Thursday, March 12, 2009

Express Yourself: DIY Shrinky Dinks

These are the coolest things ever!
Honestly, I could not write up better instructions than this person, Paper Tart's Shrinky Dinks, so just visit their site.

The supplies are simple

Recycled #6 plastic (ask your local deli manager to donate some and ask your co-workers to recycle with you)
Scissors and a Heat Gun

To put it simply, you draw a cool image on the plastic with the sharpie and cut around it. (Keep in mind, it shrinks to about 1/3 the size.) Cut a small hole in it if you plan on using it for a necklace or keychain. Heat it with the heat gun on a heat resistant surface (I use an old cutting board). Because the heat gun blows, you can hold the plastic still with pliers. (Don't worry when it balls up, just keep heating it.)

Express Yourself: Steal These Ideas!

Packing Tape Wallets
What makes these really cool is that you can use anything under clear packing tape! Popular items are foreign newspapers, maps, graphic novels, sheet music.

All of the instructions are right here in the pdf file. Just right click the file to save it.

Altered Mint Tins
I always saved my mint tins, hoping I could find what they were good for. I finally found it!

The collage paper will stick to the tins wonderfully if you apply the glue to the paper and stick it to tin. I use Mod Podge as a glue and sealer.

Secret Book Boxes

Using book glue, paint the outside edges of the book. Use a Xacto knife or box cutter to cut out the middle of the book. Coat the inside of the 'box' with the book glue.

Locker Magnets

Key Tag Choker
I actualy "stole" this idea from Dragon*Con. (They gave those following the YA Lit trac these necklaces)

Express Yourself: Bottle Cap Pins

I have used and re-used this craft program at my library. It is always a huge success, even with teen guys!

Bottle Caps rinsed with water and dried (ask your co-workers to help you collect some)

although having an assortment of different brands is cool, if it may be an issue at your library that some caps are from beer, you can lay them out and hit the backs with a quick coat of spraypaint.
Pin Backs

Industrial strength glue

Mod Podge

Collage Items (colored paper, magazines...)

Save some fun clip art or slogans on to your computer as jpeg files. Print them out using the thumbnail setting. This will make them small enough to fit into the bottle cap. They can also cut small pictures out of magazines.
Brush the Mod Podge on to the paper and place inside the bottle cap. You may also want to brush a layer of glue over the intire image for protection.
Using the industrial strength glue, glue a pin on the back.

Express Yourself: Graphic Stationary

The Envelope:

Find a small-ish sized envelope and carefully open it up. This is your template.

Recycle a page from a weeded graphic novel. Be sure it is large enough to fit the template. Trace the template on to the sheet and carefully cut out.

Using the template as a guide, fold the sheet into an envelope.

Use a glue stick on the side edges of the bottom flap and let dry.

The Card:

Cut a peice of paper or card stock to fit the envelope. (Trace around the envelope and then cut it just a bit smaller)
Find a cool cell from a page out of a weeded graphic novel. (It can be from the same one you used for the envelope or not... the choice is yours.)
Glue it on your card.
Use white out on the inside of the speech bubble.
When dry, write in your own message.

Express Yourself: A Novel Idea! Paperback Wallets

Covers from weeded paperbacks (these can be popular, well loved YA books weeded from your collection or retro donated copies of classics and pulps)

Contact paper


Needle and thread (optional: if you choose to use this, you will want upholstry thread and a strong sturdy needle)

1. Cover both sides of the Novel Cover with contact paper.
2. Fold the wallet into thirds to create the wallet shape.
3. Either sew the sides with needle and thread or use a small strip of contact paper to hold the pocket together.
4. Attach the velcro to make a closure for the wallet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Express Yourself: Altered Book Club

How To Have An Altered Book Club In 5 Easy Steps

1.Start going through your library's donation box and gather up a bunch of books. Think about what would make a cool altered book. I like books that inspire a cool theme for the project. I selected a book of etiquette for my project.

2.Make a cool flyer to promote your program using torn book pages. Tell the teens you will have old books for them to use but they can bring their own book if they have one they want to use.

3.Start collecting odds and ends for "altering" your books. Checking the lost and found is a good place to start. You never know what you'll find... old photographs, bookmarks, newspaper clippings, etc. You can also go through the youth services craft closet and gather neat sheets of paper in different colors and textures that they have left over from other projects. Keep old weeded magazines and graphic novels for collage purposes. You might want to add bits of string and ribbon, broken jewelry, fake flowers and other odds and ends. You'll be amazed at the things you'll find to use. You can find great things at the craft store, but spending money on collage materials is never neccessary.

Another great resource is to print out public domain images or clip art.
Check out: for vintage labels and photographs great free collage image resources

Keep everything in a bin with file folders so that the teens have all kinds of inspiration in one spot.
You will need some other supplies like:
scissors (if you have fancy edge scissors, those can be fun to use.)
glue sticks (you'll need A LOT!)
Mod Podge glue (for attaching things that are heavy or have dimension.)
white out, markers, hole punch, paint and other basic craft supplies.

4.The first meeting should focus on the basics. When the teens arrive they should choose their book. They first step will be to teach them how to tear pages out and glue pages together. This is important because they book will need about 1/3 of the pages removed in order to close properly and by gluing the pages together you give a sturdy place for your work and make the book a bit stronger as well.
Then just have fun! Let their imaginations run wild! Collage and paint the pages.

Have books available for them to look through for inspiration. My favorites are:

Incourage the kids to start a collection of collage items they would like to add to their book. They can cut out images from magazines and bring in small items that mean something to them to add to their book at the next meeting. Be sure to talk up the "project" you'll be leading them in next time.

5.At the following meetings, all you will need to do is teach yourself a technique from one of the books such as the ones mentioned above. Don't worry! Many of the techniques are very easy. You can find lots of beginner level techniques and move up with confidence as you have more meetings.
You can make a page pocket by folding the paper, making holes with a hole punch and sewing!

Another great idea is hole punching the edges of several pages and using fabric scraps to tie them together. It makes the book look cool from the out side as well.

The most important thing is to practice before you get in front of the teens. You'll want to give them tips and tricks and work out the kinks before they are staring right at you. Be sure to gather all the supplies you will need! After they complete the mission they can have time to work on whatever their heart desires! I would encourge them to take a few items home with them for working on their book between meetings. It might be nice to start the third meeting off with everyone sharing what they have done so far. Be sure to keep a supply of books for new teens to use! You may also want to check with local craft stores to see if any Altered Book Groups meet and would like to teach a lesson to the teens. I found a great woman from PANOPOLIE come and show our teens how to do several different techniques. She even brought supplies! It was nice to have someone else lead the group and it gave me a chance to participate with the teens. She tought us some cool stuff!

There you have it! 5 easy steps to a great reoccuring teen craft program!