Posted in Makerspace, Unboxing

Oculus Go

Technically, virtual reality (VR) is very cheap to operate.  Simply purchase some Google Cardboards for $10ish, pop in your cell phone and have fun.  If you work in a low income community, it’s not that simple.  I work in a low income community and my teens either don’t have cell phones or the phones they have don’t have a gyroscope.  We have several Google Cardboards but they are virtually useless-LOL.

The Oculus Rift can be a solution if your library can afford $400 per goggle and you have an Xbox. If you don’t have an Xbox, that’s gonna cost you a couple hundred more.  The other downside to the Rift is that only one person can play at a time so if you can only afford one that means long lines or appointments.

Good new, friends. Oculus has created a cheaper VR experience called Go.  The Oculus Go retails for about $200/goggle. You don’t need a cell phone or a video console to operate it. The OS is in the goggle! I bought a two sets and here’s my assessment.  Disclaimer, I’ve never played with the Oculus Rift but I’ve done Google Cardboard so I can’t compare the Go to the Rift.

Pros to the Oculus Go:

  • It’s easy to set up. Once you put on the goggles, the instructions are easy to follow.  You do have to download the app to an iPad or phone and create an account but that’s it.  You don’t have to attach the iPad or phone to the goggles.
  • The graphics are great. The graphics are clear and you feel like you are in the room/game.
  • You get two hours of game time on a full charge.  I’d recommend allowing patrons to play for 10 minutes and you can get ten patrons to participate in two hours on one pair of goggles.
  • The games are fun. There’s horror, dinosaurs, roller coasters, blockbuster movie tie ins, and educational apps.

Cons to the Oculus Go:

  • Apps. There are some free apps but the good ones do cost anywhere between $2-$15. If you have the budget, go for it.
  • It takes three hours to charge so if you only have one and a lot of patrons, you’ll run into troubles.  I’d recommend having VR as part of a program. This way everyone can get five to ten minutes on it.  You can also make appointments for patrons if they want to use it longer. It is recommended to not play while it’s charging.
  • You need wifi. If you take it off site, make sure your location has wifi or invest in a personal hotspot.
  • It gets sweaty. The games can be intense and you can get pretty sweaty. The cushion will get sweaty between patrons so just be aware.
  • Most games require the player to stay in one place. A staffer who plays the Rift tested it and he said you can move in the Rift. There are some Go games where you can walk but most are stationary.


I think it’s worth purchasing.  I’ve played the horror games and was totally scared and I love scary stuff and don’t scare easily.  We had teens test it and as you can see below, they loved it.  The teen in the video is playing Face Your Fears-a free app. Lower the volume a bit; there is screaming.


Posted in Makerspace

Galaxy Crafts

Galaxy crafting is making your project look like the galaxy.  All you need is black, purple, blue, red/pink colors dotted with white specs to look like stars.

Galaxy crafts are very popular among all ages and you can make almost anything look like the galaxy.

We had a whole week of galaxy crafts:

Galaxy Shoes

In your publicity, make sure you tell teens to bring white canvas shoes. They don’t have to be new; they just have to be white and canvas.  If you are buying shoes, have teens register with their shoe size.

Budget: $15-$50 (If you already have Sharpies, the program will be cheaper)

Supplies Needed:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • droppers
  • Sharpies (Different shades of blues and purples; black; red or pink)
  • White acrylic paint
  • Small paint brush
  • White canvas shoes
  • Tape (optional)


  1. If the shoes have laces, remove them.
  2. Put tape around the soles to prevent the colors from running.
  3. Color shoes in sections using various colors.
  4. Using the dropper, drop alcohol over the colored section.  The colors with bleed. The more alcohol you add, the better it will look.
  5. Put first shoe to the side to dry and repeat with other shoe.
  6. Using white paint and paint brush, paint small dots and stars around the shoes to look like stars or galaxies.


  • Teens will want to Sharpie the entire shoe first.  Tell them NOT to do that. This project is a trial and error. When they do sections, it allows them to see what colors look good. They can change the color combo as they work.  If they Sharpie the entire shoe, they may not like the color combo.
  • If the colors don’t look like their are bleeding into each other, add more alcohol.
  • This craft takes about 1 hour to complete.

Galaxy Candy

Budget: $10+

Supplies Needed

  • Jolly Ranchers (Purple, blue, red/pink)
  • Small baggies
  • Hammer
  • Spoons
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cooking spray
  • Oven


  1. Each teen can have four pieces of each color of candy. Have them unwrap the candy and separate them in bags.
  2. On the floor, have teen crush the candy with hammers.  Crush until there are small chunks.
  3. Pre cut 5 x 5 inch squares of foil and give teens one square. Pre roll long pieces of olsQLmBOQjullTUuzhZOCAfoil and give teens two pieces. (See the picture for an example.  You will see a flat piece of foil and you’ll see rolled logs of foil).
  4. Have teens roll the sides of the flat square around the rolled foil.
    1. The reason for this is because it’s important for the flat square to have little to no creases. The candy will get stuck in the creases. The likelihood of creasing is minimized when you give teens the rolled foil to fold in.
  5. Have teens spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray.
  6. Using the spoon, have teens spoon in the candy in their desired color combo.
  7. Pre-heat the oven on 300 degrees. Place candy in the oven for five minutes or until it’s melted.
  8. Once it’s cooled, have teens peel off the foil.


  • If foil is stuck on the candy, teens can use a butter knife to cut if off.
  • The above instructions can make two candies.
  • This craft too about 15-20 minutes

Galaxy Night Light

Budget: $60 + (Look around your craft closet to reduce costs)

Supplies Needed


  1. Have teens trace their domed ornament around the cardboard and cut out. Put to the side for later.
  2. Using Sharpies, color the inside of the ornament in sections.
  3. Put a small amount of alcohol on a cotton ball and lightly blot the colors until they bleed.
  4. On the cardboard circle, using the thumbtack, poke a hole in the center of the cardboard.
  5. Make the hole a little bigger using the chopstick/skewer.
  6. Stick the head of the LED through the hole.  Insert the battery between the prongs; fold and tape the battery to the side.
  7. Hot glue the perimeter of the cardboard circle and glue it to the dome.
  8. Turn off the lights and enjoy the show.


You can galaxy anything-slime, paintings, t-shirts, baked goods, bath bomb, soap, rocks, fingernail art, easter eggs, blue jeans, etc.  To find all these ideas, search galaxy crafts on Pinterest or experiment yourself.

Have Fun!


Posted in Big Programs, Makerspace

Cosplaying With Teens

Cosplay is dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game.  Making the costume, accessories, and armor is the exciting part of cosplay and can be easily incorporated into your teen or makerspace programming.

Worbla-The Star of the Show

Worbla will be featured in this post.  Worbla is a thermoplastic modeling material.  All that means is that you can mold it by heating it.

  • The Worbla I’ve seen comes in two colors, beige and black. (I am not a Worbla or cosplay expert so I could be mistaken).
    • You can paint Worbla and I recommend priming it first. Acrylic paint and spray paint is recommended.
  • Worbla is expensive. A 29×19 sheet on Amazon cost about $50. If you are only making masks, you can get about 16 masks from one sheet.
    • However, if you already have heat guns, paint, cutting utensils, and gems, your are only paying for the Worbla.
  • Worbla is molded with heat from a heat gun.
  • It’s very easy to teach and use with teens.
The mask is shaped to her face

Making Masks

Supplies Needed


  1. I pre cut the Worbla into rectangles that were big enough for the mask template.  I gave each teen a rectangle of Worbla.
  2. I found a basic mask template on Google/Pinterest. You will have to copy and paste
    in Publisher or Photoshop to make the masks fit a face.  I gave teen a template.
  3. Have teens cut out the eye holes.  If you are feeling fancy, you can pre-cut the masks on your cutting machine (Silhouette/Circut) and pre-cut the eye holes and elastic holes.
  4. On the dull side of the Worbla, have teens trace the outside and eye holes from the mask.
  5. Have teens cut out the mask. The eye holes can be cut out using the craft knife.  If you don’t want teens using a craft knife, like I did because they were a little young, you can start the eye holes with the craft knife and let them use scissors to complete the cut.
  6. Have teens place the paper template on the mask and use the hole punch template as a guide to punch holes for the elastic cord.
  7. Turn the mask so that the dull side is facing up and use the heat gun to heat the nose first.
    1. Once the Worbla is pliable, have teens place the mask on their face and pinch the nose until it shapes to their face.
      1. If it is too hot for their face, tell them to let it cool a little bit before dmFaq5skQPy63tuzaqKGPQputting it on their face.  It won’t leave burn marks on their face.
  8. Repeat step seven by heating the mask and pressing onto their face in sections.  Do the under eye, the sides, and the top.
    1. Have teens hold their head back as they press to shape their face.
  9. If they mess up, they can heat the mask, flatten it until it hardens, and start again.
  10. Tie the elastic cord.  The cord should be tight so that it fits snuggly to their face.


  • Teens thought the mask looked like The Incredibles so you can make this to tie it into the movie release.
  • This activity took about 30 minutes.  To make it longer, teens can create their own template, you can have teens paint their mask or decorate with gems, or teens can add dimension. See my cuff cosplay below for instructions.
    • You can add a writing component by making a comic page.
      • You can take pictures of teens in their mask in superhero poses.  Teens and upload their images into a comic strip template.
      • Teens can turn their superhero persona into a short story
    • You can use a green screen to take pictures or make a short film.
  • Save your scraps; you can use them to make dimension. See cuff project below.
  • Hair dryers will take too long to heat; I recommend a heat gun.

Making Armour

Teens can use Worbla to make cuffs, bracers, or shin guards. See the video below to learn how I made my cuff.


  • Have teens draw their design before they begin.
  • The Worbla was uncomfortably hot when I shaped it to my wrist. After a Google search, it was recommended that you wear long sleeves and to shape the Worbla over your sleeve.

This is a great summer activity for your teens who love attending comic cons. They can come to your program to save money and to make their cosplay.

If you host own comic con at your library, this can be a great event or competition.

This can also be a Halloween program for teens to make their costumes at the library.

Posted in Big Programs

Harry Potter Party-Divination & Trivia

Welcome third years to Mrs. Trelawney’s Divination Class! This year, you’ll learn how to read ancient runes, palms, and tea leaves. During class, we’ll play Harry Potter team trivia and the winning team will get a prize.

Budget-Expensive (LOL) I probably spent about $150 for 30 people.  The bulk of the budget was spent on snacks and prizes


Palm Reading-We printed information on how to read palms.  Simply do a Google search.

Tasseography (Tea Leaves)

Supplies Needed

  • Tea cups & saucer (get the tea cups that taper).  If you don’t have any tea cups ask fHVZh3k%QU2VuPDYRIdd1wstaff. I bought all of mine from Goodwill/Salvation Army
  • Tea pots. Once again ask staff or go to Goodwill/Salvation Army
  • Tea
  • Chart 1 | Chart 2
  • Interpretation Website



Ancient Runes

Supplies Needed


  1. I learned about ancient runes from this Youtube channel.  I wrote down the more kVB0NBKiSa+P9sxpSAVnSwinteresting bits of history and explained it during the beginning of the “class.”
  2. I put 13 runes and the chart in each velvet bag.  There are 24 symbols in the alphabet but I didn’t want to spend that much on the wooden pieces.  If you do, I would suggest buying a bigger velvet pouch.
  3. I told “students” to write their favorite symbols on the wooden pieces.  You could give everyone 12 pieces and have them write symbols on both sides.  This way they will get all the symbols. Technically, real ancient runes wouldn’t do the double sided method.
  4. “Students” put the runes back in the bag, hold the bag by the string, and knock the energy out of the bag.
  5. They hold the bag in both hands and clear their minds.LUhNmCJvQueY+mOYjYRx2g
  6. The move the pieces around in the bag and ask their question out loud.
  7. They take out one rune and answer their question but interpreting the rune using the chart.
  8. Here’s the video I watched to learn how to read runes. There are other ways to do runes but this way was the easiest to teach.
  9. I had them read their neighbor’s runes.

Harry Potter Trivia

I made a Kahoot quiz. Kahoot is an online trivia site.  Teens can use their cell phones to add the game pin to play along.  You may use my Kahoot quiz; it is a bit hard.

The tables were teams.  We have four people per table.


I visited Mariano’s ethnic foods section and purchased British chips, Jaffe Cakes, Sherbert Lemons and assorted candies, Crumpets, and Lemon Curd.  I made scones from a mix. We had hot tea and iced tea to drink.



  • Mini text books- We purchased mini notebooks and printing and glued the Divination book cover over them. Each “student” received a text book.IMG_1531
  • Feather Quill- We made them using an ink pen and duct tape.  Here’s the instructions on how to make a feather with duct tape.  Each “student” received a
  • Electric candles (Dollar Store is a cheaper option). We put candles on each table.
  • Crystal Ball-I spray painted left over DIY globes.  We hot glued them to wooden plaques.  We bought ours from Michaels for $1/ea.  We put a crystal ball in the center of each table.
  • We covered each table with red and purple table cloths.
  • We put shiny curtain over the door frames.


We wrote a prophecy for everyone and put them at each place setting. We made it so that five prophecies would come true during the party.  You may print and cut our prophecies.  The ones with the asterisk are the prophecies that will come true.

  • One of the feather quills had yellow duct tape
  • We drew a deathly hallows on the bottom of a saucer
  • We put a square piece among the circle pieces in one of the ancient runes bags.  I purchased square and round wooden pieces but you can put a gem in the bag and change the prophecy.
  • We put the final two at two different tables.  The odds of a loosing team is high.

The Party

  • Upon arrival, “students” chose their seat and enjoyed snacks.
  • We did palm reading first- 15 minutes
  • We played trivia-20 minutes
  • Ancient runes- 15 minutes
  • Tea leaves-25 minutes
  • We took snack and bathroom breaks between activities.
  • We reminded “students” to check their prophecies to see if it came true.

Sorry, no escape room but here’s a link to one I did a year ago.

Posted in Uncategorized

Emoji Crafts

As a programmer, I often need a theme that will attract a large number of teens (besides slime.) Emojis are still popular and it’s popular among all ages and genders!  Here are some of our more successful emoji activities.

Pouch 1


  • Four sheets of yellow feltIMG_1355
  • Felt circles (Black and white for the eyes)
  • Multi colored felt squares
  • Fabric glue
  • Hot glue
  • Zippers
  • Batting
  • Sewing machine or needles and thread

Prep: We pre-cut the yellow circles, hearts, tear drops, and mouths.  (If you do this as a longer program, teens can cut their own shapes)


  1. Teens need to decide if they are going to make a pillow or a zipped pouch.
    1. Pillows-Sew or hot glue three quarters of two large yellow circles.  Stuff the pillow with batting and continue the circle.
    2. Pouch-Sew or glue the three quarters of two large yellow circles.  Hot glue the zipper to the inside of the top or
      1. Cut a slit on one of the large yellow circles and glue a zipper on the inside. (this way is easier just be sure to buy short zippers-5″)
  2. Using fabric glue, have the teens design their emoji.

Pouch 2

This can be a no sew pouch or you can sew or hot glue a zipper to the top.


  • Felt squares of varied colors18268194_1499356746764761_7877152876927319537_n
  • Felt glue
  • Hot glue
  • needle and thread (optional)
  • zipper (optional)


  1. Choose two felt rectangles of equal size
  2. Glue or sew three sides.
  3. Have teens use felt to make their favorite emoji
  4. Hot glue emoji to pouch
  5. Teens can glue or sew a zipper (optional)

Flair (Shrinky Dinks)

You can make Shrinky Dinks RIzp5GVHR7KD7l04nWvzAgusing #6 plastic.  Many food containers are made with #6 plastic, especially pastries from the grocery store.  We asked staff to save and donate their #6 food containers.  #6 shrinks and stiffens the best.

You will need a toaster or convection oven and if your library doesn’t have one and you don’t want to buy one, ask a staff member if you can borrow theirs.

Supplies Needed:

Here’s How

I preprinted popular images and cut them out in squares.  They were about 4×4 inches.
Images included Harry Potter and superhero logos, sports team logos, Pokemon and Super Mario logos.  If you are worried about copyright, Google creative common images or allow teens to draw their own pictures.

Using a Sharpie/marker, trace the outline of the image on the shrink paper and color the image using colored pencil or markers.

  • If you are using purchased paper, trace and color on the rough side.ZDaUO9pMS6uzJty3JAf1vw
  • If you are using #6, sand paper one side and trace and color on the same side.
  • If you are making a keychain or necklace punch a hole in the plastic next to your colored image and cut out the image.
  • If you are using purchased paper, follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • If you are using #6 plastic, preheat the oven on 350 degrees.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1-3 minutes.
    • It will begin to curl but don’t panic, it will flatten.  After it flattens, leave in the oven for 30 seconds and take out of the oven.  Lay a book on the Dink to ensure the flatness.
  • Hot glue a pinback to create fun charms.

Charms/Jewelry (Polymer Clay)

Polymer Clay is used to make small figurines or jewelry and requires baking to harden.   If you don’t have a convection oven, ask staff if they’d be willing to donate theirs for the day.


  • Provide hand sanitizer and napkins because if teens use red clay and then use polymer clay 3
    white, the red clay on their fingers will ruin the white.  Inform teens to clean their hands between clay and the utensils.
  • If teens are making jewelry, the metal pieces can be baked.
  • Bake all the figurines together.  Bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Purchase the glue and gloss that’s made for polymer clay.  The glue is for the jewelry pieces and the gloss is to make it shiny.

Have Fun!



  • Containers
  • Oil Sharpies
  • Ingredients to make yellow slime (We made fluffy slime)


  • Have teens make fluffy slime.
    • The containers are big so if you want to fill it to the top, make a slime that take up more space than regular slime.
  • Use the oil Sharpies to draw their favorite emoji.
    • Oil Sharpies are EXPENSIVE so you can use paint.


You can purchase eraser clay and prepare it similarly to polymer clay.

Supplies: Eraser Clay

Perler Beads Earbud Holder


Teens like perler beads and here’s a craft to take it to the next level.

Below is the picture of the final product.  As you can see, ours are not emojis but you can easily make it into an emoji.  Here is a Pin of an emoji earbud holder


  • Circle pegboards
  • Lots of yellow perler beads
  • E6000 glue
  • Large binder clip


  1. Use the circle pegboard.fullsizeoutput_38f
  2. Have teens make two emojis; they can be different.
    1. It’s important that the open space is equal on both sides and are in the same spot as the second emoji.  See the picture.
  3. Have teens make two smaller circles for the center.
  4. Use E6000 to glue all the parts together.


  • Make sure the open space is equal on both sides.
  • We used E6000 glue to hold the center pieces.  We then clamped it shut with a large binder clip and told the teens to leave it clamped for a couple of hours before using it.



Posted in Makerspace

Ode to Youtube

Some of our DIY programs come from searching Youtube.  First, we think about what our teens are into.  They like their cell phone, they like emojis, they like(d) fidget spinners.  Next we ask ourselves how we can turn their interests into DIYs.  Then we say to ourselves, “DIY cell phone cases is a great DIY but I have no idea how to make one because I’m not crafty.” That’s when we search Youtube.

Youtube in a treasure trove of crafters and DIYers and below you will find our most popular crafts found on Youtube.

Cell Phone Cases

I love this Youtuber because of all the creativity.  She has a plethora of phone case ideas for beginners to advanced crafters.   It’s in Spanish but you can still follow if you don’t speak the language.

Pop Sockets

I got the great idea to do DIY pop sockets but I wasn’t sure where to begin so I watched this Youtuber. I didn’t do it exactly like this girl because I didn’t want teens cutting water bottles so I bought plastic shot glasses from the Dollar Tree.

Supplies Needed:

  • Shot glasses from Dollar Tree
  • Glue Dots
  • Plastic bottle top
  • Circle shapes on cardstock.  Circles should be slightly bigger than the circumference of the larger side of the shot glass. I precut my circles using my Silhouette cutter but you don’t have to do that.
  • Hot Glue


  1. Hot glue the open side of the bottle top to the closed side of the shot glass.


2.  Have teens design their circle, then hot glue it to the open side of the shot glass.


3.  Put a glue dot on the bottle top and stick to phone.  The beauty of the glue dot is that it sticks well but it’s not permanent.


Mini Kawaii Notebooks

Teens like Kawaii. Kawaii basically  means cute in Japanese and it usually has little rosy cheeks and stars in their eyes like the picture below. Pineapples are also a thing so we chose the pineapple Kawaii from this Youtuber.  Our teens like pineapples so much, we are hosting a week of pineapple crafts in the near future.


Gamer Crafts: Piranha Plant

Super Mario is still a thing so we found this piranha plant craft on Youtube that went over very well with boys.


Posted in Makerspace

Top 5 DIYs

The afterschool teen programs in our makerspace are drop in activities that take no longer than 30 minutes to complete.  We’ve discovered that the afterschool crowd really enjoy making something out of every day household items.  Here is a list of out most popular DIYs.

Follow Teen Services Depot on Instagram for more program ideas.

Hot Glue Cell Phone Case

This is a very cheap DIY that teens will do for hours.  For complete instructions, visit Teen Services Depot on Instagram and watch the saved Instastory.


Sleep Mask

Supplies Needed:

  • Cotton fabric.  We purchased fun designs.
  • Elastic 
  • Quilt batting.  If you are on a budget, you can use felt.
  • Needle and thread


  • Google sleep mask template and print on cardstock for teens to use.
  • Teens should trace the template on two pieces of fabric.  We used cotton fabric because it’s comfortable on the eyes.
  • Teens should use the template to trace and cut out a mask on a quilt batting.  Cut this final product a little smaller than the fabric mask.
  • Have teens measure their heads with a strip of elastic.
  • On one piece of fabric, sew elastic to both ends.
  • Assemble the batting between the fabric and hand or machine sew to complete the mask.



Bath Bombs

Sorry, didn’t take any pics but click here to see our instructions.


Teens like to sew and that’s including hand sewing. They really liked the piggy bank and the plush owl.  Click here and scroll for “Sewing a Button” for instructions.


Hot Glue Fidget Spinner

Just in case fidget spinners are still cool at your library, here’s an easy DIY made out of a silicone mold, hot glue, skate bearing, and glitter.



Posted in Passive Programs

Subscription Boxes for Libraries

Owlcrate has blown up and I subscribed at one time but $30, no thanks.  If I don’t want to pay $30, I’m guessing teens don’t either so we decided to give teens a free alternative to Owlcrate.

What’s In Our Box?

Our box contains one book and three small bookish/themed items. Just like Owlcrate, we atozqaRvSOKj+gBVw552eQhave everything wrapped in tissue paper with a postcard explaining what’s in the box.  We also include information about joining our book club or other teen programs.

How Did We Get Our Stuff?

We get our books from conferences, donations that come from other libraries, and publishers that give us books to review (we read and review them first).  You can also solicit publishers for free books and swag.

Our swag came from websites and Target dollar section. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative:

  • If you or a colleague is going to ALA, comic cons, or other bookish conferences, have them grab a bunch of bookmarks, pins, buttons, bags, notebooks, or other bookish swag.
  • Publishers will sometimes send you swag if you inform them of your program.  Go to each publisher’s site, scroll down, and look for “Contact Us.”
  • Ask your director or circ coordinator if you can include library promo items.
  • If you have a button maker, make buttons.
  • If you have a Silhouette Cutter, make vinyl decals.
  • We ordered our pins from Pinmart. 
    • If you don’t want to buy pins, you can make pins using Shrinky Dinks

We ordered our boxes from but you can get really cheap boxes from Walmart, Dollar Store or use the boxes I’m sure your library gets in droves.

How Do You Begin?

  • The first thing we did was look at our budget to see how many boxes we could do 66QK3pRqR8e30v5b1OojKAper month.  We decided on ten boxes but you can more or less than that.
  • We then needed a catchy name.  We are terrible at naming our programs and if you are too, ask staff or your teens.  Our subscription box name is Ship in Volume. I got this name by Googling book idioms.
  • If you are familiar with Owlcrate, you’ll know that their boxes are themed.  The next thing we did was create three themes.  Since our name is a take on shipping book couples, our first theme was romance.  Subsequent themes include fantasy and contemporary. Our promotions looks like this:
    • April- We Ship It:Romance
    • May-All the Feels: Contemporary
    • June-A Whole New World: Fantasy
  • Time to promote! Here’s the description in our newsletter:
    • Have you wanted to sign up for OwlCrate but don’t want to drop the cash? Then sign up for our Ship in Volume Book Subscription Box and you will get a new YA book and a box full of themed goodies. What’s even better? You get to keep the box and everything inside!
      This subscription box will be limited to ten people per month, and you may register for all three months. If no spots are available, you will be placed on a waiting list. To subscribe to our subscription box, simply email INSERT YOUR EMAIL or message INSERT YOUR HANDLE on Facebook or Instagram with your name and email address. We will notify you when your box is ready for pick up at the library! Your box will be held for pick up at the desk in INSERT LOCATION for one week after you have been notified. If you fail to pick up your box, it will go to the next person on the list.
    • After the newsletter was released for a couple of weeks, we still had boxes available so we promoted it on our Instagram.  We received most of our signups through Instagram.
  • Time to Assemble!
    • Inside most subscription boxes, there will be a postcard describing the contents.  We did a postcard but instead of informing where to buy, we wrote cheeky descriptions.
    • We also created a logo using Canva and made it into a sticker.  To make the o0Vsf+4pQXyLyvTq%PNjogsticker, we printed the logos on sticker paper and cut them out using the Silhouette Cutting Machine.  If you don’t have one, print your logo on printer paper, cut it out and glue stick it.
    • We do not have ten copies of the same book so we chose books based on the reading habits/interests of our teens.  We knew most of the teen participants so it was easy to customize but if you are receiving new teens to your subscription box, you can include a survey in the email you send them.
  • Other Ideas
    • You can include a book review sheet for teens to fill out and return. You can put those reviews by the books in your stacks or on your social media/website.
    • You can include a sentence asking teens to take a pic of their box on their social media and to use a hashtag.

So far the teens who are participating are REALLY excited about the boxes.  They were calling them Owlcrates at first-LOL.  We even had a mother email us asking if her homebound teen could participate.  Our goal for this program is to reach readers who are too busy to attend library programs but still want to participate. So far, we are seeing a mixture of our regular teens and teens who are in high school or college and are too busy to attend library programs. We hope the word gets out and that it grows.




Posted in Big Programs, Makerspace

Beauty Science

One of our goals for the year is to host career readiness programming for teens but how do we make that sound exciting to a 14 year old?  Our first career readiness program was called beauty science and teens created popular beauty items and we discussed the science and careers associated with it.

Will boys come to this? Yes!

Bath Bombs

We weren’t sure if teens took baths but on social media, bath bombs are not about relaxation; it’s about taking a video of a cool fizzing sphere.  We don’t care what they do with them.  As a matter of fact, we asked them to tag us in their videos.

Budget: $60/50 teens; 3 small bombs/teen

Ages: 10+

  • Citric acidbath bombs
  • Corn starch
  • Baking soda
  • Epsom Salt
  • Food dye
  • Essential oils
  • Molds (small)
  • Bowls
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing spoons
  • Plastic wrap
  • Goody bag
  • Spray bottles of water


  • Out of 20 participants, 4 were boys
  • Twisting the molds together seemed to work better
  • Sometimes the molds don’t work.  If this happens, dump out the mix, add a couple of sprays of water, and mix again.
  • Let the bombs sit out unwrapped while teens make their other molds.  Then wrap them.  They seem to hold better when they dry out for a while.
  • If you want to turn this into a long program, 1.5 hours, allow teens to experiment with colors (galaxy, unicorn, black).  Teens can also put toys inside the bomb.  They can do themes (Hogwarts sorting, etc). You can have teens create their own company and give their bombs names and they can design a logo on a sticker or tag.
  • Here’s the PDF of the instructions- bath bombs.

DIY Lip Balm

Teens find this to be the most fascinating because they can’t believe it’s so easy to make something they buy in the store.

Budget: $55/50 teens

Age: 12+

Supplies Needed:


Disclaimer-We used a counter top burner but you can use the double boiler method.

If you have a microwave in your room, this is ideal but if you don’t, you can boil a bowl of water and place a metal or glass bowl over the bowl with hot water.  You need to be able to melt the wax.

We did this program as a drop in so only four teens could do it at a time. The following batch was enough for six teens.

  1. Have the group decide what color they want their lip balm to be.  Give them that color crayon.  The crayon will not leave a pigment on the lip; it just creates color for the balm.
  2. Have one teen pour a 1/4 cup of beeswax into a glass or metal bowl. Pass the bowl.
  3. Have the next teen put a table spoon of shea butter or petroleum jelly into the bowl
  4. Have the next teen break crayons into the bowl and add a couple of drops of essential oil.
  5. Melting time:
    1. If you are doing this as a drop in, the staff can stand at the front of the table with the double boiler and allow one teen to stir the ingredients until melted.
    2. If you are doing a group of teens, you can pre-boil water and place it on a table cloth in the middle of each table of teens.  Have one teen put the bowl with ingredients on top of the boiling water and the teens can take turns mixing.  Just be sure to remind them A LOT that that bowls are hot and to not touch them with out an oven mitt.
  6. We transferred the melted ingredients into a Pyrex measuring glass for easy pouring.
  7. I’d recommend a staff member to the pouring.
    1. Have teens place a funnel in their tubes and pour the ingredients.
  8. Have teens set their tubes in the middle to dry.
  9. While it is drying, teens can clean up and write their name or the type of lip balm on the label that comes with the tubes.


  • This program is very quick and only took about 10 minutes.  To provide a longer program, you can have teens make several different types of beauty products.
    • You could create a career readiness program and have teen create a beauty company and a logo.  You can have teens work in groups and “pitch” their product to the group.
    • You could use the M in STEAM and have teens make their lip balm company into a business.  They could figure out profit/cost. You could teach Google Slides or Power Point and have teens create their presentation on slides to present to the group.
  • Out of 17 teens, none were boys.  Boys were not interested in making lip balm even though they use it.  I tried to encourage them to make it by telling them to give it to their mom or girlfriend-nothing worked.
  • The tubes are professional looking but they aren’t cute.  I prefer these containers because you can add glitter and you can actually see the lip balm. It’s also cheaper.


DIY Sugar Body Scrub

Budget: $45/16 teens-depending on the supplies you already have

Age: 10+

Supplies Needed:


  1. Important: The mixture should be 75% sugar and 25% oil.  This is important depending on your container size.
  2. Mix sugar and oil in a bowl or the container if the opening is big enough.
  3. Add a couple of drops of essential oil.
  4. Add dye until you get the desired color.


  • This project only takes about 10 minutes.  If you want to stretch this to a longer program:
    • Teens can make labels.
    • You can provide a plethora of oils, extracts, fruit zests, body glitter, etc for teens to make their own recipe.
    • Teens can make several scrubs for holiday gifts.
  • Out of 27 teens, 8 boys participated.  For some reason, boys wanted to make body scrub to give away to their mothers.

Our makerspace does daily drop in programs for the after school crowd and a longer traditional program for teens who come to the library specifically for the program.  We did these three projects over a course of three days in a week.

As you can see, these activities were very popular among our teens by the attendance we received. I think beauty science is similar to slime because they mixed different ingredients and made one cool thing. They are so proud of themselves for making something and we ask if they use the items they make in the programs and they do!

To make a long story short, we will be hosting beauty science again.

Posted in Makerspace

Pencil Lead Pacman Control

So you have a couple of Makey Makey’s but you aren’t sure how to engage teens.  I’m faced with this every time I go to my storage closet and see a bin of 20 Makes Makey’s that I’ve used twice in two years.

We know that our teens like video games and we’ve discovered that our teens like to compete so we decided to have teens design their own game controller to compete in a Pacman competition.


Budget: $0-$250 (If you already have Makey Makey’s, it won’t cost you anything.)

Age: 7+

Supplies Needed:

How To:

  1. Set out Computers/Chromebooks and attach the Makey Makey, four alligator clips to the arrow inputs on the Makey Makey, and one alligator clip to the earth input.
  2. Cut white copy paper into quarters and have teens draw and shade in their own shapes on the paper.  It must extend to the end of the paper. See above picture for an example.
  3. Attach the arrow alligator clips to the pencil drawings and hold the tip of the earth alligator clip.
  4. Start the game and have teens touch their pencil lead controller buttons to play Pacman.
  5. Make sure you are using a Pacman game that keeps score.
  6. Document every time a teen achieves a high score and the teen with the highest score at the end of the day, wins.  We gave out a big bag of chips.


  • If the controller isn’t working, make sure the lead buttons are shaded in completely.  Also make sure the lead that is touching the alligator clip on the edge of the paper are thick lines.
  • Make sure teens are holding the tip of the earth alligator clip.
  • When teens play for a long time, sometimes it stops working.  This is because they have pencil lead residue on their fingers.  Have teens use hand sanitizer to clean their hands of lead.

Bonus Round: Geometry Dash

We have a big screen TV in our makerspace and we attached a Chromebook to the TV to have our teens compete in a Geometry Dash competition.

How To:

  1. Screen mirror your computer/Chromebook to your TV screen.  If you don’t have a large TV, just use the computer.
  2. Hook up the Makey Makey to your computer/Chromebook.
  3. Find a Geometry Dash game that works with the spacebar only.
  4. On the Makey Makey, attach one alligator clip to the space bar input and one alligator clip to the earth input.
  5. Have one teen hold the tip of the earth alligator clip and one teen hold the tip of the space bar alligator clip.
  6. Teens should clap to make the square jump.

How Does This Work?  Our bodies are conductive