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.
Spikes-$8.44-VERY POPULAR especially for boys. It’s a small bag so you might need several.
Mirror Mosaic Tiles $14-Also very popular
Hot Glue & E6000 Glue
Skull & Ball Caps
Passive or Art Program
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.
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.
- 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.