Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY No Sew Unicorn Pillow

I’m always excited to see what fun stuff librarian Cindy Shutts is doing with teens in her library. Today she is walking us through a No Sew Unicorn Pillow.

I saw a picture of a unicorn pillow on the internet and realized I could make one myself based on the no sew pillow concept. Unicorns are still very popular and who doesn’t love a hand made pillow.

Supplies:

  • Permanent Vinyl (gold for the horn and black for the eyelashes) (Karen’s note: Oracal 651 is a permanent vinyl. Here’s a vinyl 101 to help get you started.)
  • Fleece (I used a 50% off coupon) and used three yards of fleece for twenty pillows
  • Felt of various colors especially green for the leaves
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Fabric scissors
  • Stuffing for pillows

Step Zero: Prepare all the fleece before the event. I cut all the fleece into sets of two sheets each 14×14 inches.

Step One: Use the cameo silhouette machine to cut the vinyl horns and eyelashes. If you do not have a cameo silhouette machine you can use black and gold felt. I did have patrons who wanted to make their own eyelashes and horns.

Step Two: Have patrons cut 1 ½  to 2 inches squares in each of the corners of the fabric.

Step Three: Have the teens then cut 1 ½  to 2 inch fringe and I made it a cm wide all around the pillow.

Step Four: Tie the fringe from the front to the back sheet of fringe. All the fringe should be tied to the fringe behind it. Teens often need help learning to tie knots. This part of the craft takes the longest. One side should be left untied.

Step Five: Stuff the pillow and try to make it even.

Step Six: Tie the fringe around the side you just used to stuff the pillow.

Step Seven: Place the horn and the eyelashes on the pillow. If you use vinyl hold it down for a few minutes.

Step Eight: Make flowers out of felt. I used this websites’ flower tutorial. https://diyinspired.com/diy-no-sew-felt-flowers/

  • Cut one green petal about 1 ½ inch tall and oval shaped body. I free handed this part.
  • Cut the color you want the flower to be and make it 2 inches long by 4 inches wide
  • Cut the felt in petal form like the first picture below.
  • Cut three more petals out of the color your felt flower is.
  • Hot glue the flower petals and roll the main piece of the flower together. Glue the three petals to the green felt leaf to form a base and then glue the rolled flower to the base. Glue the flower to the base.

Final Thoughts: This was a really enjoyable craft. There are a lot of steps. Having fabrics scissors is a must. I used coupons on all the items to make this craft. I also used sales to make things avoidable and always reuse my supplies. Let your teens become creative. I have a few pictures of my patrons’ pillows below.

Cindy Crushes Programming: Nailed It!

A lot of the best programming ideas comes from TV. Game shows, food programs and craft programs are a great inspiration for programming. Today Cindy Shutts outlines how she ran a program inspired by the Netflix show Nailed It!, which of course was inspired by the ongoing Internet trend where everyday people share their attempts to recreate what they see on the Internet and when they have clearly failed announce that they have, indeed, nailed it.

Background:

Nailed It is the popular show on Netflix where people try to create yummy creations that look good, but often times they fail. I wanted to try to recreate this in a library craft program.

Supplies:

Your crafts can be different. I did not spend any money on craft supplies. I used leftover supplies I already such as magnets, paper, pipe cleaners and buttons.

Prepapring for the Program:

Step one: Create the crafts the patrons will be making. The crafts I chose were a Nailed It magnet and a paper sunflower. I have two rounds in my program..

Step Two: Prepare the supplies for the crafts

Make a list and check it twice to make sure you have all the supplies you need in the amounts that you need.

Step Three: Make Nailed It Trophy

Step Four: I made an optional PowerPoint presentation to go along with the program that listed all the rules and crafts and the time limits they would have to follow to make the craft easier to run.

Here are the basic rules the patrons where given:

  • Two rounds
  • This is not a race.
  • Round One is 30 minutes (this is plenty of time to include crafters who come late).
  • Each craft will have minimal instructions
  • You will have an example of each craft, but may not take it from the example table
  • You must share craft supplies such as glue and glue guns.
  • Judging will happen for Round One at 6:30
  • Winner of Round One will receive a hint from Miss Cindy
  • The person who places last in Round One will have Miss Cindy distract a competitor of their choice for one minute.
  • Round Two is 45 minutes.
  •  All of Cindy’s judging is final. No Bribes.
  •  You must keep you hand on your own craft. Do not touch someone or someone’s craft without permission.
  •  Winner will receive the Nailed it Trophy.
  • Loser will receive a Certificate of Completion
  •  Feel free to make your craft better than Miss Cindy’s.

Step Five: Run the program: This was one program where I tried to remember to be kind but funny when judging the crafts. The winner of Round One will receive a hint from me. I gave them gluing hints because I had given them three types of glue to use. I explained which glue goes where. The last place loser of Round One will have Miss Cindy distract a competitor of choice for one minute. This was harder than I expected. I turned on Cher’s Believe and danced around to it in front of the person of the losers’ choice.

Final Thoughts: I loved it! It was so much fun and people had a great time. The only issue was people who had never seen the show, but I did explain the show quickly to them. I have regulars who sign up for a lot of my programs without knowing what it is.

MakerSpace: Making T-shirts with Infusible Ink

One of the most popular activities I have ever done with teens involves making t-shirts. In fact, I know over 22 different ways to make, manipulate, upcycles and recycle t-shirts and have done so in over 100 programs with 1,000s of teens over the years. My kids wear t-shirts made by me and sometimes made by themselves, sometimes in libraries. So I’m here today to share with you another new and exciting way to make t-shirts with the help of one of my best friends, Krista, and her blog FreakTraveler.com.

Krista and I do a lot of things together, like talk books (she leads the local adult book club I am a part of where I sometimes actually read the book) and we craft together. We both have Silhouette Cameo machines and we’ve made a lot of t-shirts together. This past week we tried the new Cricut Infusible Ink vinyl and pens using our Silhouette Cameo machines (they work!) and I’m going to walk you through it.

To begin with, you’re going to need either a Cricut or a Silhouette Cameo machine. I have a Silhouette Cameo, which is the same machine I have for the Teen MakerSpace and the teen maker activities I do.

The Silhouette Cameo at the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Ohio

You’ll also need the Infusible Ink materials, which are created by Cricut. You can use them with the Silhouette Cameo because it’s not the machine that matters, but the t-shirt. Cricut sells special Infusible Ink products that they recommend you use and these materials include various t-shirts, tote bags and coasters. They are more expensive than many of the blank t-shirts you can buy so we did some research and learned that you can use non Cricut t-shirts, they just need to be 95% cotton and 5% spandex, or as close to this ratio as possible. For the record, it is recommended by Cricut that you use their products to get the best transfer.

Cricut has both pre-printed infusible ink vinyl. Here you see a mermaid pallet in soft, pastel colors.

They also have infusible ink markers that you can make shirts with. There are maybe a dozen different colors and they have two different tip sizes.

The markers allow you to make your own designs and color them in. I’m going to walk you through this in just a moment. The difference between the infusible ink and traditional vinyl is the way that your final product feels. Whereas with traditional HTV (heat transfer vinyl) you can kind of feel the vinyl sitting on top of your shirt, the infusible ink vinyl makes it feel more like traditional screen printing. It creates a soft, smooth finished product. The Teen hates the way traditional HTV shirts feels and won’t wear t-shirts I make for her, but this she likes.

Insubile Ink Vinyl Transfer

To use the pre-printed infusible ink vinyl, you basically just make your design, cut it out and transfer it as you would an HTV shirt. You do have to mirror your image with infusible in vinyl so that the final product is facing the right direction. But it’s just 1) design, 2) cut and 3) transfer with heat. The process is the same, it’s just the feel of the final product that feels different.

Here we are about to transfer the letters that we have cut out using our Silhouette Cameo and the Infusible Ink Vinyl
And this is what the final product looks like. The colors were a little light for the shirt that we used, but the process worked perfectly and we were very happy with the finished product.

Using Invisible Ink Markers

The real change comes here when you are using the infusible ink markers.

First, you are going to make your design in the Silhouette Cameo but instead of cutting it, you have to send it to the printer and print it on regular printer paper. Krista designed this by herself entirely in the Silhouette Cameo studio and then sent it to her printer. Yes, it’s basically a coloring sheet printed on your printer.

You then color it in using the infusible ink markers.

When you are done, you will have something that looks like a coloring book page, but it’s done in infusible ink markers.

You then turn this over onto your shirt and press it the same as you would traditional heat press vinyl. The tutorials we watched said that you need to use a lint roller on your shirt before applying the markers, but we did not. You do want to make sure that you put a piece of cardboard between the two layers of your shirt before pressing because it can bleed through. Thankfully, we did listen to this part of the tutorial because the markers did bleed through onto the cardboard.

You’ll want to press your design at 385% for about 60 seconds. You need a heat press for this one as an iron doesn’t get hot enough. I’ve used a heat press with teens in a Teen MakerSpace and this is 100% the way to go. The instructions said to let your design cool completely before removing the paper. This is what Krista’s final shirt looked like after the transfer:

And here’s a comparison of the design next to the shirt.

This process worked really well and we were very happy with it. I highly recommend it.

For a teen program, I would probably put out a few design sheets printed out for teens to use as well as blank paper so they can make their own designs if desired. You’ll need several packs of markers and you’ll want to pay attention as they do have different tip sizes. They are not inexpensive as a pack of five markers cost about $14.99 at Michaels and the general 40% off coupons that Michael’s often advertises don’t apply to this new product.

Using a Silhouette Cameo to design and cut vinyl to make t-shirts works less well in a program setting unless you have more than one device. So for a teen makerspace where people can walk in and work on their own, vinyl works well. But for a program type of setting, the infusible ink markers would actually work better. There are a lot of ways that you can use this with teens. The end product is pretty cool.

Please go visit my friend Krista’s blog at FreakTraveler.com because she was so awesome to help me put this post together. I even make an appearance here and there.

More about the Silhouette Cameo and Teen MakerSpaces here at TLT:

And for the record, Silhouette Cameo doesn’t pay me for these posts. I just really like using one and have found it works well as a makerspace activity.

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Galaxy Geode Bath Bombs

I made galaxy geode bath bombs as one of the space themed programs for our Summer Reading Program. To make the bath bombs, I used this recipe but modified it for my group. Below is a step by step walk through of what we did and how it worked.

Supplies:

  • Food coloring (Blue, Brown, Purple, Pink or Green)
  • 1/4 cup of Citric acid
  • 1 or more tablespoons of rubbing alcohol
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Three sets measuring spoons
  • Disposable gloves, multiple pairs
  • Half a bath bomb mold (I used bath bomb containers from used bath bombs.)
  • Various mixing bowls/containers

To make the the outside edge of the geode

Working in groups of two people

Mix ¼ cup citric acid with ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup cornstarch.

Then add brown food coloring. I used brown food coloring gel. Use a couple of squeezes.

Then add 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol. You can add more as needed, but add slowly.

Mix the liquid and dry ingredients with your hands and be sure to wear gloves.

Press the mix on the edge of the bath bomb mold. Press hard to form a layer of one cm on the edge of the mold. Do this step while wearing the gloves.

To make the inside of the geode

Again, working in groups of two people

Put three tablespoons of Epsom salt in to a bowl.

Squeeze a little food coloring in the bowl by hand wearing a new glove.

Repeat with a second color to get the galaxy look. Each color will need it’s own bowl.

Add a tablespoon of coconut oil into the solution. The coconut oil makes it stick together.

Place alternate colors in the mold starting at the center and moving upward. This will give it the galaxy effect. If you want more of a geode effect, just use white Epson salt on the edge with coconut oil and add colors afterwards.

This bath bomb should be left out to dry or put into the freezer to dry.

Final Thoughts: This was the best bath bomb I have ever made. I really enjoyed it.  There was extra mix so I rbought in my extra Easter eggs to use as container for the leftover supplies in the bowls.

Cindy Crushes Programming: DIY Harry Potter Book of Monsters

Harry Potter is a series that continues to be popular as new tween and teen readers discover it every day. In celebration of all things Harry Potter, Cindy Shutts recently hosted a program with her teens and taught them how they can create their own book of monsters. The steps are outlined below.

Supplies

  • Hot glue and gun
  • Fake fur
  • Large googly eyes
  • Red felt
  • White felt
  •  Composition notebooks

Step One: Measure the composition notebook.

Step Two: Cut and measure the fur a little bit larger than the notebook. This allows there to be a little overlap and gives a better effect. Excess can be trimmed off.

Step Three: Hot glue the fur on the notebook. Start at one end and press the fur down as you glue. This ensures that the glue does not dry before you have a chance to attach the fur.

Step Four: Cut sharp looking teeth out from the white felt. It looks better if you do it free hand rather than tracing it because the trace marks often show. Hot glue the teeth on the inside cover of the notebook.

Step Five: Cut a tongue out of the red felt and hot glue it on the inside cover of the notebook.

Step Six: Hot glue the googly eyes on the felt so it looks like a monster.

Step Seven: Let dry then enjoy your book of monsters.

Finals Thoughts: This was a very enjoyable craft. I had been avoiding it because of the costs, but I saw a picture online that looked easier and cheaper. I used a 40% off coupon on the fur. The fur is the most expensive part of this program. Use a coupon if you can! There are more difficult versions that cost more money to make, but this one was perfect for us. The teens loved it and wanted to do it again.