Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Bookish Nails

The other day, the above Tweet from Bloomsbury came through my Twitter feed and it inspired an a-ha moment in me! At some point every day, The Tween will show me some cool new design she has seen on her Instagram. And my Tumblr has suddenly become full of book related manicures. Which got me thinking – a Bookish Nails type program would be an awesome idea.

You could have a book discussion group that met each month and did your nails while you talked about the book. Or, if you fear the wrath of an overturned nail polish bottle, you could do something fun like an Instagram Bookish Nails contest. Just have Tweens and/or Teens upload a pic of their book themed mani with a hashtag of your choosing. Perhaps a local nail shop would donate a mani/pedi as a prize.

Or you could have a larger Spa Day at your library and have bookish nails be a part of the process. Then you can also do a variety of things like make your own salt scrubs, mail your own lip gloss and more.

Whatever you decide to do, definitely keep an eye out for all the book themed nails out there because they are fun to share on social media with your teens. If nothing else, they can be inspiration. I will say, however, beware the evil marbled nails technique floating out there. We have tried it three times and it has resulted in a big Pinterest fail for us.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag4XoCAnUkQ]

And in case I haven’t mentioned it, my Tweens are obsessed with the Do It, Gurl Youtube channel for all their DIY needs. And they are also great for sharing via your social media.

Here are 6 sources of inspiration for some Bookish Nails . . .

Comic Book Nails
Great for GN and comic book lovers, here’s a tutorial on making comic book inspired nails.

Msnail Decor Channel
This Youtbue channel is all about manicures. Not specifically book related, but tons of vids with great ideas and techniques.

Book Riot: 15 Awesome Young Adult Book Inspired Manicures
The folks over at Book Riot have put together 15 of their favorite YA inspired manicures for you.

Pinterest: Book Inspired Nails
Pinterest doing what Pinterest does best, here are tons of ideas for you.

Novels and Nail Polish
A blog dedicated to books and manicures, another great source of inspiration.

The Twins Read Nails on Instagram
Nicole’s Nails has a lot of great YA inspired manicures. Definitely check them out.

What are your favorite resources? What have been your favorite book inspired nail art moments? Please do share in the comments.

TPiB: When Books Inspire Art

One of the things I love most about the Doctor Who Tumblr is all of the amazing fan created art you find there.  Sometimes there are quotes, sometimes not.  But the thing is, Doctor Who is obviously a show that is touching a lot of people and inspiring them to create in response to them.  For many people, books do this as well.  Many of the authors I follow will share the artwork that fans send to them.  They may be drawing characters or scenes depicted in the books.  Sometimes they take their favorite quotes and make them into art.  The thing is, when books move you they can inspire a creative response.

Like many reading fans, I do this as well.  But I am not an artist.  All I have is a smartphone, some apps, and a desire to create.
Sometimes, I take a photo and it makes me think of a book so I create a promo pic.

Here, I used Diptic to create a type of word game/pictogram of some of my favorite children’s stories.  These are great to share online as a fun, interactive talking point.

Sometimes, I just really love quotes from books so I create ways to save those quotes for myself.  I simply used Instagram to take the photos, added some text to them, and voila!  They print off nicely and make great room decorations.
These quotes are from Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, a book that I desperately loved.  It is a book about a future where love is outlawed.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a book where old photographs play an important part of the story.  These are not regular photographs, but haunting ones.  In this picture I just accidentally framed it wrong and cut my daughter’s head off.  Oops.  But it immediately brought the book to mind so I ran with it.
Both of these photographs inspired by Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis were taken months apart, which just goes to show you how much the book stays with you. It is set in a future America where water is sparse and a girl named Lynn must protect the pond on her land.  One day my 4-year-old went outside and sat on top of her playhouse with a pair of binoculars and when I saw her, it immediately made me think of the book (this is how the book begins actually).  Then months later, the Texas land was parched and cracking and I thought this is what the world in Not a Drop to Drink would look like, so I had to capture it.

I love so much about Alice in Wonderland.  I love how part of the heart of the story is that Alice is a person full of wonder and imagination, and how as she grows older she risks losing that.  As a mom my desire is that my girls will never lose it, either their muchness or their belief in impossible things.  So I made a bunch of art to decorate their rooms and remind them to dream big.

I am a person who loves words.  Words inspire me.  They remind me of who I want to be and how I want to live my life.  And so I collect quotes.  I literally have journals full of my favorite quotes.  Sometimes, they need to come out of a journal and be front and center where I can see them.  So I make art for my home and office to keep the quotes where I can see them and absorb them.
Often I combine them with pictures of my girls because I AM a mom and we like to have those pictures around the house too.  My two favorite things: my girls and books.

The thing is, you don’t have to be an artist to create art inspired by your favorite books.  I am not an artist.  I am just a girl with a phone and a mad, crazy passion.
5 Things You Can Do With Your Book Inspired Art:
1) Print it out and frame it
2) Print it out and mod podge it onto a blank canvas (part 1 and part 2)
3) Put several panels together and make a bookmark
4) Print it out and make end cap displays
5) Make personalized gifts, cards and more.  Seriously, you can mod podge them onto anything.
Here is a list of my favorite photo apps
Here is a list of my favorite word apps
If you are a teen that creates book inspired art, or someone that loves one, don’t forget that you can submit your art in this year’s It Came from a Book teen art contest.  The deadline for submissions is November 1st and you can get complete details at The Library as Incubator webpage. This contest is sponsored by Teen Librarian Toolbox, the Library as Incubator Project, EgmontUSA and Zest Books.
Please note: The Quarantine photo is a photo is the only photo that is not an original photo.  Author Lex Thomas tweeted the photo and I manipulated it with permission as a promo pic for a guest post they wrote at TLT, because it is a truly cool photo.

TPiB: 10 Things To Do With a Blank Canvas, part 1

One of my recurring programming themes is Renovate Your Room.  We are actually in the midst of doing this right now as the Tween has decided that she no longer wants a princess room (sob, why do they grow up so fast?).  Now we are creating a new room with a Paris/Doctor Who theme.  My vision is that Doctor Who will fly in the Tardis and take a trip to Paris.  But redoing a room doesn’t have to be expensive or out of a box.  In fact, libraries are full of books that teach us simple, easy and often inexpensive things we can do.  This makes a room personal.  My current obsession is to create art projects out of blank canvases (bought in bulk when on sale).  While I experiment, I thought I would share with you 10 projects that we have done to help decorate the Tween room.  I am also going to be doing this as a tween/teen program later this month, so I know they all work.  I am a huge fan of using either pictures (I do love my kids) or words (I do also love a good quote).  

Make a Pseudo Canvas Portrait

Print any digital portrait/picture, including your favorite Instagram pictures.  You can try and do this transfer process outlined here.  But when I couldn’t get it to work, I simply glued my printed picture onto the canvas and decoupaged it.  Turns out, it works just as well. First, I prepped my canvas by spray painting it black (any color will work).  Then, I gently tore off the edges to create the older effect that I wanted.  Then after I glued and allowed my picture to dry, I did some stippling of black paint (use acrylic) along the edges.  Then, after again letting it dry, I did a finishing coat of Mod Podge.

Paper Collage

Using a variety of scrapbook papers, you can make a collage of any sort.  Simply glue it onto your canvas and decoupage.  You are only limited by your creativity.  Here I created the classic Mikey Mouse head/ears shape for my toddler’s room. You could use maps, scrap pieces of paper, postcards, etc.

Picture Collage/Memes

Made with PowerPoint

For more advanced collages, there are lots of things that I envision in my head that I don’t have the actual skill to make a reality.  So I often turn to Microsoft Publisher to help make it happen.  Here I use a combination of clip art, word art and downloaded photos to create collages.  Then I simply print and decoupage them onto canvas like I would a regular picture.

You can make a picture collage in both Microsoft Publisher or PowerPoint.  After you have layered your elements the way you want them, connect them together as a group (under format) and then choose “save as picture” to create a picture.  You don’t have to do this if you are simply printing your picture out, but you’ll want to do that if you want to send or import the new picture into another program.  You can, for example, do this and create your own postcards. It’s true.

Made with Instagram and Over apps

 You can make your own art to decorate your library.

Made with Instagram and Over apps

Use pictures and combine them with your favorite quotes to decorate your home or your library.  There really is no limit to what you can produce quickly and easily with the right tools (see my “see also” at the end of this post for a look at some of the tools I use).

Grid Pictures

Grid Photo made with PhotoShake app

In order to create these cool graph pictures that I decoupage onto canvas, I used the iPhone app Photoshake.  You can create graphs of up to 20 pictures I believe.  Then you simply print them, glue them onto your canvas and decoupage.  You can add words to your grid picture by creating a separate picture first in something like Over (see these apps to learn more) and then using that picture as one of the pictures in your grid picture.  Although this is a variation of the pseudo canvas portrait, I added it separately because it is currently my favorite thing ever.  They make great gifts for friends and family members to highlight a variety of pictures of your relationship.  Or to capture the different ages of a child.  Or you know, a collection of flowers or whatever your thing is.

You can also create this type of a look directly onto the canvas if you size your pictures correctly.  Use a 12×12 sized canvas and print out 9 of your favorite Instagram pics at size 4×4.  You can now create a grid collage with 3 rows of 3 pictures.  The have more information about this over at A Beautiful Mess.

Shadow Reliefs

One day I had a vision for a series of representational Doctor Who pieces (see above).  What I wanted to do was to take icons from the series and create some representational art.  If you wanted to do things like initials or common, every day objects (say hearts and stars), you could use pre-purchased stencils for this.  But we had to create our own.  This was a more involved project.

Step 1: Prep the Canvas

Anytime you just need a base color for your canvas, spray paint is your friend.  Quick, easy, and gets the job done well.  You will want to make sure you have two contrasting colors for this project.  Your base coat will be the color of your canvas so you will want to make sure you paint the outside edges of the canvas as well.

Step 2: Make Your Stencils

To make the stencils, we used blue painters tape, a crafter’s cutting mat, a pencil, and an exacto knife.  We overlaid strips of blue painters tape onto the craft mat to create a sheet of it that covered our canvas.  We then drew an outline of the shape we wanted in pencil.  Pencil was important because it erased really easily and we did have to make some adjustments.  We then used our exacto knife to cut out our stencil.

Step 3: Apply Stencil and Paint

Apply your stencil to your pre-prepped canvas and spray pain in your contrasting color.  You will want to make sure and cover the edges of your canvas with painters tape as well because there can be overspray and you don’t want it to get on your already primed edges.

Step 4: Seal

You can use decoupage (Mod Podge for example) or any spray sealant to help protect the longevity of your piece.

So here are some basic tips you’ll want to keep in mind:

Photo Printing
You can use regular photographs, but they are bulkier and don’t adhere to the canvas as well.  I recommend printing your pictures onto regular paper using your color printer.

Size is Everything
Make sure and keep picture and canvas sizes in mind.  You can buy canvas in smaller sizes, which would work well for doing say 4 Instagram pictures.  See the Shadow Relief canvases to get an idea of what I am talking about.  You can buy 8 by 12 canvases, which is the size of standard printing paper.  They also have 12 x 12 canvases which is the standard size of a piece of scrapbooking page.  You just keep sizing in mind when creating your project.  If you want to do larger projects (and they do make larger projects), you can do poster size printing at places like Staples for a fee. 

Patience Really is a Virtue
Anytime you glue something down, wait until that layer dries completely before moving on to the next layer.  This same rule applies to painting.  It is a process, be patient (which is really hard for me).

When your project is set up the way you want it to, you are now ready to seal it with decoupage.  There is spray decoupage and the liquid kind you find it jars and spread with brushes.  If you use the spray kind, do it outside (when it is not windy) because it stinks and gets all over.  Either way, you will want to apply multiple coats.  YOU MUST LET YOUR PROJECT DRY COMPLETELY BETWEEN COATS.

In order not to make this post too long, I have divided it into two parts. You are welcome.  Part 2 can be found here (after it posts).

See also: Using apps for Marketing, Instagram crafts 1 and 2, and Memes

Friday Finds News Roundup, 4/5/2013

A few things of note this week…

Tweens are having (were having?) beauty contests on Instagram.  Not too surprising, but the grassroots counter movement is certainly worth noting.  A mom ruminates on the issue, and coincidentally I spotted this piece this week too, “Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life“.

One of my favorite recent professional development conversations, the #readadv Twitter chat, now has a blog.  This is great, because there has been many a Thursday night that I’m in the weeds and can’t participate.  I’m hoping this will help the conversations continue throughout the interim weeks as well.

Let’s connect teens with books!  YALSA has a few ways – their Books For Teens program is accepting applications, and if you’re near Chicago, you and your teens can get free Saturday exhibits passes for ALA Annual this June by participating in the Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Session.

Speaking of Chicago, we lost a great Chicagoan this week with the death of film critic and thoughtful human, Roger Ebert.  Jennie at YAReadingList.com has put together a list of books about teens who love movies in his honor.  If you have a hand in ordering movies for your library, please check out the offerings from Ebertfests past and present, which highlighted some of Mr. Ebert’s favorite, often overlooked films.  He understood, as many of us do, the incredible humanizing, unifying, transformative power that creative works can  have in peoples’ lives.  His quote below, from a 2005 interview on NPR, highlights what we in the teen lit world often say about books:

“If you only see films about people just like yourself, why even bother to go? Because you already know about yourself.  You can only find out about yourself by learning about others.” – Roger Ebert

This is the end of the first week of School Library Month.  A big shout out to our school librarian readers from all of us at TLT!  Thanks for all you do for your students and communities and for contributing your expertise in so many ways!  I spotted this great and growing wiki project that addresses school and public library partnerships.  Good for all of us to keep in mind.

Happy Friday everyone!


TPiB: Instagram crafts

Every Friday in March we’re sharing crafts with our favorite website, The Library as Incubator Project.  Check their site out for awesome ways to incorporate art into your library and programming.  This week, I am sharing with you some of my favorite things to do with Instagram pictures.
Instagram is perhaps one of the hottest tech (social media) tools being used right now.  If you aren’t familiar with it (are there people who aren’t?), it is a photo app for a smart phone that let’s you take and manipulate pictures quickly and beautifully and then easily share them online.  I love Instagram pictures hard core, take dozens or more a day, and use them a lot right here on this blog.  I am always trying to find new ways to use them and have found a variety of enchanting crafts that you can incorporate them into.
For example, you can Mod Podge them onto anything, including a canvas to create stunning artwork for your walls.  Coasters, book covers, votive candles – I am not kidding, you can use them to decorate literally anything.  There is an entire blog dedicated to Mod Podge, so check it out.

If you get really ambitious, you can try and do this photo transfer craft that I found at A Beautiful Mess. I was possibly less successful at it then they were.

Quick Tip: Instagram is not the only awesome app out there.  You can use TypoInsta to add text, WordFoto to make your picture into a word photo, and FilterMania 2 has a ton of easy overlays (frames) that you can use.  You can run your picture through several different apps to maximize creativity.  Here is a look at some of my personal favorites. 

You can also create a variety of unique mini-scrapbooks that capitalize on the tiny size of Instagram photos.  (If you have ever tried to print them you know that a standard photo printing lab can not in fact print them because they are smaller than 4×6 and they don’t format correctly).

Today, I am sharing with you my favorite mini-scrapbook which presents itself as the perfect gift to share with others.  You can make a mother’s day present, father’s day, or a graduation gift for your best friend filled with photos of your life together.  And if you size it right, they are fun and easy to fill with your favorite Instagram pictures.  You can import your Instagram pictures into a program like Microsoft Publisher, size them and then print them on regular copy paper for this project.

This project is a modified verions of THIS craft.  If any of the instructions get confusing, you check out the inspirational post at Scrap ‘N Frames.com. 

Supplies Needed:
Empty cereal box (for your top and bottom cover)
Plain card stock paper, 12 x 12 (I prefer black)
Duct Tape
Stickers and other embellishments
Several – like 10 or more – Instagram prints size 4×4 

This is what we are making, a mini scrapbook that folds up like an accordion to fill with your favorite Instagram pics.

Step 1: Creating Your Cover

Cut your empty box into two equal size squares, 4 1/2 by 4 1/2.

Other instructions tell you to cut and cover your squares with wrapping or scrapbook paper, but I am here to tell you how to make it easier on yourself: Duct Tape! That’s right, cover both sides of each square with duct tape. Simple, fast, easy – and totally cool. And they have so many cool designs and colors now that you can’t go wrong.

To create a closure for your book, Duct tape one piece of ribbon onto the underside of 1 of your covers.  You will use this at the end to wrap around your book and tie it shut.  It makes it look like a mini gift.

Note: You can also cover your scrapbook cover with scrapbook or wrapping paper if you don’t want to use Duct tape.

Quick Tip: Duct Tape totally does horrible things to your scissors, so have Goo Gone nearby to keep them sharp and clean. Clean scissors make happy cuts, gooey scissors make angry cuts.

Step 2: Folding Your Pages

First, you need to turn your 12 by 12 paper into 8 by 8 sized paper.
You want to make sure your paper is cut down to 8 by 8 size, there will be a little bit of trimming involved.  To make straight lines, a paper cutter can be your best friend. But you can also just use the edge of a metal ruler if you are careful.

Now comes the tricky bit, folding your paper.  Basically, if you make these 3 simple folds you create the lines necessary to fold your paper. 

Next, you need to fold your sheet into the accordion format.  There are really great instructions for that here.  Basically, you fold your paper like this:

Fold your first sheet of paper in half.

  Open your paper, rotate 90 degrees and fold in half again.

  Open your paper and flip it over.

Fold your paper from corner to corner to make a triangle.

Repeat folds with the second sheet of paper.

The two papers should now fold into a smaller square.

One square can be inserted into the other square and glue to create an accordion folding  square.

Glue two sheets together by placing them as pictured above.  You can make your mini scrapbook as big as you would like by adding additional pages.

When you are done, they will all fold together accordion style into one neat square like this:

Step 3: Attaching the Covers

Because your covers have Duct tape, you’ll want to use a stapler and staple a cover to to each side of your folded sheets, making sure you only use the top sheet of each end so your book will open properly.  Simply use a piece of Duct tape to cover the staples on the outside of your cover.  In traditional accordion scrapbooks you glues the cover onto the sheets, but Duct tape will prevent this from working properly.

Step 4: Filling the Pages

You can import your Instagram pictures into a program like Microsoft Publisher and size them correctly for your scrapbook.  You’ll want them to be 4×4 in size to fit inside.  After correctly sizing the pics, simply print on regular paper in color and you are ready to complete your album.

Get creative with it! Add stickers, captions, lettering and more to make it unique and pop.

Doing this as a library program:
To make it an easy library program, set up stations and precut some of the pieces.
Station 1: Make your cover.  Have a table with precut squares, scissors and duct tape.
Station 2: Fold the insides. Have a variety of card stock available.
Station 3: Give it guts. Stickers, etc.
Station 4: Printing station. You will need to help teens import and print their photos. Have a laptop ready to go. 

Some other things you can do with Instagram pictures
Girl on a Board ideas
A variety of other types of mini scrapbooks
TPiB: Turn your Instagram photos into photobooth bookmarks 
More iPhone Apps to make awesome pics 

TPIB: Turn your Instagram pics into Photobooth bookmarks

You can take any 4 Instagram pictures (or Hipstamatic pictures) and turn them into a bookmark craft with your teens.  Technically, you can do it with any photos as long as you get the measurements right – but Instagram/Hipstamatic are kind enough to have frames built in. 

Think of the things you can do here!

TAB/TAG bookmarks
Teen volunteers in action
Program bookmarks (which you can also import into publicity posters)
Graduation gifts
Mother’s/Father’s Day Gifts
BFF gifts
“Get Caught Reading” bookmarks
You get the idea.

Put some cool facts on the back and you have a great publicity piece.

So, let’s get started . . .

Make sure you have the pictures you want downloaded.

Open your Microsoft Publisher program and import your 4 pictures.

Make sure they are all the same size by right clicking on each picture.  Choose “format picture” and click on the size tab.  You can put 4 pictures at 2.50 and they will fit on a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.  Make sure you keep your aspect ratio locked.

Next you want to make sure everything is aligned. Stacking the 4 pictures involves a certain amount of just eyeballing it.  Using pictures with white frames this doesn’t matter, but if you use black framed pictures you’ll want to make sure the top edge of each picture cleanly connects with the bottom edge of the picture on top of it in the stack.  Aligning the outside edges is easy, you just use the align tool provided by Publisher.  Simply select all your images and center align.
If you simply want to print, laminate and decorate – you can do that now.  However, I prefer to save my images as .jpegs in case I want to import them into something at another time.  So here, I would select all my images and group them together and then save them as a new image.  This is also helpful in case I need to trim some outside edges anywhere.  If you think you will want to use the bookmark in a future promotional piece or share it via your social media sites, you’ll want to save it as an image.
To complete the bookmarkification (yep, not a word), simply laminate.  Or you can do the poor man’s lamination process and cover both sides in clear contact paper.  Then punch a hole, add some string and beads to the top if you would like. And – viola’.  You have personalized bookmarks.  Note, you can do it in horizontal form, too.

There are some cool Photobooth apps that will turn your smart phone into a photobooth.  But this is a great way to turn all your random pics the same type of piece that you can do something with.