Tag Archives: crafts

Make & Take Crafternoon

A few times a year, I offer a Make & Take Crafternoon program for our patrons. While this is designed for ages 6+ (some crafts with small pieces are included), this is a family event with a variety of crafting opportunities. This is also a great chance for us to clean out old supplies that have been sitting in our cabients.

While this isn’t my best attended event, it is simpler than most, involving a few stations and teen volunteer help.

At this month’s crafternoon, my activities included:

  • Button Makers (2.25″ and 1″)
  • 3Doodlers
  • Perler Beads
  • Random Craft Corner

Visitors could move between any of the stations as they liked over the 1 hour and 15 minute program. Anything they made they got to keep.

Make & Take Buttons

While our button makers are normally quite popular, they didn’t receive much use during this program. One teen volunteer managed both our 1″ and 2.25″ button makers, both from American Button Machines.

These machines have definitely been worth their relatively high cost. We use the machines as a creation station in programs, and we use the buttons we make as incentives to stop by the library during the summer, prizes for passive activities, and giveaways at large events.

I have a ton of templates with cute button images as well as blank templates that allow kids to design their own buttons. I also put out magazines for kids to find their own images in, but these have not been very popular at my last few programs.

3Doodlers

Our 3Doodlers didn’t get too much use at this event. Typically, they are the star of the show. These amazing pens print a warm plastic that can be molded into any shape before it hardens. While it isn’t recommended you draw on your skin, the pen tip and plastic are never hot enough to burn you. They are great for practicing dexterity and patience for elementary school students, and older kids can make some pretty amazing creations.

Perler Beads

Perler Beads were the most popular activity this week! I was surprised to see the interest, but almost every attendee made at least one Perler Bead creation, with many being quite elaborate, and some involving over 200 beads!

We had an adult volunteer manage the iron. Attendees were welcome to copy templates out of beadcraft books, off of internet images, or to make whatever they could imagine.

Random Make & Take Craft Corner

I always like putting out random craft supplies, as this gives kids the freedom to make anything they would like. While the 3Doodlers and button makers often attract attention, many kids will gravitate towards the hodgepodge of materials to make something simple (like a bracelet) or something more elaborate, like a sock puppet with two heads. We recently had a large donation of empty Pringles cans, and those were the star of the random craft materials this time.

Make & Take Crafternoon is a fun program for me–it is simple to put together with what we have on hand, promotes family engagement, and helps clear out our craft closet. A win all around!

Programming By a Thread

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I embroidered as a hobby. And occasionally I will come up with the grand idea that I will once again take up this hobby, so I buy oodles of threads and embroidery flosses in anticipation of projects that I will undoubtedly create…..except the actual creating of embroidered objects does not happen.

This means that I’ve got stacks on stacks on stacks, floss on floss on floss and is good news for all of my teens because that makes string art is an easy possibility for a program!

String art is a crazy simple program to produce, all you need is:

  • Wood
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammers
  • Embroidery floss
  • Paint is optional
  • Templates are optional as well

You can always buy wood boards off of Amazon:

Or you can be like me and run to your favorite tool supply store, buy some wood planks and ask them to cut them to your desired lengths for a small fee. After all, you might already need to go there to pick up hammers and finishing nails and why not make it one trip. (Pro-tip: Home Depot and Lowes make the first two cuts for free on each board)

Overall teens are pretty good about waiting for their turn and sharing hammers, but you will need several hammers on hand. You can probably beg, borrow, or steal some from co-workers if you do not have a small cache of them. I currently have 8 hammers in my supply, but after the popularity of my last program for string art I will need to purchase a few more to cut down on the wait times between each teen needing them.

I like to supply some simple templates of patterns as well as blank paper and pencils for those that want to be unique and create their own designs. There are a bunch of templates all over Pinterest, but I have found that designs turn out best when you have nails spaced 1-3 inches apart, depending on the shape. That also means that you can never have enough finishing nails on hand. Whatever number you think each piece will take, double it and make sure you have at least 1 emergency pack squirreled away for use when you run out at the end of the program with a couple of teens still creating things.

I begin String Art by explaining what tools and supplies everyone will have access to and go over basic safety rules for using hammers and nails for everyone. A small stack of planks and a bowl of nails is placed in the center of each table grouping and 4-6 teens can easily sit at station with enough room for their projects.I put paints, tape, and template supplies at a table near the front of the room so everyone can have access to them and distribute hammers to the tables after the general rules and safety talk.

The entire program runs at the pace of the teen creators. Some will be faster than others, some will make more in depth pieces, some will focus painting the board and mapping out their outline, while others will just jump right in and start hammering away like they are wielding Mjölnir. There is no right or wrong way for them to create and as you can see a lot of different creations come out of it.