inspired.  You don’t have to include the poo which was, well, gross.

7.  2×4 Monsters
The Keeping it Simple blog (linked above in title) has a great craft idea using 2x4s.  You can create individual monsters using individual 2×4 or create a collaborative project which could once again be sued to decorate your teen space.

From the Keeping it Simple blog at http://craftskeepmesane.blogspot.com/2011/09/spooktacular-2×4-halloween-characters.html

8.  Freaky Heads

You can buy some Styrofoam white wig heads at Amazon.com and give 1 to each teen to make terrifying.  Make sure to provide a wide variety of scrap materials and let creativity reign supreme.  My example is not monster themed because it was for a different type of activity (which I will soon write up in a theater themed program), but you get the general idea. 
9. Monster Treats
Think of all the fun monster themed treats you can make.  Here they made some monster pops by adding candy to a lollipop.  Here you can learn how to make edible googly eyes – they make a great addition to these spooky haystacks.  Here are some Frankenstein inspired Rice Krispie treats.  Here are a ton of spooky cake pops.  In fact, if you google “spooky food” you will get a ton of hits.  I do an image search to see what the food looks like and if it looks interesting follow the link to see if it will work in a program.
10.  Monster Games
Kick of your spook fest with a rip roaring game of eyeball golf.  You can use a floating eyeball ball and set up a mini golf course either in your meeting room (fun) or your stacks (funner).  In fact, one of your craft activities can be having teens design and decorate the various course holes.  Note:  Bookends make an excellent foundation for a mini golf hole.  Then add in some bean bag eyeball toss (or head, whatever you want to make them), some zombie freeze tag, and possibly some zombie survival games (think Nerf archery).

P.S. – Don’t forget that a lot of these crafts can be used to make jewelry.  Just add in some hemp cord and beads.  Voila, you have some scary bangles and baubles.

Picture It: 30 days of art activities, part 4

This year’s Teen Read Week theme is Picture It @ Your Library.  It runs from October 16-22.  But don’t worry, during the month of September TLT has been helping you get ready!

The truth is, you can do a wide variety of fun things with this type of a theme.  You can challenge your teens to picture themselves doing almost anything with the help of library materials.  Want to know more about space?  Yep, the library has what you need – just picture it.  Want to hunt dinosaur fossils?  Yep, we have that, too.  The library is your door to everything . . .

It can also be a celebration of art and self-expression.  For the month of September, in order to help you get ready for Teen Read Week, I have been sharing a craft a day.  There are a lot of fun things you can do with your teens with this theme for TRW.  Have a craft a day after school as a drop in activity.  Or have 1 large program where teens can choose one or more craft stations to do.  So here is a recap of what I have shared on the TLT FB for the final week of September . . .

Day 22: Art with Maps
Just in time for the 2011 SRC theme You Are Here (well, it would have been awesome if I had found it in time). However, it goes with our literature themes – great for multicultural or travel themed crafts and promoting multicultural/travel theme literature. Also would make great elements for displays. You could use maps to make paper beads, decoupage, and so much more . . .  Already I can picture a reading of Oh, The Places You’ll Go while tweens and teens do some map crafts.

Day 23:  Shadow Writing
Scroll way down and look at the pic where the girls are holding the sign “we ♥ daddy”. I think this would be a fun way to make wall art with book titles, quotes, and more. A fun activity all on its own or as part of a photography workshop.  All you need is paper or poster board, a camera, and a sunny day great for making shadows on the sidewalk.

Day 24: Wanted Posters
Because day 24 is during Banned Books Week, here is a fun way to create your own Wanted posters.  You can make your teens wanted for reading a banned book or make wanted posters for the books themselves.

Day 25: Personalized Caution Tape
Just in time for BBW, personalized caution tape! Want to make a creative BBW display? You can create caution tape with a personalized message using barrier tape bought at the hardware store. Instructions when you follow the link.  As a bonus craft, here are instructions on how to make a Lady Gags inspired caution tape hat.

Day 26: Magnetic Bottle Cap Mood Bracelets
We talked about multicultural literature as one of the top 10 trends, so we should definitely look at some multicultural crafts. Here teens can take a unique twist on the old mood rings by creating a magnetic bottle cap bracelet with Chinese characters. Unique and cool.

Day 27: Tank top totes
Earlier we talked about having a Project Runway inspired program for teens, and this would be an easier type of sewing project to include in that.  In addition to a fun TRW craft, it would also be a great Earth Day craft.  Reusable totes are in and these would make cool library totes to carry your newly checked out books in.  Tons of fun.

Day 28:  Personalized Guess Who
Take the board game Guess Who and make it personalized with photos of your library staff, teens on your advisory board, or current pop culture stars.  Or make it literary by using book characters or even book covers.

Day 29: Props
I recently spent a Saturday dressing up white Styrofoam wig heads for an upcoming OLC conference.  Who knew it could be so much fun.  This got me thinking, what a great activity for a teen theater type of craft.  In fact, you could put together a reader’s theater program and use these props.  Or have it be one activity as part of a bigger theater type of program (which I am blogging about next week so stay tuned).  Or of course you can make them for a photobooth as this blog suggest.  Fun for Halloween, too.  I, however, think it would be great to get older teens involved in reading and performing for younger library patrons so put together a reader’s theater group and have part of the preparation be making these fun props.

Day 30:  Get Caught Reading Photobooth

If you have an iPhone, this is super simple because you can use the PhotoBooth app.  If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still do it by taking 4 pictures in quick succession and then formatting them to look like a photobooth strip with a border in Publisher or some other photo editing software.  Big Huge Labs also has a way to make them online.  If you are so bold and have a handy man available, you can even make your own photobooth.  There is also a YouTube video on how to make your own photobooth.  In a pinch I think draping some sheets would work just as well.  Take an afternoon and invite teens to drop in to your teen area and visit your photobooth.  You can have them do anything you like, but you can provide them with a variety of fun props (see above) or since it is Halloween some simple dress up ideas.  Or take pictures of them with their favorite books.  Use the photo strips to decorate your teen area and webpage and give a copy for teens to take home.

Picture it week 1
Picture it week 2
Picture it week 3

More craft resources to use with your teens . . .
Crafts for Teens
12 Teen Crafts
Be sure to check out the Pinterest board

Picture It: 30 Days of Art Activities, part 3

This year’s Teen Read Week theme is Picture It @ Your Library.  It runs from October 16-22.  But don’t worry, I am here to help you get ready!  Here are the links presented for the 3rd week of September as a part of the prep for TRW 2011.

Picture it day 15: Stamping with Legos

Pure genius. And pure fun. And a great alternate activity for those libraries with Lego clubs.

Picture it day 16: silhouettes 

Teens can make pictures of themselves, their friends, their favorite monsters, superheroes or book characters. Get creative with it.

Picture it day 17: Make your own magnetic poetry.

For more poetry ideas check out Poemcrazy: freeing your life with words. It is amazing.  There is not enough poetry in the life of teens if you ask me.

Picture it day 18: Minimalist posters
For a fun activity, look no further than the designs of Albert Exergian. He created a variety of minimalist posters for his favorite tv shows. Wouldn’t it be fun to see what teens came up with for their favorite books? A simple bow and arrow for The Hunger Games, maybe. Or an apple with 2 fang bites for Twilight.

Picture it day 19: Paper quilling 
Have a bunch of books you are discarding? Get your teens together and practice paper quilling. Since you won’t be using colored paper you can create black and white pictures – or paint them when you are done. Of course you always could just used color paper, but then what are you going to do with all of those discarded books?

Picture it day 20: altered books
You probably have books that you are weeding out of your collection, so why not turn them into art. You can rip, cut, paint, tear – whatever you need to create your altered book art. This page has some examples, but google altered books and you will find a lot out there.

Picture it day 21: Steampunk crafts!
How about literature inspired crafts for Teen Read Week? Here are a ton of steampunk inspired crafts, some of them have How Tos. If money was not an object, it would be fun to have a genre inspired craft a day for the week. Of course, money is always an object. Pair this with the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld . . .

TPIB: Art Through the Ages

Picture It days 8-14

This year’s Teen Read Week theme is Picture It @ Your Library.  If you read through my previous Teen Programs in a Box posts, you will find a variety of fun craft/picture themed ideas.  And I have already shared one TRW idea called the Book Quotation Celebration.  But I thought I would put a fun twist on the topic and celebrate art itself.  Art has a rich history that begins way back with cave paintings and proceeds through things like pottery, pointillism, cubism, and postmodernism.  I am not an artist, but I am married to a man who was an art major.  Occassionally I have learned something from him.  So in an era where the arts are struggling for school funding and teens are struggling for the time and means to express themselves, I think a celebration of art through the ages would be a great Picture It @ Your Library program.  So jump in your time machine and let’s go back in time . . .

For an awesome Art Through the Ages program, you’ll want to choose several of the crafts below, or find your own (High School Art Lessons is a great resource), and set up a variety of stations.  At each station have a table tent sitting next to an example of the craft with a brief explanation of what historical or artistic time period the activity represents.  Also, be sure and pull a lot of your amazing craft books off the shelves and put them on display in the room where you are working.  Worried about having enough hands to help with the program?  Contact your local HS art teachers and ask for volunteers to help at each station; often they will offer their students extra credit if you agree to sign something stating they were there.  A lot of these activities can be modified for various age levels; you’ll only really need assistants if your audience tends to skew towards the younger teen years.

Cave Paintings
Some of the earliest recordings we have date back to pre-historic times in the form of cave paintings.  Cave paintings usually told stories in hieroglyphics or in pictograms.  You can create your own cave paintings using some very basic (and cheap) supplies.  Either use flattened paper bags from your grocery store or use a roll of brown shipping paper as your back drop.  This will help create a cave wall feeling.  You’ll want to scrunch them up to give them texture.  Have teens create their art work using markers, paints, stamps or whatever works for you.  This is a simple, open ended activity and in the end you can create a cave wall in your teen area decorated by your teens.

The ancient Egyptian art of Hieroglyphics is always a lot of fun.  You can get a variety of fun Egyptian stencil and stamps at Amazon.com.  Buy some air dry clay and have your teens use toothpicks to draw these symbols into clay beads that they make.  Make sure you punch a hole in each bead before you begin working on your project.  Then, simply let dry and string and you have an ancient necklace, charm bracelet or keyring.  (There are also some African design stencils available for the same type of craft).  Many colors can be used in layers to create a multi colored bead, they do not have to be one color.  If you choose to use FIMO or similar clay that must be baked, you can bake these in a toaster oven.

Pottery and Statues
Ancient Greece and Rome are known for their pottery and statues.  You can give teens the opportunity to create their own by using the same air dry clay mentioned above.  To take the theme in a different direction, you could decoupage boxes with old magazine pics of famous statues.  You could also create paper mache’ figures that you later paint, but this is a very time consuming activity.  This is a great way to get community involvement if you know someone in your community who could bring in a pottery wheel and give a demonstration.

Jewelry and adornment is a rich part of most cultures.  You can give teens a wide variety of beads and beading stuff (think necklaces, keychains, head bands, and more) and see what they create.

Murals and Mosaics
Give each teen 1 sheet of plain white paper.  Give them 15 minutes to draw, color, and fill the space.  Then use all the pages together to create a giant mural or mosiac in your teen area or some other area of the library that could use some decoration.

You could also do this with digital photography and give teens specific challenges (say, take a picture of your friends reading their favorite books) and see if they can create a reading collage.  Bonus points if you can use all the pics to make a larger picture of a book.

You can also purchase a variety of mosiac crafts (foam or tile) for the teens to do.  There are things like picture frames and boxes that would work well.  As far as activities go, this can be on the more expensive side.

You can also get individual ceramic tiles and some paint (enamel).  Give each teen a tile and let them design away.  After the tiles dry you can use them to create an amazing mural.  If you know someone with the skills, you can put them together to make cool tables for your teen area as seen here.  You could also frame them and hang them up as a picture.  You’ll want to put a clear coat (it is literally called “clear coat”) over it to protect and preserve it.  It would be great to give it that library twist and have them somehow incorporate their favorite book title or quote in their piece.

Paper Making and Marbling

Here you can find an intricate process to make paper.  There is a 45 minute process outlined here.

An easier way to deal with the history of paper and paper making would be to do some fun paper marbling activities.  The $5 Friday blog outlines and inexpensive way to do this.

Origami is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.  You probably have a lot of books in your collection to help you with this portion of art history.  There are also some books available on duct tape origami or origami using money.

Stained Glass
Stained glass is an intricate artform that is time consuming but beautiful.  You can make basic stained glass replicas by melting crayong between two pieces of wax paper using the heat of an iron.  You can also use tissue paper to make these stained glass windows.  Or you can kick it up a notch and mod podge layers of tissue paper onto votive holders and make stained glass votives.


Pointillism is a form of art in which a variety of small dots are used to create a larger picture.  George Seurat is one of its most famous practitioners.  You can have teens create their own Pointillism pictures using pencil erasers and water color paints or stamp pads as seen at Get Spotty.

Cubism was made famous in part by Pablo Picasso.  You can use discarded manga and magazines to create Cubism collages as seen here.

Pop Art
Andy Warhol is perhaps one of the most famou pop artists.  And perhaps his most well known works are his representations of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s soup cans in various colors.  These are fairly simple to create digitally using photo shop editing tools.  In fact, there are some iPhone apps that do it instantly for you.
Future Art
Wait, you still have some of that clay left over, right?  Make clay aliens to represent the future.  Or have teens use things like tin cans, utensils, etc. to make their own robots.
As seen at Book Clubs 4 Boys http://bookclubs4boys.blogspot.com/
Don’t forget to tap into your local resources.  If you have a college near by with an art department ask the professors for inspiration, they may even be willing to come and do some hands on activities.  The same goes for middle school and high school teachers.  There are a wide variety of art history lessons plans online for you to consult.
You don’t have to do all the time periods in one day, you could have several activities from ancient times one day, medieval another, and so on and do it as a series.  Want a literature tie in?  Make it a book/art club and read a book and do an art project from the time period.  Or since we are talking about one week, Teen Read Week, you could do an after school art project every day for the week.