Teen Craft: Celestial Lamp

10489977_10152191248496778_3538135555116919174_nAs part of our Teen Summer Reading Program, “Spark a Reaction,” I thought a craft featuring electricity would be a perfect fit! This craft is fairly simple and user friendly. Plus it will cast beautiful designs on your wall in a dark room!

Supplies:
– poster board
– Martha Stewart’s Star Punch
-hot glue + gun
– scissors
– a 2 ft strand of Christmas lights
– 1 small, round wooden box

 

 

Step 1:

If your box has a lid, detach it and throw it away. Trace around your circular box on the poster board to create the “top” of your lamp. Then wrap the poster board around your box to measure and mark the width of your lamp’s “body.”

Step 2:
Cut out the pieces you measured. Punch as many stars as you like into the poster board.

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Step 3:
Hot glue the lamp “body” to the wooden box. Drop your Christmas lights into the lamp and thread the cord out through any stars you have in the back. Then hot glue your “top” on.

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Step 4: Plug it in and enjoy!

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Children’s Craft: Memorial Day Wind Streamer

Oh, Martha Stewart. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

This photo is accredited to marthastewart.com

This photo is accredited to marthastewart.com

Our May Memorial Day craft comes to you courtesy of Martha Stewart’s webpage, where detailed directions on how to make our lovely, patriotic wind streamer can be found.

Supplies:

– blue construction paper

– red and white ribbon

– white, cut-out stars

– glue sticks

– cardboard oatmeal containers

– a box cutter

You’ll need to make use of your Ellison Die machine for this one. I highly recommend pre-cutting both the stars and the ribbons to their appropriate lengths. It will also take a fair amount of time to cut the bottoms out of the oatmeal containers. Make sure you do so ahead of time to avoid pressure at the last minute.

This craft is a lot of fun and is pretty user-friendly. It also appeals to a wide age range; both our preschoolers and elementary-aged students enjoyed this one. 🙂

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How to Make A Cardboard Standee

Yes. Teens like standees too. Especially if they're zombies.

Yes. Teens like standees too. Especially if they’re zombies.

Whether it’s for book bashes, birthday parties, or other fan-based events, cardboard standees are a wonderful way to add that special “something” to your shindig. Kids of all ages – even teens – love posing and taking pictures with standees. It’s a great way to make them feel like they’re “living” the book and help the story come alive for them.

The trouble with standees is that they’re usually expensive. Especially if the series you’re fangirling/fanboying over is an extremely popular one (i.e. The Hunger Games). Such standees can easily go for $20 a pop or more, which can quickly eat through your program budget if you’re not careful.

The solution? It’s simple: make your own standee. It’s ridiculously cheap, especially if you already have the supplies on hand. Admittedly, you have to have a smidge of artistic ability in order to pull this off. Or at least have a friend with a smidge of ability who can be easily guilted into helping you. 😉

I’ve posted my tutorial on how to make cardboard standees below. I’d recommend starting simple (ex: cartoon characters) before trying anything harder. Once you’ve got the hang of it, let your imagination run wild. Plants, animals, buildings: anything’s up for grabs as long as its made of cardboard.

Supplies:

2 large pieces of cardboard (refrigerator boxes are the perfect size)

1 box cutter

1 bottle of wood glue

1 pencil

1 sharpie marker

Bottles of paint in various colors

Paint brushes in various sizes (both small and large)

Step 1: Draw your character

Since we’re had a Frozen movie party this week for Spring Break, I decided to make an Olaf standee so the kids could take pictures with him. I found a picture of Olaf on the Internet and drew him as best I could. Then I outlined him with a black sharpie marker so he was easier to see.

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Note: The decision to use sharpie or not is entirely up to you. If you’re not careful, the sharpie can bleed through your paint if you’re using lighter colors. In my case, I wanted the lines to bleed through so I could see them and re-trace them in black paint. If you’re worried about it, I’d recommend sticking with just pencil.

Step 2: Paint.

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If you’re messy like me, I highly recommend washable paints.  Also, be prepared to do multiple coats if you’re using lighter colors. I had to paint Olaf’s body four times to take him from cardboard brown to white.

Step 3: Cut out your character using a box cutter

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Go slowly while doing this, as in “so slow you might be mistaken for a turtle.” Otherwise, you may accidentally slice into your character and have to start all over. If you have small, detailed parts (like hands) leave extra space around them so that you can go back and take even more time on those sections.

Step 4: Create the back support

In order for your character to stand upright, there has to be a piece of cardboard attached to its back in perpendicular fashion. So take your second piece of cardboard and follow the directions below:

1) Cut the cardboard until it’s just a little bit shorter than your character

2) Draw a “Giant Boot Shape” on this piece of cardboard. Cut out your giant boot using the box cutter.

3) Fold the right side of your “boot” in about two inches. This will create a flat surface for adhering it to your standee.

2nd cardboard piece

2nd cardboard piece

Giant boot shape

Giant boot shape

Finished product (with folded right side)

Finished product (with folded right side)

Step 5: Attach the back support

Trace the outline of the 2 inch, flat section of your support piece onto the back of your character. Make sure that you’ve centered the support in the middle of your character’s body. After you’re done tracing, fill in what you’ve drawn with wood glue. Then apply the 2 inch section of the support to the glue and press down firmly. Weigh it down with several heavy objects and let it sit overnight.

Adding wood glue to the tracing

Adding wood glue to the tracing

Press firmly

Pressing firmly

Weigh down 2-inch section with heavy objects.

Weighing down 2-inch section with heavy objects.

Step 6: Strike a pose!

 

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I hope this tutorial has been helpful. Let me know if you have any questions!

❤ – The Loudmouth

Children’s Craft: March Flower Pot

DSC01611Spring has sprung! Or, at least it will have by the end of the month. Which means it’s time for our annual spring-themed craft!

Supplies:

-terra cotta pots

-paint

-brushes

-potting soil

-seeds

We provided the kids with paint and brushes and let them decorate the pots however they wanted. Then we filled the pots with dirt and let the kids plant the flower or herb of their choice!

This was a very well attended craft. We had twenty kiddos show up! In the future, I think I’d like to incorporate a spring story time with this craft. Otherwise, it was a tremendous success. I’m looking forward to doing this one again. 🙂

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Swirly Paperclip Bracelet Craft

Fun fact about yours truly: I am not a crafty person.

In fact, throughout much of my life, I’ve pretty much equated anything “crafty” with Dante’s 9th circle. Friendship bracelets were fiendish. Decoupage was the devil. Sewing was satanic.

Because of my lack of skill, I developed a fear of all things crafty. I was deeply intimidated by anything artistic and avoided any such activities.

Then my great grandmother, the crafting queen, passed away unexpectedly. And, in an effort to honor her memory, I took a deep breath and gave crafting a second chance.

Since then, I’ve come to enjoy crafting – however feeble my attempts. Like yoga, I feel as though it’s more about the process than any perceived perfection. Still, I like to do a good job whenever I work on something – especially when that something involves my teenagers, who are both crafting junkies and gurus.

So imagine my relief when I stumbled upon instructables.com. If you haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it. From furniture made out of shipping pallets to robots and jewelry making, instructables features step-by-step guides on how to make anything you could imagine.

I recently stumbled upon a craft there I absolutely loved: a bracelet made of paperclips. Yes. Paperclips. I was skeptical at first, but decided to give it a go.  So I grabbed my needle nose pliers, some jump rings, and a clasp.  And I have to say, for an uncrafty person, I think I did a pretty good job.

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Better yet: my teens and tweens are super excited about this craft. I’ve been using my bracelet as a marketing tool and a hook to draw them in.

Me: (displaying my bracelet-clad wrist) So how’d you like to learn how to make this? It’s made from paperclips.

Teen: Seriously?!?

Me: Seriously.

Teen: That is so cool!

Moral of the story: crafts aren’t so bad after all – especially when they help you connect with your patrons. 🙂

Children’s Craft: February Friendship Bracelets

I love romance. I really do. But when February rolls around each year with its obligatory infusion of pink hearts, red roses, and candy, I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by all the Valentine’s Day commercialization. I get particularly distressed when little ones get caught up in this swirl of chocolates and paper hearts, largely because I think it’s sad to, in essence, tell children their lives are empty if they don’t have a “valentine.”

So as an alternative to doing a Valentine’s Day themed-craft, I decided to focus on friendship. After all, February is International Friendship Month – a fact that is often overlooked. So I decided to go old-school and teach my kiddos how to make friendship bracelets: the kind I learned how to make in summer camp back when I was their age.

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You can find friendship bracelet making tips anywhere on the web. However, due to the hand-eye coordination required, I’d recommend this as a craft for 8-12 year olds.

To accommodate our preschoolers, we also set up a “Friendship Frootloop Bracelet” Station. That way, they could make bracelets too and not feel frustrated by the more difficult craft. 🙂

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Finally, because kids do love sweets and associate them with Valentine’s Day, we let our kiddos decorate “friendship cookies” and subsequently gobble them up!

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We had a tremendous amount of fun – even without the valentines. 🙂 I’m greatly looking forward to repeating and expanding this craft next year.