If you are looking for cheap ideas, the mask in the picture can be printed on cardstock. There are other masks to choose from if you do a Google image search. You can also purchase masks for teens to color.
I will print the linked masks and blank masks for teens to make their own designs. You can use puffy paint and markers to add dimension.
How to Add Chibis
I put the chibi on the front of the mask because it shines the brightest. Please refer to the picture for directions. Make sure the positive side of the copper tape touches the positive side of the battery and the same for the negative side. If your chibi blinks or goes out, make sure your battery is taped down tightly.
Teens like to personalize their stuff so why not turn it into a design workshop.
For Bling Week, teens designed skull caps, ball caps, and cell phone cases. They used gems, decals, and letters. Bling week lasted for three days and attracted 62 middle school and high school students.
If you have gems and letters invading your craft closet, by all means use them to cut costs. I purchased hats but you can always ask teens to bring their own if you need to cut costs.
I put out examples for inspiration and on a different table, I put out all the supplies. I printed out a coloring page of the hats and asked teens to peruse the supply table and design their hat. I had three different stations including the pom pom making table, the felt flower making table, and the bling table (glue table).
I was by myself and this was a drop in passive program that lasted for five hours so I needed to provide instructions quickly and often. So, I put the instructions on the inside of a paper plate. I handed the teens a plate, the coloring sheet, and a pencil and told them that instructions were on the plate and to use it to carry their supplies from the supply table, their pom poms, and their felt flowers.
Career Readiness Program
Design is how this passive craft activity becomes a career readiness program. If you are hosting this as a career readiness program, you can discuss design/fashion careers including types of careers; education needed; and salary potential.
Branding-Teens can work in groups and create a company. They can then design a company logo and brand themselves by designing a hat using the supplies provided.
If you have a vinyl cutting machine (Silhouette or Cricut) teens can actually design a logo on a computer, print it out on fabric, and glue it to their hat.
Or, you can use your cutter to make a vinyl stencil then use fabric paint to complete the hat.
Designing the logo
Making it vinyl
To amp it up even more…
BEGINNER-Teens can sew EL Wire into the baseball caps. You can find cheaper EL Wire but the shorter the wire the better because a ball cap doesn’t use a lot of wire and you will have excess. There will be soldering required if you want to cut the wire so if you don’t want that hassle, try to find the shortest EL Wire.
INTERMEDIATE-Teens can use LED sequins, a sewable battery pack, and a coin cell battery to easily sew LEDs into a skull cap. Here’s a post where I used sequins on a shirt but it works the same on a hat. For an even easier activity, I used an LED to sew into the pom pom and you can see that post here. Or watch the Adafruit Youtube video that I watched.
ADVANCED-Teens can use a Gemma (LED arduino) to sew into the skull cap and then use the software to code it.
Coding the Gemma
BEGINNER-Teens can design their first initial or a small word, 3D print it, and sew it to the ball cap. You’ll have to design small loops on both sides of the print so that you can sew it to the hat.
INTERMEDIATE-If you have the budget, check to see if your 3D printer offers an extruder that will print flexible filament. If so, you can print longer words that can bend around your ball cap.
Cell Phone Cases
We did two activities; teens could bedazzle their cases or make a case with hot glue.
The supplies I used for the bedazzling table were the same supplies I used for the hats.
I learned how to make a case out of hot glue from this Youtube video. TIP: tape does not work on parchment paper; use a glue stick. Once again, I was by myself and this was a drop in passive program so I had instructions on the table. I always to a step by step instruction sheet using pictures. To make this sheet, when I practice the craft, I take pictures as I go then I put all my pics with minimal text on one sheet. THIS IS HAS BEEN LIFE CHANGING! It frees you up to help, socialize, and take pictures of the teens and it teaches teens how to follow instructions. You’ll be surprised how teens do not know how to do this life skill.
The glitter case was really cool but I couldn’t see myself doing this as a drop in because it requires glitter with 25 teens but if you can do it, I say go for it.
WINTER IS COMING so nows the time to do winter craft programs.
In October, we are hosting a week of bling where teens will decorate ball caps, skull caps, and will make a cell phone case. I’ll post that in mid-October but I decided to do a separate post on our skull cap crafts.
Skull Caps (If they are too expensive, you can try the Dollar Store or have teens bring their own.)
Sewing needles (Get small needles so that they can fit through the battery pack)
We’ve noticed that our teens do not understand the concept of reading directions. So we now put paper instructions for most of our craft programs. Paper instructions are also helpful when you expect a lot of teens but only have one or two staff. TIP-Use more pictures and less text for your instruction sheet. As you are practicing the craft, take pictures of each step including the supplies you are using for that step. Put your pics together to make a step-by-step instruction sheet.
Here are my step-by-step instructions:
LED in Puff Ball
Push the LED through the puff and into the hat. Always test the LED to see if lights up.
Turn the hat inside out and fold back the prongs into a curl. Be sure to remember which prong is the + side. Curl it differently or mark it with a Sharpie.
Using the conductive thread, sew the positive side of the battery holder to the positive prong. Sew about three loops around the holder and the prong to make it tight. Make sure your stitches are small, otherwise, your LED may not light. Cut the thread and repeat on the negative side.
Insert the battery and your all done.
You may want to sew or glue the puff ball to the hat to secure it even more.
If your LED doesn’t work, change to battery, check your stitching, or make sure the threads you cut don’t touch.
Flowers on the Hat
The final step is missing, sorry. Simply wrap the felt and glue the ends.
Glue gems in a desired shape. Pom poms could also be used to decorate your hat.
The glue in the picture takes about 15 minutes to dry. You can use hot glue if you’re in a time crunch.
Terrariums are a great, albeit expensive, way to introduce the S in STEAM and fairy gardens are a great way to introduce a new A in STEAM.
Disclaimer: Both programs were created a facilitated by my co-worker, Elise
Terrariums-garden science is actually quite popular among a specific group of teens. These teens like planting and if you are unable to create a garden at your library, terrariums can be an alternative.
Each layer in a terrarium has a purpose and this is where you can incorporate science.
Pebbles (These are only 2 pounds so purchase accordingly)
Craft sticks or other random craft supplies from your closet. (small plastic flowers, sea shells, fake leaves, butterflies)
How To: We put the house and the base on the main table and we laid out all the extras on a different table. We gave each teen a plate to “shop” all the extras-grab what they liked to add to their garden.
Tip: Leave out pictures for inspiration and provide a couple of minutes for teens to design their garden on paper. If you want to turn this into a design class, you can teach the basics of city planning.
Sewing needle (Make sure is small enough to fit in the eye of the battery holder and LED sequins)
Test your LED sequins first with alligator clips.
As you can see from the picture, I used the pocket of the t-shirt. If you are working with novices, I’d recommend you not use the pocket because it got a bit tricky avoiding sewing the pocket shut.
Have teens design a picture on paper to plan where they are going to place the LED.
Keep in mind that one side of the LED must connect to the positive side of the battery holder and the negative to the other side. This means two different tracks. I found using one sequins is best for novices.
TIP-It’s best to draw a picture that has a mirror image and then place the sequins in the middle.
Have teens lightly pencil draw their picture on the t-shirt. This is to keep their sewing straight. Remember to hold a place for the sequins.
Thread your needle. Don’t double thread like you do traditional sewing thread. It will be too thick. In other words, don’t pull your thread through the eye of the needle to create two strands of thread like traditional threading.
On the under side of the t-shirt, secure one side of the batter holder by looping through three times.
Sew your track to your sequins.
IMPORTANT!!! Make sure the positive side of the sequins faces the positive side of the battery holder.
Begin a new line of thread for the other side of the battery holder and repeat.
Insert the battery and cross your fingers that it works.
If your LED doesn’t work:
Make sure you have a good battery.
Be sure your threads don’t touch. This is usually the problem.
Make sure your sequins +/- lines up with the battery.
Being a programming librarian basically means that we have to always be ready for the next trend. Last summer it was Pokemon Go and this summer it has been fidget spinners. How can libraries capitalize on the fidget spinner craze before they go out of style? 3D print them.
Disclaimer: this program was created a facilitated by my co-worker Elise and I was a mere helper.
Elise began by determining the dimensions of the center ring (where the ball bearing sits). We have a Lulzbot Mini and we use Cura to print. The center ring dimensions are: 24.5×24.5×8 (circumference-24.5 and height-8).
If you are using a different printer, you can use the dimensions of the ball bearing you purchase and go from there. We ran into issues with this method because Cura changed the dimensions when it printed. We don’t know why and poor Elise had to print about 8 rings until she found the correct dimensions.
Soak your ball bearings in rubbing alcohol to clean them. A clean bearing spins better.
Before the class began, the teens were told that their spinners would not be printed by the end of program. We had teens write down their address and they were told that their spinners would be mailed to them the following week. This eliminates the highly likelihood of them coming into the library every hour asking for updates.
We use Tinkercad to teach the basics of 3D printing design. All attendees who have never 3D printed had to take six basic lessons on Tinkercad.
Next, we had teens begin with the ring shape and had them change the dimensions to 24.5×24.5×8.
Teens were then instructed to design around the center ring.
Tips: Everything must be the same height and touching.
We were able to print two spinners during the program. Teens used a hammer to secure their bearing.
We informed teens to apply grease to get a longer spin.
Using conductive paint to paint large squares on the foam board to make keys. The touch board allows for 12 sounds/notes. As you see in the picture, we made big squares so we used two boards.
Using copper tape or conductive paint (I prefer tape b/c it isn’t as finicky as paint), connect your squares/keys to the other side of the board. In the picture above, you can see the lines leading from the squares to the edge of the other side of the board. You can use tape instead of paint for the lines.
Follow the instructions in the packaging to add sounds to the touch board. It’s very easy. We used zapsplat.com to get free sound effects/notes.
Put the touch board directly on the board and use tape to adhere it better. I found it easier to use copper tape to attach the touch board to the foam board. The picture below shows the tape on top of the touch board.
You can make other instruments the same way just download different notes.
You can also put the piano on the floor and let patrons step on it in their socks.
If you can only afford one touch board, you can use the the same touch board for different instruments b/c the board provides 12 sounds. Simply put all the instruments on the same board or tape several boards together. You can draw lines with paint or tapes to the touch board. See all my lines with the picture below. (This is our interactive mural. Click here to see the video.
To make art/comic:
Ask the teens to draw something that has a lot of sound. We used an example of beach scene or a house.
The touch board holds twelve sounds. If you have one board/teen that’s great but if you only have one board for multiple teens, divide the sounds among them. For example, we had six teens and three touch boards so each teen could have an art piece that could have six sounds.
Have the teens decide what sounds they are going to incorporate before they begin drawing.
Have teens draw their picture and draw their circuit lines. The lines should extend to the border of the paper.
Use conductive paint or copper tape to cover their hand drawn circuit lines. We used conductive paint. The advantage to copper tape is no drying time and it’s less finicky.
Use alligator clips the attach conductive lines to the touch board. This way, more teens can use the same board.
If the video below, you can see that we made interactive art on our wall. If you have a teen room and can paint on the wall, go for it.
Our teens love food programs and yours probably do too. For the smoothie smash, we didn’t just follow a recipe, teens created their own recipes thus learning how to properly make a smoothie.
Budget: $35 (Frozen fruit, fresh bananas, milk, yogurt, orange juice, coconut flakes, and flavorings.) We borrowed blenders from staff
Teens sat in groups of two to four and each group received a blender.
They saw a very short slide show on the smoothie making process and how to use a blender.
To make sure they were paying attention, they played a Kahoot game. Kahoot is an online trivia platform where you can create the questions and the teens use the smart devices to log in and play. ALL of our teens LOVE Kahoot and it’s free. If you haven’t used it and you do lots of trivia games, I HIGHLY recommend it.
They were given a recipe for practice and they were given tips as they made it.
They tasted their smoothie and they were asked to evaluate and adjust by adding fruit.
They were then allowed to go to the ingredients table to make their own recipe. They were given recipe cards and had to record the exact measurements-1 cup of yogurt, etc.
They blended their recipe and tweaked it. Once they were satisfied, they wrote a fresh recipe card and named their smoothie.
They poured enough for the entire group to taste test and we then voted.
The winning group received a water infuser cup. All teens received a page of smoothie recipes.
They really enjoyed the program of our course they provided more food program ideas like a soup competition.