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Cindy Crushes Programming: Pikachu Bookmarks, by Teen Librarian Cindy Shutts

Things are getting worse again with the Pandemic. I am working on Pikachu Bookmark craft kits for next week. We do not know how things will be with school opening back up in our district. I plan to have this as an in person activity but I am also making the plans to have this be a craft kit as well. That way teens can grab and go if they want. In Illinois we have a mask mandate so that is helpful to use during this time. I want to say I used this video to come up with my process https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN21QpM6HLk

Supplies Included in Kit

  • Instructions
  • Paper

Supplies Not Included in Kit

  • Scissors
  • Gel Pens (Fine Tip Sharpie would work)
  • Ruler
  • Wite-out

Directions for the teens

Step 1. Cut the paper in a 6 x 6 inch Square.

Step 2. Fold Square in half to form a triangle

Step 3. Fold  both sides of the triangle up  to form a square.  Then unfold.

Step 4. Fold one side of the Triangle down.

Step 5. Tuck in the sides into the folded triangle

Step 6. Use excess paper to cut rounded ears. Glue ears to sides of head.

Step 7. Draw two circles with black Gel Pen and fill them in. Then use Wite-out in the corner of the eyes. Make a nose line and a mouth. Use a red Gel Pen for the cheeks. You can then put it in your book once it dries.

And here are some additional posts on TLT about making bookmarks:

Cindy Shutts, MLIS

Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Among Us in Real Life, by Teen Librarian Cindy Shutts

Today I have Faith Healy with me again talking about our in person live Among us Program.

Among Us in Real Life

With the game Among us springing into popularity especially with teens, we have tried several approaches to incorporating the game into our teen  programming. During the summer when we just had virtual programming we tried multiple game nights of Among Us to varying success getting 5-10 teens at some, and just one teen at others.

When we finally were able to start planning in-person programming we talked about having a special after hours program that we used to do for teens pre-covid. We decided to take a chance since Among Us was going a little out of style to play Among Us in real life.

So Among Us for those who don’t know is like a mafia style video game (The party game Mafia or some might know it as werewolf). TLTer Karen Jensen and her Tween take you through a walk through of Among Us in this past post.

You have a group of crewmates who are aboard a spaceship, but unbeknownst to them so are two imposters. The imposters try to kill the crewmates while crewmates try to either figure out who the imposter is or finish all their tasks before the impostors kill everyone.

It is simple enough to take the concept and apply it to the real world. You just need a system to apply roles, tasks for crewmates to complete, and a method for killing without actually killing anyone.

Creating Tasks

So in order to create tasks, I first found a blueprint map of my library. I erased, by using the paint program, all the unnecessary items like where bookshelves are located and other information to make it look super basic. I also got rid of areas I knew we would not allow teens to be and put red Xs in areas that I couldn’t erase without making the map look strange. I then label each section. You want to do this first, because knowing the layout will help you come up with tasks. I’m lucky that my library is just one floor. Depending how big your library is I would limit it to one floor unless you have enough staff to man each section. I used labels from the Among Us game for each section. I did not use all the labels in the Among Us game as we only have so much space. I also set one section aside to be an airlock. In the Among Us game, dead crewmates, and crewmates who are voted out are sent to the airlock. I used the airlock so those players could hangout somewhere while the game went on. (We realized halfway through the event we needed to place games of other materials to keep dead players from being bored as some rounds went on for a very long time)

After labeling my locations it was time to decide on tasks.

I did find this website that had a free downloadable PDF with tasks available on it, but I only used a few as I couldn’t figure out how to make some of the suggestions work. (see link below)

You want the tasks to be easy but tedious and requiring some focus so impostors can kill crewmates who are too focused on tasks. You can also do multiple tasks to make more depending on how many people you have signed up.

Check it out here: https://theholdernessfamily.com/among-us-in-real-life-free-download/#:~:text=Starting%20the%20Game,no%20talking%20during%20the%20game.


So in the game, your character MedBay scans by hopping on a machine. My library happens to have a scan station so I decided to incorporate that as a Medbay scan. We also have a button machine, so I made among us figure buttons for all teens. I did two of each color to prevent any arguments over colors. I had teens scan the buttons in the scanner to be medbay scan. It taught them how to use a library device and had fun during the game. Plus they loved that they got to keep the buttons. If you don’t have a scanner you can always take a hula hoop and make the teens spin around in it to be similar to the game.


So this one I took from the PDF. I cut out and laminated pieces of a memory game for teens to do to activate the reactor. Teens absolutely hated this task. But it leads to the game being more fun. It is very similar to the Simon Says Task in the game which makes it perfect.


So in the Among Us game, people connect wires in each location so I applied the same to my game. To make wires, I again went to the Among Us in Real Life PDF. It has a section called fix wires. I laminated it and instead of cutting all the holes, I cut fun patterns and used yarn to be my wires. Some teens like wires, some teens hated them, but it was an easy and inexpensive task I could have at each location.


So in the Among Us Game, you go to different locations to download info and other locations to upload. I wanted something like that, but to make it book related. So what I did was make every location that had a service desk, have a list of books that just so happen to be on my weeding list. Whenever teens had that task they had to go to the desk to get a book title and retrieve the book and upload it to the meeting room. This gave the task multiple steps and me some help with weeding. It also forced teens to go into teen room to find books.

Connect Shields:

So the PDF mentioned above had a shield puzzle which was good, but instead of cutting something out, I had a cool YA book puzzle. So I decided to make them connect four puzzle pieces to activate shields, another one that teens were not so fond of, but they did it.


This was the most popular with teens. I only made two of this task, but if I do this again, I would make more. I printed out asteroids in the free PDF, laminated them, cut them out, and taped them on plastic cups that I then arranged in a tower. We had nerf guns that teens used to shoot the asteroids. I made it part of the task that teens had to pick up nerf bullets and restack tower. Teens were really great at clean up.


So in the game, you had to pick up garbage so we did the same here. You can do it in multiple locations, we just crumbled up a few pieces of scrap paper on tables in certain locations and laid  plastic bag nearby. Teens had to pick up the papers  and carry it to a box that we labeled the trash compactor in the meeting room.

Fill Up Gas:

So in the game, you are on a ship that needs to be gassed up. So I labeled two bowls upper and lower engine thus placed them in the engine room. I placed a box of beads in another location with a cup. So teens had to go to fill up the cup with beads, place it in “engines.” I was going to use water, but worried about spilling so I used beads since I had so many of them. You can use anything as your fuel, you just want different locations to force teens to go somewhere else


So in the game there is a fun little simple maze game where you chart your course. I was looking for one of those little mini maze games to use for that, but I couldn’t find any. So I built my own simple maze out of cardboard, duct tape, and hot glue and had teens use a ball and roll it through the maze. This was another popular activity.


In the game, there is a fun task, or at least fun to me, where you have to get leaves out a filter. I replicated this task using a clear plastic bag, green beads and duct tape. I taped a section of the bag to be the area the teens needed to get the green “leaves” to. I sealed the bag with as little air as possible with duct tape so teen had to press hard to move the leaves to that section. 

Calibrate Electrical

So this is a task I designed all my own. I just printed out 12 copies color wheel, labeled different sections of each wheel with 1-6, cut out cardstock circles to fit over color wheel, while cutting a slice from each circle. I then connected the circles with a pin back so when you move the cardstock portion it showed a different part of the color wheel. I made 12 of these and taped them to bookshelves. Teen had to move the circle to locate numbers 1-6, but had to do it in order. This took parts of the electrical calibrator task from the game along with the switch task, to make a fun, but semi annoying task that teens like. They liked moving the circles. 

Clean Vent

So We have a room in my library that is sort like a tunnel that I assigned to be label as a vent, in which only imposters can vent. It does have windows so crewmates can catch an imposter venting. I wanted to add to the chaos thus have a task where crewmates go into the vent. To clean the vent, crewmates just walk through, but if spotted others might think they are the imposter. 

Realign Ship

So in the game, you have to realign the ship or engines. I couldn’t find a good way to replicate it, but as I mention we have a button machine that looks like a cool lever so I decided to realign the ship all the teens had to do was switch the lever. Yes, I could have made another lever, or used something else, but I was short on time and teens liked it. Plus no harm came to the machine.

Assigning Roles

So I printed out and laminated sheets of paper that had crewmate and imposter on them. I stuffed them into envelopes that we cut in half. To view, teens peeked inside, saw their role and placed the envelope bag. 

The Rules: 

 These are rules I designed to make the came work smoothly. 

  • No running! Non-negotiable. If you are told more than once, sorry you died and will wait it out in the airlock.
    • No access to forbidden areas. On the map areas with Red X’s are forbidden. Non-negotiable
    •  Playing Among Us
      • Players with take roles. Look at role card and place back. No one is to reveal their role.
      • When prompted by the captain, players will shut eyes and imposter will reveal self to the captain to receive first kill card.
        •   When you are an imposter you kill players by handing them a card. First one will be given when revealed once roll assigned.
        •   Imposter may pick up additional kill cards from the desks allowing for a kill cool down. Use word Library Card to indicate need for kill card.
        •   Imposter is unable to kill without a kill card.
        •   Imposter may complete tasks except imposters are unable to do Medbay Scan.
        •   Imposter may sabotage the reactor forcing crewmates to go to reactor to disengage it. Simply approach a desk and say: Sabotage.  Two crewmates must disengage reactor.
      • Crewmate
        •  Finish all the tasks or figure out who the imposter is
        •   Once discovering a dead body, crewmate may report by going to any desk area and asking staff to report a dead body
        • Staff will announce over intercom: Dead body found in location please report to meeting room.
        •   All players have one emergency button. They may report to any desk and ask a staff member to request an emergency meeting.
        •   If you are killed you must sit down. if you wish you may lie down, but you have to indicate you are dead without any noise. You may not reveal to anyone who killed you.
        • Once a body is reported Crewmate will report to airlock where they will remain for the rest of the game.
        • Once Body is reported discussion and vote will happen. If taking too long, Captain will impose a time limit.
        •  Voted Crewmate will go into the airlock (Meeting Room C) to wait for the rest of the game 
        •  Game continues until only imposter and one player is left.
  •   Captain and crew will reset games pieces and we will play another game
  • Captain can include the mod of Sheriff. Sheriff gets one kill to try and kill the imposter. 

Impostor Role

For the impostor, there were multiple ways I found that people used to kill. I decided to use a method of a kill card. I printed and laminated a pile of dead among us bodies to use as kill cards. I made it so the impostor had to pick up the cards from the staff to mimic the effect of having a kill count down like in the game to give crewmates a chance.  Once given a kill card, crewmates could lie down or sit down, but they had to raise the card above their head and they could not make any noise. 

Kill Card

I also allowed the sabotage of reactor. I printed out two images of the hand scanners and laminated them, attaching them to the wall with tape. Imposters could go to the staff at desk and say sabotage to activate the reactor. Two crewmates were needed to place hands on scanners to deactivate. We did not want to allow lights just in case, but that is an added element you might want to consider. 


So I spent 2 hours setting up and had 6 staff agree to help with this after hours event. I placed the tasks, labeled the rooms, and printed enough maps for all the teens. Some teens used the maps and realy liked them, others abandoned the map right away.  We had tasks taped to a white board with a side that said need to complete and another side to put when finished. Teens would take their tasks from the board and once complete put it on the finished side. 

Since in real life, imposters can’t really fake tasks, I had it so imposters can do all tasks except for Medbay. Each staff member manned a desk so they could use our intercom system to report dead bodies, emergency meetings, and sabotages. If you don’t have an intercom system, I recommend walkie talkies, or someone with a loud voice.  I had one staff member stay in airlock to supervise the eventual dead bodies, and had another one walking around, and I stayed in the meeting room with tasks so I can manage meetings and answer questions.

Once teens arrived, I took them on a ship tour to explain where all locations were, which task were where, how to complete the tasks, and ask any questions.

We then assigned roles and played our first game.

Things I Would Change:

We had 11 teens signed up and 15 teens attended. That is better attendance than we have seen at any of our programs. I started out with two imposters, and crewmates won with a task win really fast. I had 44 tasks and they completed them fast. I upped the impostorS to 4 and it was much more fun, but crewmates still won by voting out impostors.  I would have started with 3-4 if you have a big group to make it fun. 

Also to add more fun, I added a mod called sheriff. I really love to watch streamers play games, and some talented gamers modified Among Us to add fun roles  like Sheriff, Medic, Joker. I decided to add a Sheriff Role. The Sheriff Role got one shot and would try to kill an impostor, but if selected a crewmate to kill they also die. I ended adding 2 sheriffs and it was really fun. Next time I would add more mods like the medic who can bring people back to life, joker tries to get voted out and they win. You could probably come up with some and add some more roles. This is helpful as we ended up only playing 4 games and some teens were disappointed to be crewmate everytime. So adding new roles will only enhance playing. 

Other than that it worked out really well and I would recommend it. It was a lot of work though. I was running around for two weeks trying to get everything ready, but luckily I got to rope a few coworkers into helping me finish stuff. 

If you have any questions about Among Us in Real Life feel free to email me at fhealy@whiteoaklib.org.


Among Us seems to be having a bit of a resurgence right now, so it’s definitely a good time to give this a try.

Cindy Shutts, MLIS

Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Fandom News You Can Use for Upcoming Programs, by Teen Librarian Cindy Shutts

I love fandom programming. I find fandoms to be a great source of programming inspiration and it is always so much fun to have a theme. It can make marketing easier as well! Here are three popular fandoms with upcoming releases that would make great springboards for upcoming tween or teen programs. A word of caution regarding fandom programming: you always want to be mindful of copyright issues. Having said that, creating things inspired by and in the spirit of your favorite fandoms is a great way to enjoy that fandom while engaging in self expression, problem solving, and creative thinking. Fandoms are fun!

Animal Crossing

This fandom has slowed down but a huge expansion pack is being released this week and this is sure to bring back fans. This is perfect to create, take and make. I did two take and make last year around Animal Crossing. Faith Healy did one as well where she gave felt and different patterns to make their own villagers (templates at the end of this post). This was a super popular take and make. We are working on a new one right now.  Clay fossil charms would be super cute or DIY Villager Figures.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s version of Red is coming out this month. We are planning to write an escape room based on her albums released on her birthday, December 13. There are plenty of activities to do such as a listening party to the new album or a sing a long, Taylor Trivia or even a book display based on any of her many albums.

You can also create Taylor Swift inspired book reading lists, like these examples:


Disney World will be celebrating it’s 50 year anniversary throughout the year. My co-worker Emily Lif gave a great presentation on Dis-tory: Celebrating 50 Years of Magic Kingdom History. My other co-worker Jessi Wakefield made DIY mouse ears. I did a Disney World escape room to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the park and a Cinderella’s Castle necklace craft. There is so much lore about Walt Disney World. You can check your streaming license to see if you have any films you can show. We use Swank and all the big Disney films are on it. Please be mindful of copyright as Disney is very strict about copyright protections.


What Fandoms are you doing for your upcoming programs?

And here are the templates for the DIY Animal Crossing inspired felties we promised

What Fandoms are you doing for your upcoming programs?

Cindy Shutts, MLIS

Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.

TLT Turns 10: 10 of My Favorite Programs Shared on TLT

I currently don’t do a lot of library programming, but I have done 1,000s of library programs, many of which I have shared here on TLT. Here’s a little secret for you: I actually share my program ideas and outlines here so I have easy access to them for the future. I repeat programs all the time, because why not. And I’m not the only one who shares programs here. In fact, teen librarian Cindy Shutts shares programs the first and third Wednesday of every month with her regular Cindy Crushes Programming column. So today, I’m going to share 10 of my favorite tween and teen programs that we have shared here on TLT.

The Summer of Shirts

When I do presentations and I have to introduce myself one of the things that I share is that I know more than 22 ways to change, upcycle, or decorate a shirt – because I do! And one summer, I hosted a summer of shirts in my teen makerspace. This proved to be one of the most successful program series I have ever hosted. I have always found that teens like craft programs where they get to be creative and self expressive AND they get to take something home. Shirts are a great take home!

Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

I love button making so much, I own my own button maker! Just as I know more than 22 different ways to make a t-shirt, I know tons of ways to make buttons. In fact, I have found that tweens and teens like having specific button making challenges, so when I found the idea of challenge cards, I jumped!

Virtual Escape Rooms (by Cindy Shutts)

In 2020 when libraries closed, everyone had to scramble to figure out how to still engage teens and keep them safe. Cindy Shutts has been sharing her virtual escape rooms here and I love them! She does such a great job. I think that every library should continue to offer some virtual programs when libraries re-open and virtual escape rooms are a great way to do this.

Live Angry Birds (by Heather Booth)

An important part of teen librarianship is knowing what’s hot and figuring out how to turn it into a program. Former TLTer Heather Booth did just that in 2011 when Angry Birds was super popular. After she blogged about it, I did this program several times at my library and it was fun! It was also cheap!

Instagram Scrapbook

One day I really worried that we weren’t doing enough to promote books in our teen makerspace, so we found ways to make them! And with the popularity of Instagram, it wasn’t hard to find resources to make this happen. It took everything we loved – sharpie art, duct tape crafts, and photography – and turned them into something we love even more: books!

Look, We Made a Lego Wall

Several things surprised me when I started using Legos as part of my MakerSpace programming. One, I was stunned to learn how expensive they can be. Two, I was surprised to learn how many tweens and teens had never played with Legos, in part because of revelation #1. I was also surprised to learn how much tweens and teens needed more specific directions when you offered them Legos. This is, in fact, how I found and began the challenge cards I mentioned above with the button making. If you are going to offer Legos, I recommend having daily specific challenges.

Mini Book Charm Bracelets (by Cindy Shutts)

Jewelry making is a great program because you get to take stuff home. And I love how Cindy turned a popular YA series into book themed jewelry. This is such a great craft idea. And yay for books!

DIY Do Not Disturb Door Spinner (by Kara DeCarlo)

Every once in a while, a librarian contacts me and says hey, can I do a guest post about x, y or z. And if we can make it happen, we do. This DIY Do Not Disturb Door Spinner came about because of the pandemic and everyone trying to do Zoom school, but it’s actually great for any time. Teens love privacy and I think it’s a great idea. Don’t want your sibling knocking on your door because you are doing homework, trying to sleep, or whatever? This door spinner is right for you! It would be a great addition to one of my other favorite programs: Renovate Your Room.

DIY Neon Signs

A lot of the program things I have done over the years have been craft related, and as cheap as possible. But this one time, I did something more expensive and high tech and it was super cool! In fact, I made a neon Space sign which still hangs up in Thing 2’s room. That’s pretty awesome.

Get to Know Your Library (Library Boot Camp)

One of the library’s I had the honor of working at had a really well established library program that they hosted every year to get 6th graders into the library and teach them how to use the various resources. It was also a great way to transition the elementary kids to the teen services center. I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of work and required a lot of staff and a lot of staff time, but it was a pretty great program. The only thing I would change is that if I was doing this program now, I would probably call it something different. I like the program itself, but I’m pretty hesitant personally to promote things around the framework of war, and I say this as the proud military kid of a veteran.

So there you have it, 10 of my favorite programs that we have shared here on TLT. In one way or another, I love something about all of them. And if I was making this list again next year, I might have a different one. But today, this is my Top 10 Programs. What programs have you loved that we have shared here on TLT? We’d love to know, so please share in the comments.

Teen Program in a Box: Nostalgia and Stuffed Animals

Since this week is all about nostalgia and we look back at 10 years of TLT, I thought I would share with you a program outline for a program that taps deep into nostalgia. It begins with a stuffed elephant named Pinkerton.

Pinkerton, in the before times

Pinkerton is a pink stuffed elephant that my dad won for me at a county fair when I was around 7. It has traveled with me for 40 years from state to state and home to home and as you can see, she is well loved. So I recently decided to try and do some Doc McStuffins like rehab for my beloved friend.

Viva Ventina @viva.ventina is a popular Tik Toker who helped rehab stuffed animals. There have been some write ups about her online and she is a popular and great resource of information: https://www.dailyadvent.com/news/bcbc839611a209bf8c85d5f21cffcb66-TikToks-Viva-Valentina-Restores-Stuffed-Animals-and-Childhoods-at-the-Same-Time

There is also a British show called The Repair Shop that you can watch on Netflix that talks about restoring all kinds of family treasures, including on occasion stuffed animals. I thought my kids would hate this show but they both loved it.

So, here’s what I did and then after I walk you through the steps, I will share my program ideas.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 well loved stuffed animal in need of repair
  • Seam ripper
  • Stuffing
  • DAWN dish washing detergent
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Optional: A wash basin, hair dryer, towels

To begin, we gently ripped a seam out of the back of Pinkerton and removed the stuffing. It was old, gross and disintegrating. You’ll want to have a trash can nearby to throw it directly into.

I then gently washed Pinkerton in the sink using cool water and Dawn dishwashing detergent. I figured if Dawn is good for those oil covered baby ducks, it was probably safe for Pinkerton. I didn’t use a lot. To do this in a library space, I would use a small sink basin prepared with cool water and soap. And if I had the space, I would do it outside.

I then let Pinkerton mostly air dry. At the end I did get impatient and use a blow dryer to finish, but she was mostly dry at that stage.

We then re-stuffed Pinkerton using doll stuffing we bought at the local craft store. We used Polyster stuffing. You can read more about doll stuffing here: https://www.funkyfriendsfactory.com/blog/toy-stuffing/. Because of the sentimental value of Pinkerton to me, I also printed a picture of my dad and I and placed it inside.

We then gently sewed her back up. And Tim wants you to know by we I mean he did. Tim sewed Pinkerton back up for me.

This is what she looked like after all of those steps were completed.

She was firmer and sat up better, and was slightly cleaner. But as you can see, there were still a few problem areas. Over the next few days I would gently brush her out with first a comb and later a gentle brush. This is what she looks like now.

I am so happy to have my Pinkerton back in a huggable form. This memory is so important to me.

But wait, you are thinking: What does this have to do with teen programming? Well, both of my girls and many of my tweens and teens have beloved stuffed animals. And even now, they are sharing some real love, by which I mean wear and tear. So I think this is definitely a program idea that you can do with teens, just walking them through the steps of reviving a beloved stuffie with the help of a famous TikToker.

But you can take this a few steps farther with teens:

You can set up a photo booth and teach them how to take photos of their stuffies. Or them and their favorite stuffies.

You can teach them how to make stop motion pictures using their favorite stuffed animals.

If you want to go a much cooler and more morbid route with old toys, you can do FrankenToys, where you take bits of pieces of old toys and make new ones.

Have a Toy Story marathon in the background while you talk about, share, and revive your favorite childhood toys. The teen years are really interesting, teens are not yet adults and no longer really children, so I have found that they often like to have “nostalgia” like programs that allows them, for just a moment longer, to rest in the safe space of childhood.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Make and Take Crafts Including Dice Bags and Magical Lanterns

Dice Bags

This craft my coworker Linden Galloway came up with. It turned out so well. It was one of the fastest Take and Makes we ever had. My branch had theirs go within a day.


Felt cut into a 10 inches in diameter circle with marks 5/8 inch long each, and it must be 1/4 inch away from the edge. This should be put in the kit like this. The teen will make the cuts themselves.  Total of 24 cuts!

  • 20 inch ribbon use a thinner ribbon to make it thread easily.
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie

Instructions for Teens:

All you need is a sharp pair of scissors!

(Fabric scissors preferred)

1. Cut the circle out if not already cut out.

2) Hold the circle in front of you with the lined side facing away from you

3) Fold one edge over slightly so you can see half of one of the lines

4) Snip with the tip of your scissors in the middle of the line, but don’t cut to the edge of the fabric!

5) Unfold, and use the hole you created to cut to the ends of the line

6) Repeat steps 2-5 for all of the lines

7) Take the ribbon and weave it between the holes you created

8) Pull the ends of the ribbon to close your dice bag, tie in a bow, and enjoy! No-Sew Dice Bag

Magical Lanterns

These lanterns were done by my co-worker Faith Healy. We used our cameo Silhouette machine. You could use a cricut machine also. This is an extremely popular craft but does take a lot of prep time to cut all of the patterns. Faith found the patterns she used online.


  • Tissue Paper
  • Cardstock
  • Tea light

Librarian instructions: Find a lantern pattern online and print it out using either the cameo or Cricut machine.

Teen Instructions:

  1. Warning: Be gentle when assembling tissue paper and parts of the lantern are delicate and if you use too much force  it may tear.
  2. Fold along the folding lines. This will make it easier to assemble later.
  3. Use a glue stick (Any glue will do, but glue stick is the easiest and least messy) and glue the back of the lantern.
  4. Trim the tissue paper to the correct size and place the tissue paper firmly on glue side. You may also trim after gluing tissue.
  5. Fold the lantern this time and glue the tabs in place. Place glue on them and press firmly to help stick. There is one side tab and three tabs on the bottom.
  6. Place light in your lantern and Enjoy!

Teen Winter Care Kits

Our teens did not have finals so we gave them winter care kits instead. We included a hot cocoa bag, a candy cane, red and white pipe cleaners to make a pipe cleaner candy and printable snowflake kits. We found the snowflake online. This one does not take much work for the teens but it was a lot of counting and sorting. I did 45 kits. This one you could do with any season like spring you could use paper animal kits like origami, you could do peeps as candy. Find ways to make it fun and find out what your teens want and are interested in it. You could do a kindness rock if you have leftover rock. This is a great take and make to use leftover supplies.

Cindy Shutts, MLIS

Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Tile Art

I love doing drafts with tiles. They are super cheap and it is easy to do many projects with them. I get my tiles from Home Depot, Menard’s or Lowes. I purchase the white ceramic tiles. The size depends on the price and type of tile available. I will discuss two of my favorite tile crafts below.

Book Mod Podge Tiles


  • Tiles
  • Book cover images
  • Mod Podge
  • Brushes


  1. Print out and cut book images. If you have old School Library Journal issues that you were going to recycle, they would be perfect for this craft.
  2. Position the images on the tile to see how it will look. You can do one big book cover or many smaller book covers. I love doing many book covers.
  3. Place a layer of Mod Podge under the image and then place another layer on top. Next glue all of the book images at once with another layer of Mod Podge. Then you will want to put a few layers of Mod Podge on top of the whole tile. Be very careful when explaining this step to the teens they will want to us  too much Mod Podge. Gentle layering works best for this project.

Thoughts: I love this craft for Teen Read Week. It is a simple craft and teens can celebrate their favorite books. They can make lovely coasters or a work of art.

Nail Polish Tiles


  • Tiles
  • Nail Polish (avoid glitter nail polish)
  • Water
  • Aluminum Half Size Deep Foil Pan
  • Stick


  1. Pour a layer of water into the foil pan.
  2. Put nail polish in the water. Pour it in gently. Try to swirl it when you put it in the water. Use multiple colors.
  3. Put the tile in the water, but do not submerge it. It should be just deep enough so it hits the nail polish layer that is floating on the top. Pull the tile out quickly and let it dry.
  4. Use your stick to get rid of the extra nail polish in the water so you can keep your pan nice and clean
  5. You can add a little more nail polish by hand if you missed a spot on the tile.

Thoughts: This is a really pretty craft and also super cheap. I did learn, however, that glitter nail polish does not work well on this craft.

Cindy Shutts, MLIS


Cindy is passionate about teen services. She loves dogs, pro-wrestling, Fairy tales, mythology, and of course reading. Her favorite books are The Hate U Give, Catching FIre, The Royals, and everything by Cindy Pon. She loves spending times with her dog Harry Winston and her niece and nephew. Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL and she’ll be joining us to talk about teen programming. You can follow her on Twitter at @cindysku.

TPiB MakerSpace: Love Your Pets


In our Teen MakerSpace, we have kind of drifted into a model where we have themes to unite our making, which teens can choose to participate in or not. Some teens, we have found, need some type of guidance while others do not. So for the month of February, we wanted to do something that tied into Valentine’s Day but didn’t necessarily emphasize romantic love. Love Your Pets was our February celebration of the love that we have for our pets or favorite animals and it was the unifying theme for all of our making that month in the Teen MakerSpace.


Now it does happen that the two Teen MakerSpace Assistants and I have pets, dogs to be specific. And of course many of our teens know this because they hear us talk about them. So we included them in our promotional materials. Charm is our family dog, he is a long haired dapple coat Dachsund. He is also, for the record, a great cuddler.

We then set up a variety of stations around The MakerSpace with examples of how they can use those stations to make pet themed items


Stamps, Stickers, Buttons and More!

We bought a variety of pet themed stamps and stickers which could be used to make a variety of pet crafts, including a wood painted signs, buttons, banners and more.


DIY Pet Toys

We had a variety of discarded t-shirts which could be braided to make hand-made pet toys.

33 Dog Toys You Can Make From Things Around the House – BarkPost

44 Really Cool Homemade DIY Dog Toys Your Dog Will Love

25 Frugally Fun DIY Dog Toys To Pamper Your Pooch – DIY & Crafts

Perler Beads

Perler beads can be used to make a pet portrait.

DIY Pet Tags

And we bought an etching tool and dog tags for our Silhouette Cameo to make hand-made dog tags. We could even teach you how to make a paracord pet collar to hang that hand-made tag off of.


A note about etching on the Silhouette Cameo: it took us several attempts to find out what settings to use to get a good etching. There is a tutorial here that is helpful: https://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/2014/10/engraving-with-silhouette-7-tips-to.html. My biggest tip is that you will want to set up your settings to make as many passes as possible.

In all honesty, I have done a version of this program before with different DIY crafts and as a one-time event. Doing it as a theme in the Teen MakerSpace proved to be a tad bit more ideal in that teens could come and go and work at their own pace instead of trying to finish a variety of crafts in 1 to 2 hours. But it is a great program whatever scenario you choose to set it up as.

TPiB: Rick Riordan “Gods and Heroes” Party by Michelle Biwer

One thing is for sure, the popularity of Rick Riordan’s multiple middle grade series based in various mythologies is only increasing. After the hit Percy Jackson series (Greek myth) that started it all, Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus (Roman myth) and Magnus Chase books (Norse myth) became NYT bestselling hits with tweens and librarians alike.

I created a “Gods and Heroes” party for middle schoolers centered around all of Riordan’s iconic mythological worlds.

When the teens first enter they spun a wheel to get claimed by their godly parent.

Greek Gods: Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Hades, Demeter, Athena, Hermes

Norse Gods: Loki, Thor, Freya, Frey, Hel, Ran, Odin, Sol

After they had been claimed I presented them with a claiming certificate and instructed them to complete their demigod training.


claiming certificate


Demigod Training Stations:

Hephaestus and Blitzen Hardware Construction Station

Hardware jewelry creation (materials needed: washers, nuts, hemp, wire, jump rings, etc..)

Build Thor’s Hammer (materials needed: tissue boxes, paper towel rolls, duct tape)


Athena’s Wisdom Test

Rick Riordan Book Trivia


athena's wisdom test 1athena's wisdom test 2


Ask the Oracle

Teens shook a plastic ball I filled with platitudes/predictions and received their “fate.”


Design Your Own Valhalla

Teens designed their own version of Valhalla in Minecraft or with LEGO®.


Demigod Quest

Scavenger hunt throughout the library. When they returned I gave them a prize (iron-on Camp Half-Blood patches I received at an ALA conference years back).


Hero's Quest

All of the templates I designed in Canva for this program can be found here.

TPiB: Easy Peasy DIY Jack-O-Lanterns

So I got a Silhouette Cameo and I was trying to figure out how to use it, and how to use it with teens, when I stumbled across an easy and fun craft idea. You can do it with or without a Silhouette Cameo, it’s easily adaptable. I made my examples using the Silhouette Cameo.


What You’ll Need:


  • Clear plastic craft bulb/ornaments
  • Orange acrylic paint
  • Styrofoam or plastic cups
  • Black markers/stickers/or vinyl if using a Silhouette Cameo
  • OR black paper and a sticker making machine
  • Hemp cord or twine for hanging

Step 1: Painting Your Ornament Orange

You are going to be painting the inside of your ornament, not the outside. Start by saying that before anyone gets all excited and starts painting the outside, not that this has happened to me. Nope, not once.

Take the top off of your ornament and fill it with a few drops of orange paint. You’ll want to roll the ornament around a bit to make sure you completely cover the inside with paint. Place your ornament opening down into a cup to let the excess paint drip out and let it dry. It will dry quicker if you don’t use too much paint, so use paint sparingly.


Step 2: Making Your Face

While your ornament is drying, think about what you want you Jack-O-Lantern face to look like. You then need to make your elements, which you can do in several ways.

Paper: Cut out your face elements using a template you download or hand draw. You can use glue or a sticker making machine to turn your paper into stickers and place them onto your dried ornament.

Sihouette Cameo: Download a design or make your own design, cut using Oracal 651 permanent vinyl, and place on your dried ornament.

Getting Creative:

This doesn’t just have to be Jack-O-Lanterns. You can do ghosts, monsters, robots and more. And it doesn’t have to just be Halloween, you can do a variety of animals, for example. You can also do school colors and logos, sports teams, interests and more. Or, better yet, have teens make an ornament that represents their favorite books and see what they come up with. See also, our annual Great Ornament Hack.