Slinky Painting

Today we hosted a really fun art program – slinky painting. Teens used slinkys instead of paint brushes to make some very interesting pieces. They experimented with lots of different techniques to achieve a variety of aesthetics: rolling the slinky on its side, flinging the slinky on the canvas, dragging the slinky around the canvas. It was a blast! Since we hosted the program outside the front entrance, a lot of people gathered around to see what was going on (there were some adults who were very jealous to no longer be sixth graders). It was also a fairly inexpensive program. We already had the paint and canvases. I purchased mini-slinkys at Dollar Tree and was able to get 40 slinkys for around $20.

If you decide to host this program, remember that it is extremely messy. Definitely consider hosting it outdoors and let participants know in advance to dress for a mess. Our teens come to the library right after school and even though I provided aprons, some of their white uniform shirts got paint on them. Also, teenagers will try to fight each other with slinkys – so be ready for that.

Overall, it was an excellent program and we had around 22 attendees. We’ll definitely do this one again!

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Cozy Crafts for Winter Months

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Looking for some simple crafts for your winter teen programs? Here’s two cozy and easy fleece projects to consider:

DIY Pet Blankets 

My pup, Fancy, enjoying her DIY pet blanket.

I used this craft as the first official program that I hosted at the main branch of the library system I work for, teens could make a blanket for their own pet or one to donate our local humane society. Unfortunately, only two teens participated – so the humane society didn’t get the donations I had hoped for. However, the teens enjoyed themselves and I highly recommend this craft. I used this tutorial from Dog Milk for instructions: http://bit.ly/1MU7JYA.

Pro tip: Use actual fabric scissors. All I had available were standard office scissors and it was super-difficult to cut the fleece with those.

No-Sew Fleece Hat

Since I have tons of fleece leftover from the pet blanket program, I decided to reuse it in January to make no-sew fleece hats. These instructions from My Fabric Obsession are very easy to follow: http://bit.ly/1MUbbCx. It took me about 15 minutes to make the example below.

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Who wore it best?

 

 

How to Make a Readers’ Advisory Graphic

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A few commenters have asked how I make the RA graphics featured on this blog,  so I’m going to break it down in this post. It’s really not that hard, though it can be time-consuming. I have faith that y’all can do it!

Step 1: Pick a theme – The possibilities are limitless. You can make a genre graphic, readalike graphic, book suggestions based on other media people enjoy, etc… There are plenty of great examples out there. I think that Molly over at Wrapped Up in Books makes some wonderful graphics. Pinterest is also an excellent place to find examples. If you draw inspiration from someone else’s creation (especially if you are reworking something they’ve already done), credit them.

Step 2: Find your titles – Once you’ve picked your theme, you need to decide what titles you will feature on your graphic. You can pull from your own knowledge or use outside sources. NoveList is a great resource for finding readalikes and most libraries have a subscription to it. I will sometimes use lists from sources like Buzzfeed or Flavorwire. If you do that, make sure to credit them in your post.

Step 3: Put it all together – This is the really time-consuming part. I use Publisher because it’s easy to import and arrange images and I have access to all of my own fonts. All of the jacket images I use come from our catalog. I sometimes incorporate Microsoft’s free stock photos and Creative Commons images from Flickr. Again, make sure to credit appropriately if you use a CC image from Flickr. For fonts, I use Fontspace or dafont to find relevant fonts for my graphics. Many of their fonts are free for personal use and some are free for commercial use. Check the license before using any font. Once I have everything set up how I want it look, I group it together and then save it as an image. Occasionally I will upload it to a free, online photo editor to add extra flourishes. My favorites are: PicMonkey, iPiccy, fotor, & befunky. After adding finishing touches, I share the graphic with the world on various social media sites and this blog.

So there you have it – three steps to making an RA graphic! Go forth and create!