Fitness Friday #7 DIY Spa Day

This was our last major program teen program for the summer. I figured addressing cleanliness as an important part of health would be a nice way to round out our “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” theme. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse for DIY at the library? 🙂

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The teens got to make three items: lip balm, lotion, and a sugar scrub (the recipes for which were all found on Pinterest). I set up three stations, each with electric burners, measuring cups/spoons, beakers, ingredients, and recipes so that multiple students could be mixing and making things at the same time.

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This was, aside from our Fencing Class, my most expensive program. The cost of the burners, beakers, ingredients, etc. came to approximately $250. Admittedly, many of these items are reusable and we can utilize them in other programs (science experiments, baking, etc.) But a”cheap” activity, this was not.

Nor was it easy. There were several hiccups during the program that I hadn’t anticipated.

For example: Hot beaker + plastic table cloth = gooey, awful mess. O.o

We also had more teens/tweens than we did stations, which resulted in longer-than-ideal wait times between creations.

All in all, the everyone seemed to enjoy the program and our survey reviews were positive. But this definitely isn’t a program for beginners and takes a lot of planning to successfully execute.

Total attendance: 14 teens

Verdict: While a lot of fun, it’ll be a while before we try this one again.

 

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Teen Craft: DIY Light Switch Plates

For our craft this month, I wanted to do something fun and easy: DIY Light Switch Covers. Each cover only costs $0.45. Add a $5.00 tub of mod podge, a few old magazines, and you’ve got a wonderfully affordable craft. 🙂

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Teen Craft: DIY Mugs

mug1When September 1st rolled around, I realized something terrifying: I had exactly $20 left in my Teen Budget until mid October. It wasn’t entirely unexpected. My annual budget is miniscule. Still, $20 is awfully tiny – especially when you’ve got a Teen Craft to host.

So I did some surfing on Pinterest and discovered DIY Mugs, specifically Sharpie mugs in a variety of colors and designs.

I do NOT recommend using regular sharpies (see below for more details), but this craft IS cheap, user-friendly, and lots of fun.

Supplies:

  • cheap, white mugs
  • ceramic paints OR oil-based paint markers
  • paintbrushes
  • bowls of water
  • hair dryer
  • tape / stencils / sponges / misc design materials

Step 1: Decoratemug7

If you plan on drinking from your mug, place a piece of tape around the top (or just avoid painting the top). Otherwise, you’ll be ingesting chemicals that could be toxic. Also, you MUST use ceramic paints OR oil based markers to create your design.

I made the mistake of using regular Sharpies on my example mug. Despite following the directions I found in various Pinterest tutorials, all my artwork washed off instantly the first time I cleaned it. Guess I should’ve remembered the old saying that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

So make sure you learn from my mistake: only use oil-based Sharpies/markers or ceramic paint.

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Step 2: Bake Your Mug

Put your mug in the oven. Set it to 360 degrees. DO NOT PREHEAT THE OVEN. Otherwise, your mug will crack. Set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer rings, turn off your oven but LEAVE THE MUG INSIDE. Wait until the oven is completely cool before taking your mug out.

Pro Tip: Be patient. It takes at least an hour to cool.

 

Step 3: Seal Your Mug (optional)

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Some crafters online have done just fine by following the directions above. They’ve microwaved, scrubbed, and drank from their mugs and the colors are still vibrant. Others, however, have complained that their mugs designs fade over time.

The best way to prevent this is to spray your mug with an acrylic sealer. I used ModPodge’s Matte Acrylic Spray.

IMPORTANT: acrylic sealers are not food safe. Make sure you only spray on your design – not where your lips will be!

All of our craft supplies were purchased at at Michael’s. I was able to get both the paint and the mugs for $20! Bonus: this craft is fun for kids of all ages – not just the teens. I highly recommend this craft! We can’t wait to do it again.

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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

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. 🙂