Tag Archives: outdoor programs

Rainworks: Dragon Footprints!

Many libraries are still closed across the country due to COVID. We have just opened our doors to allow limited browsing opportunities, but, as is the case in most parts of the country, in-person programming is a thing of the distant future. I’m thrilled to highlight a tool that might be perfect for engaging your patrons outdoors: Rainworks!

This post is not sponsored–I just really appreciate this product. The easiest explanation:

  1. Create or purchase a stencil.
  2. Find a surface likely to get wet when it rains.
  3. Secure your stencil to the surface while it is dry.
  4. Spray your surface, following their directions.
  5. Wait 24 hours, dump water on the area you sprayed the day before and BOOM:

Make sure to follow their directions, spray lightly, and thoroughly cover the surrounding potential “overspray” areas. I had a lot going on while I was installing these, so I was more impatient than I should have been, and you can see some of my overspray spots (though, really, I don’t think it hurts the affect).

We’ve only had these installed for about two weeks, but they can last for up to three months! When the ground is dry, you can’t see any difference, but whenever the ground gets wet, your Rainworks shapes appear.

Rainworks Expenses

Nothing is free, however, with limited in-library offerings, I can see a lot of potential for this product over the coming months, especially as things get wet and rainy as we enter winter. Our chosen stencils were connected to our visiting dragon (more on that below), but some creative librarian types could make obstacle courses, hopscotch boards, book recommendations, and more.

The biggest (and required) expense is the spray. I definitely over-sprayed in places, but with about half of a 16 oz. bottle, I created nine 2 foot dragon footprints and three words on our steps. That bottle costs about $130.

Your other potential expense is your own stencils. Rainworks provides an extensive explanation on how to make your own stencils that, for a crafty librarian, might be easy enough to do:

However, time isn’t always on our side, so I took a look at the premade Rainworks stencils in their shop, available for purchase. There aren’t too many options, but they range from about $7-10 each.

Options are limited, however, so I decided to test my luck on a limited budget and ask about pricing for custom stencils. I was so happy with the pricing–all three words for “Kindness is Magic” were a combined $30 and the dragon footprint was just $18 (think about how long it would take you to make stencils by hand and how much you get paid by the hour, and this may really work out in your favor).

Back Up. Why Do You Have a Dragon on the Roof?

Hilda, our 30-foot roaring and smoke breathing dragon, is part of our annual Wizards & Wands Festival event. While I haven’t been too involved in Hilda’s creation or execution, I did chair this event in 2018-2019, creating something pretty cool. Last year, we had 3,000 people over four hours explore our library for one magical evening:

The 2020 Festival was supposed to be my last attempt at shaping this event, with my co-blogger Michala taking over in 2021. For pandemic reasons, there was no event this year. Assuming pandemic resolutions, I’m going to give this one last run in 2021 while relying much more heavily on Michala than I might have in 2020, especially with some exciting plans to keep the magic but move away from all things Harry Potter.

So instead of 3,000 visitors and a ton of magic, we have some footrprints and the return of a dragon whose roars echo through our quiet post-pandemic children’s space. Though that is still pretty cool, right?