Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Sharpie “Tie Dye” T’s

Every summer I run at least one T shirt decorating program because they are surefire hits for my group.  Tie dying is the classic, but truth be told, it really pushes the limits of my willingness to tolerate mess and spend gobs of setup and cleanup time. This year we’re trying a different spin on the familiar style, using permanent markers. Fortunately, it dovetails nicely with this summer’s CSRP, Spark a Reaction, thanks to the hidden science that we’ll get to later.

Here’s how it’s done:

Stretch your T-shirt over a pice of cardboard (above, I used a flexible plastic place mat which also works). Alternately, you can stretch your T over a plastic cup and rubber band it taut to give you a circular workspace.
Experiment with ink patterns and shapes. In the above example, the yellow/orange/red section was created by dotting the ink on, and the blue/green/purple one was done with lines.
Spray or drip rubbing alcohol onto your design, starting from the center. If desired, use a chopstick or pencil to poke the center up, ensuring that the alcohol moves away from the center.
The result is a blending and bleeding of colors that simulates the tie-dye look.  Teens can also get creative, drawing designs and spraying them to give them a glow effect.  Below, you can see how my daughter salvaged her drawing of princesses by spraying the heck out of them to turn them into something much more interesting and mystical (in my opinion). Karen says: Weeping Angels!
Send teens home with instructions to iron it on the highest setting for the fabric once it has dried. This will help set the color so it won’t fade too quickly in the wash. I recommend washing alone the first time, and using cold water. 
The hidden educational bit here is that what you’re doing is basic chromatography. By spraying the alcohol on the ink, you see the colors change and blend because, in part, they are separating into their components.  If you’d like to play up the science end of things, consider purchasing the Sharpie Pen Science kit from Steve Spangler Science

T shirts, bandanas, or other fabric items
Rubbing alcohol
Spray bottles, eye droppers, or straws
Plastic cups
Rubber Bands

If you already have the Sharpies and kids bring their own T shirts, you could run this for as little as the cost of a bottle of rubbing alcohol, about $2.

15 minutes to 1 hour


Great for both tweens and teens


More T-Shirt Fun:
Meme All the Shirts
Making a Tardis T-shirt

Playlist: Science Rocks My World

I am a firm believer that music makes everything better…  whether it’s driving through massive traffic, cleaning house, or summer reading programs. Since my system has gone with the Collaborative Summer Reading Program theme this year (SCIENCE for ALL) I have come up with the ULTIMATE playlist to get myself into the zone for any program we’re having. Got your player ready?

Now, a lot of these are available in various download stores in singles, and some I had from albums already. If you’re going to use them as background for a public program, make sure that you get the rights for the music before playing them- no need to be sued over music. However, there’s no reason why you can’t rock out in the car or in the back room of the library before a program starts, or use it for a killer game of musical chairs in copyright approved snippets. Also, my musical tastes vary like crazy, so if you ARE going to use these in public, be sure to check the lyrics first. Most are OK, but some may not be the most, well, family friendly, depending on the family.

  • Rocket Man by Elton John
  • She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby
  • Quantum Theory by Jarvis Cocker
  • Sounds of Silence by the Beastie Boys
  • Dr. Funkenstein by Parliament
  • Why Does the Sun Shine by They Might Be Giants
  • The Scientist by Coldplay
  • Science by System of a Down
  • Biological by Air
  • Chain Reaction by Diana Ross
  • Atomic by Blondie
  • White and Nerdy by Weird Al
  • Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
  • History of Everything by Barenaked Ladies
  • Galvanize by Chemical Brothers
  • Wonderful World by Sam Cooke
  • Element Song (my favorite is by The Animaniacs)
  • Chemical World by Blur
  • Electricity by Suede
  • Beautiful People by Books
  • Glorius Dawn by Carl Sagan
  • Einstein a Go-Go by Landscape
  • Weird Science by Oingo Boingo
  • Iron Man by Black Sabbath
  • All About the Pentiums by Weird Al
  • Space Oddity by David Bowie
  • Spaceship Coupe by Justin Timberlake
  • Rapture by Blondie
  • Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1 by Flaming Lips
  • Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys
  • Motorway to Roswell by the Pixies
  • Set Controls for the Heart of the Sun by Pink Floyd
  • Germs by Weird Al
  • I Think I’m a Clone Now by Weird Al
  • Slime Creatures from Outer Space by Weird Al
  • Particle Man by They Might Be Giants

What would you add? Share in the comments!

TPiB: 2014 Summer Reading Movies

If you are like me, spring break has already passed and you are frantically trying to fill out your summer reading planning. Part of the problem is that you don’t know when school is going to end exactly- while here in Texas we’re less apt to have to stretch the school calendar, others I know are having to make plans for their public library summer reading programs to be almost halved due to snow days…. Another part of the problem is lack of funding, lack of staff, and lack of money.

However, one thing that can always bring in a crowd here during a hot summer afternoon is a movie! We pay annual for a public performance license, which allows us to show movies from certain studios as long as we don’t charge a fee. We take a projector, blow it up large on the wall, set up chairs and large speakers, dim the lights, and roll the DVD. I tend to tie in crafts with mine, just because all of my tweens and teens love to do crafty things and never seem to have the time in school or the materials at home.

If you’re following the Collaborative Summer Reading Program this year (general theme science), follow the break for a huge list of movies that will fit in with the theme!

Note: I’ve put the rating after the title, and the science themes it would generally fit in parenthesis afterwards to work with a tie-in if you’re doing themed weeks as specialists often do. If you work with others in your system, definitely think about working out a rotation schedule so that you have the same movies playing at each location but on different days- that way, a teen who is on vacation on week 1 would have another chance to see the movie on another week, and you and your partners would only have to come up with half (or less) as many crafts!

WarGames  PG (computer science, war science, political science)
Hackers  PG-13 (computer science, political science)
Ender’s Game  PG-13  (war science, political science, computer science)
Marvel’s The Avengers series  PG-13 (alien science, physics, bioengineering, superhero science)  In viewing order
  • Iron Man
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • Captain America
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Iron Man 3
  • Thor The Dark World

The Amazing Spider-Man  PG-13 (bioengineering, physics, chemistry)
Weird Science  PG-13 (computer science, bioengineering)
Jurassic Park  PG-13 (paleontology, genetics)
October Sky  PG (aeronautics and aerospace)
Apollo 13  PG-13 (aeronautics and aerospace)
Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  PG-13 (criminology)
Arachnophobia  PG-13 (entomology)
Contagion  PG-13 (virology)
World War X R (virology)
Back to the Future Trilogy PG  (time travel)
James Bond Series PG-13 (criminology, espionage)
Despicable Me & Despicable Me 2  PG (espionage)
Megamind PG (alien, superheroes)
Serenity  PG-13  (aliens, space travel, mutants)
Harry Potter series  PG & PG-13 (magic)
Man of Steel  PG-13 (superheroes)
Mission to Mars PG (space travel)
Gravity  PG-13  (space travel)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers  PG (but with nudity) (alien tech)
 What other movies can you think of? Share in the comments!