Everything You Need to Know About Duct Tape Crafts

everything you need to know about duct tape crafts

I’ve talked before about my love for pre-bundled craft supplies and passive programs with my blog post about Maker Kits. Today I’m going to talk a bit more in-depth about duct tape crafts.

Duct Tape Maker Kit SuppliesMaterials:

  • Scissors (safety scissors with rounded edges are okay but safety scissors will not be strong enough to cut the tape–tape can be torn but younger kids will not have the hand strength)
  • Rulers
  • Duct Tape
  • Index cards (other cardstock or heavy paper works too)
  • Laminated Instruction Sheets
  • Demo Items

The Duct Tape Maker Kit is stocked with a variety of duct tape, scissors, and rulers. The reason the kits can be self-directed are the laminated instruction sheets.

After looking around online I found project instructions from Duct Tape and Instructables. I adapted the instructions to fit my needs, reformatted them, and then printed them out. I used my library’s laminator to laminate each sheet. Because I wanted laminated sheets, I kept instructions to one sheet of paper (one or two sided) for easy printing and laminating. I round out the kit with demonstration items I made myself while testing the projects.

Projects:

The fun thing about working with duct tape is that the kids and teens really get to run with it. I give minimal instruction on basic techniques. The rest is up to the patrons attending the program and depends on how much effort they want to invest. I always appreciate a program where participants can put in as little or as much effort as they choose. Because the crafts range from very quick (index card bookmark) to more complex (duct tape wallet), I do recommend having a variety of materials and tape patterns to encourage experimentation. If you plan to offer the program for all ages you might also want to have coloring sheets or some other alternative for anyone who loses interest in duct tape crafting before the program wraps.

Tips:

  • Did you know that a lot of duct tape crafts involve wrapping duct tape around other objects? I have done programs decorating notebooks and boxes with duct tape in addition to the crafts mentioned above.
  • While duct tape can be a pricier craft supply, I’ve found several bundled rolls for a really reasonable price point online. The main obstacle is that kids need a lot of strength to roll out the duct tape and without supervision it can get tangled. I would recommend buying the name brand if you order online or shopping in a store where you can feel the weight of the tape. Bazic brand is cheap but it’s very flimsy.
  • You can also use washi tape if your craft is strictly decorative. You’ll need actual duct tape if you want the strength to build out an item like a wallet.
  • Scissors will need to be cleaned often as sticky residue builds up. I put aside some of the best scissors–ie the strongest ones–just for duct tape and periodically task volunteers with cleaning them with alcohol wipes.

Once you buy the initial supplies and prepare materials, the duct tape programs can really run themselves. And unlike a lot of programs, you might even have time to craft while supervising.

everything you need to know about duct tape crafts

A version of this post originally appeared at Teen Services Underground in 2016.

Gaming Unplugged: Board Games, Card Games, and Party Games to use in Teen Programs

Gaming Unplugged

I’ve talked before about ready-made craft programs on the blog in what I call Maker Kits–pre-bundled supplies for programs ideal to use for passive programming or (in pandemic life) to repurpose for grab and go programming.

Today I have some quick ideas for low-tech gaming (with minimal set up and generally quick game play) if you want to do an “unplugged” game program”

  • Card Games: It’s pretty old school but I like having some standard decks of playing cards on hand for game programs. You can also have a book of solitaire games (and shock everyone when you reveal that yes, we used to play with real cards!) and books with basic card games (there’s The Card Game Bible and Hoyle’s Modern Encyclopedia of Card Games if you’re looking for where to start). There are also novelty decks for specific games like Old Maid or Crazy Eights and more. You can also explain card counting with Black Jack. Then, of course, there’s the classic: Uno. If none of the games appeal, you can always have everyone try to build card houses.
  • 1,000 Blank White Cards: This game is about as low tech as it gets. All you need to start are some pens and note cards. Players make the deck as they go so teens can create cards in addition to some you made ahead of time (maybe with help from volunteers). The game can take any form depending on what cards are created. Most involve some kind of point value, an action, and an illustration. Want to know more before you get started? There’s a wiki for that.
  • Charades: I am on a crusade to make sure teens know how to play charades and let me tell you it’s been uphill at my library. Charades has players draw a word/phrase of some kind and pantomime the action or words within to get others to guess the answer. It can be played either individually or in teams. I suggest using a word generator or other strategy to create prompts ahead of time because when I had teens write them up it devolved into a lot of obscure video game characters. You may also have to explain the concept with some examples. I had prompts in one game for “Little Women” and “The Hunger Games” and teens tried to act out the entire story instead of just the title.
  • Codenames: This game has a couple of version. I’ve been using the Codenames Pictures version. The game can work with 2-8 players (or more in teams) so it’s great for larger groups as well. Codenames is a cross between “Guess Who?” and “Battleship” with Spymaster players who lay out the board and know the location of their own spies on the board. Spymasters then use clues based on picture tiles in the game to reveal those locations to the rest of their team (example: “1, game” would tell the other players to look for the one tile on the board that refers to a game, possibly a dice or a billiard ball) to uncover the spies. Whoever collects all of their spies off the board first wins.
  • Coup: Easily one of my favorite games, Coup is a bluffing game where players compete to wield the most influence and win the game. The game includes a deck of cards, coins, and some how-to/role cards and works with 2 to 6 players (or more if you do teams. I think of this game as extreme “Go Fish.” Every player starts with two hidden cards which can take on various roles. Players then have to take actions to draw currency and gather enough money to either assassinate the competition or unseat them in a coup (forcing them to reveal a card). Whoever ends the game with more influence (one or two cards still hidden) wins. I love it for programs because it can be as easy or as hard as teens want to make it.
  • Dominoes: Dominoes is about as basic as it gets for low-tech games. There are a variety of ways to play but essentially you are matching pips (dots) to remove them from your hand of dominoes. Winning can either be done by using all dominoes in your hand or by determining points at the end of the game depending on what works for your crowd. Dominoes come in a range of sets including Double 6 (the highest domino has 6 pips on each side) up to double 18. I would suggest going with at least a double 12 set if you are playing with teens to make the game more complex. Having a larger set also means there will also be more dominoes to play so it will work better for larger groups. There is also a variant called Squaremino if you’re into that.
  • Grifters: This game is a from the people behind Coup but a bit more complicated. In this deck building game, players are all in charge of a group of criminals with various skills in brain, speed, or brawn. Players build their deck of grifters to complete different jobs and earn coins. Whoever has earned the most after all jobs are completed wins. Grifters works for 2-4 players (or teams therein) and it’s a bit more complicated so play runs longer but if you have the time it’s a blast.
  • Jenga: Does this need any explanation? Probably not.
  • Mafia: I only heard about this game while searching for information to put in this post. It sounds a little complicated at first but I think with the right group of teens it could be a lot of fun. It seems like it could be a good ongoing game for a program with regular attendance like an advisory group or some kind of club.
  • Sushi Go: This pick and pass game works for 2 to 5 players and involves building various sets of sushi. Go Fish but with fish that you eat.
  • Who Wins?: You might have seen this book on YALSA’s 2017 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list. Who Wins? is an interactive book that pits various historical figures ranging from Nicola Tesla to Harriet Tubman in head-to-head competitions in everything from The Hunger Games to ping pong. If you act as moderator and raise questions about the various merits of each figure (“Would George Washington’s wealth–rated 10/10–be any help to catch Jack the Ripper?”) it can lead to some interesting discussions. Teens also had a great time setting up various competitions. I brought this along with several other games to a program but the book kept everyone occupied for the entire hour.
  • Yahtzee or Dice: Yahtzee is a counting game but instead of cards you’re working with dice to build various sequences. You can buy a kit or just get some dice and make your own scoring. You can also up the stakes with double dice.

A version of this post originally appeared on Teen Services Underground in 2017.

Maker Kits: Passive Programs in a Bag for the Library

Maker Kits Collage Graphic

What are Maker Kits?

Maker Kits are low-cost, versatile materials for open-ended creating put together in one container around a themed craft. Each kit is filled with supplies that are easy to use with minimal supervision if not entirely self-directed. Because of that they require minimal preparation making them ideal for passive programming or quick programming

I used large Ziploc Big Bags to house my kits but storage bins or some other container option would work just as well. The main thing is they should be mobile–don’t just dedicate a cabinet shelf to all the designated supplies.

I started with a few basic kits:

Duct Tape Maker Kit

 

Materials:

  • Scissors (good quality scissors–safety scissors with rounded edges are okay but safety scissors will not be strong enough to cut the tape)
  • Rulers
  • Duct Tape
  • Index cards (other cardstock or heavy paper works too)
  • Laminated Instruction Sheets
  • Demo Items

The Duct Tape Maker Kit is stocked with a variety of duct tape, scissors, and rulers. The reason the kits can be self-directed are the laminated instruction sheets.

After looking around online I found project instructions from Duct Tape and Instructables. I adapted the instructions to fit my needs, reformatted them, and then printed them out. I used my library’s laminator to laminate each sheet. Because I wanted laminated sheets, I kept instructions to one sheet of paper (one or two sided) for easy printing and laminating. I round out the kit with demonstration items I made myself while testing the projects.

Currently I have instructions for bookmarks (the index cards are a base to make the bookmarks sturdier), duct tape wallets, duct tape bows, a flower pen, and a paperclip bookmark. I restock the materials as needed and add other supplies (paperclips for bookmarks and rubberbands for duct tape bracelets) as needed.

 

Blackout Poetry Maker Kit

 

Blackout Poetry Maker Kit Supplies

Materials:

  • Book pages (From ARCs, or weeded items. Magazines or newspapers would also work.)
  • Rulers
  • Markers (I went for an assortment of dark colors instead of just black. Do NOT use permanent markers.)
  • Pencils and/or Colored Pencils
  • Laminated Instruction Sheet

Blackout Poetry uses existing book pages to create poems by blacking out any words you don’t want to use. (Looking for a literary connection? Victor Vale creates blackout poetry in Vicious by V. E. Schwab and Yossarian comes close to making some when he becomes overzealous in his censor duty in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.)

I found sample images online and added a brief description for the instruction sheet. I started with a variety of markers in dark colors (green, I learned, does not work very well) and at teens’ request I added colored pencils which have been useful in blocking out words to highlight.

I was skeptical of this activity taking up an entire program but it turns out making a blackout poem takes a lot of time with all of the coloring. Also once teens get into it they might make multiple pages or move on to the second side of their page. Here are samples from the teens:

Sample Blackout Poetry 2 Sample Blackout Poetry 1

Macrame Maker Kit

 

Macrame Maker Kit Supplies

Materials:

This was the most time consuming kit to make. I spent a lot of time tracking down, adapting, and reformatting instructions to fit my two-sided sheet structure. Some were so long I had to print those out as regular pamphlets.

Teens can use scissors and rulers to measure the threads they need. Then they can use the tape to secure their project to a table while they are working on it. (I have had mixed results securing them with tape. One alternative is providing safety pins to attach projects to the leg of a pair of jeans or to a shoe. I’m also researching the cost of buying a few clipboards but I’m not sure it’s worth the space and money.)

Maker Kits in Action

For my Teen Makerspace I put out two or three kits (one per table) and explain the contents before letting teens gravitate where they like.  I also started taking the kits to my library’s teen video gaming program to entertain teens who are waiting for a turn on the game console.

My favorite part about the Maker Kits is that I can grab one and go. Everything I need is in the bag so I can run a quick maker/craft program anywhere in the library. The Maker Kits live in my library’s program room so the kits are also available to anyone else on staff who might be covering a teen program and wants to use them.

Because of the minimal time investment and setup, teens can opt in whenever and however they like. Often, particularly when I bring the supplies to other programs, I’ll start working on something and watch teens gravitate to the projects as they see what I’m doing.

Since my initial planning I’ve also created an Origami Maker Kit with squares and strips of paper along with laminated instructions for origami stars, pinwheels and other projects. Coloring or journaling are also great Maker Kit options. While I made the kits with a mind to appeal to teens, they can also be used in programs with tweens or younger kids as well provided there’s enough supervision to explain the activities to kids who might not want to read multiple instruction sheets.

Maker Kits Collage Graphic

A version of this post originally appeared at Teen Services Underground in 2016.

Book Display: Blind Date With a Book

Happy Valentine’s Day! I love this holiday (and the discount chocolate I will be buying tomorrow) with zero irony. I also love using the holiday as an excuse to make a wrapped book display for my monthly YA display.

A wrapped book display is exactly what it sounds like: all of the books are covered to hide the title and author information.

Here’s the finished display:This year I wrapped the books and composed short annotations based on jacket copy, plot summary, or first lines from the books. My teen intern transcribed these annotations and decorated with her own artwork and hearts that she cut out with out die cut machine.

Here’s one with my favorite annotation and one of my favorite finished decorating projects from my intern:

I make sure to pick books that have multiple copies on the shelves so that nothing is accidentally declared missing while it’s undercover.

I wrap every book like a gift and make sure to cut out a notch for the barcode for easy checkout.

Here’s what the back of a wrapped book looks like:


Which ones would you check out from this display?

November NaNoWriMo Display

November is National Novel Writing Month. Although it has a short duration, I like to do a display for NaNoWriMo because it ties so well to the library and, of course, to the collection.

This year my coworker wanted to host some pop up writing workshops for kids and teens excited about NaNoWriMo (our adult department has workshops all month with another organization coming in to host writing sessions) so I also wanted to tie back to that.

img_3799This year’s display prompts teens to find their inspiration with some books from the YA collection. All of the books featured on the board were written during NaNoWriMo except for Afterworlds. (Afterworlds features a young NaNoWriMo winner navigating her first book deal while sharing her NaNoWriMo novel though so it still fits.)

After creating the graphics which I love–I think it’s one of the nicest displays I’ve made, I stocked the display.

img_3797In addition to some of the books featured on my sign (or books by the author at least) I also included some books from the 800s which is the “how to” writing section in the non-fiction area. I was especially excited to have an excuse to showcase The Anatomy of Curiosity which is one of my favorite books about writing.

Are you familiar with NaNoWriMo? Are you participating this year? Have you read any of these titles? Would you recommend others? Let me know in the comments!

Book Display: The Talking Dead

I don’t do a lot of seasonal/holiday displays in the library, but October sort of demands it. I have used The Talking Dead a lot as a booklist name and in previous displays so I was excited to turn to that idea again this month with some new graphics (made with PicMonkey like always) and featuring some new titles.

As you may have noticed from my other posts, my library’s teen area doesn’t have a lot of display space. I tried to spread out the display this time around with plastic sign holders and books on the YA information desk and on top of some of our shorter display shelves to accompany my larger poster board display.

Here’s the main display:

talkingdead1As you can see I pulled books including ghosts, zombies, vampires, and other sundry undead creatures to stock the display.

I added stock images of pumpkins and a creepy fence to fill out my poster:

talkingdead2I kept things simply by the reference desk and shelves with just a Talking Dead sign and some books.

talkingdead4Have you read any of the titles I’m featuring? What are some of your favorite spooky reads? What displays would you make for Halloween? Let me know in the comments!

Banned Books Week Display

Since blind books are always a hit, I decided to bring back a wrapped/blind book display for Banned Books Week.

IMG_3390
This year I started with a black background (foam core as usual) and tried to streamline some of my graphics. I printed a giant “banned” to put on the side and then made my “Do You Read Banned Books?” image with a stock photo featuring letters on it. This year I realized I could save myself some time by making the actually BBW graphic separate so that I can conceivably reuse my other graphics down the line. (I also saved the stock image I used for background because it turns out they are not easy to find at all.)

I really like the way the display looks with the black background. Here it is fully stocked with banned books:

IMG_3389

I stocked the display with wrapped books. I pre-printed the banned graphics which I did save from last year and then just worked with a second sheet of paper to make sure that the books were all fully wrapped.

Here’s a close up of one of the books:

IMG_3391(1)

Because we have barcode checkout (and self-checkout options) I also made sure the barcode on the back is visible even when the book is wrapped:

IMG_3392

This year I put my Banned Books Display up very early (start of September) to coincide with a coworker’s interactive display (she printed out pictures of frequently banned books and prompts patrons to use stickers to mark off the books they have read). It’s been interesting having the display up so early to see how patrons are interacting with it. I have routinely come back to restock the display to find it filled with unwrapped books or book wrappers that have been abandoned. The “sexually explicit” books I have put out have been opened several times to the point that I had to make new wrappers from scratch because they got so beat up.

If you want to know more you can visit BannedBooks.Org. The American Library Association also has a handy Banned Books Week landing page with a lot more information. School Library Journal also has compiled many useful resources.

What are you doing this year for Banned Books Week? Tell me in the comments!

Wondering how scandalous your reading history might be? Take this BuzzFeed quiz to find out (and share your results in the comments).

Here’s how I did on the quiz:

How Scandalous Is Your Reading History?

You ‘ve read 28 out of 93 banned books! You’ve dipped a toe into the pool of banned books, and you’re not afraid of at least some of life’s more illicit themes, like drugs, sex, and/or spooky monsters.

Paper Snowflakes Program in the Library

IMG_3178
Kids hard at work contemplating their snowflake designs.

When I started as a library intern in high school, one of my first jobs was cutting out paper snowflakes for a display. I love cutting snowflakes and had a lot of fun making them. The display was very well-received and while there was a lot of time involved, it was low cost.

As I try to regenerate interest in teen programs, I’ve realized that I prefer to lead low-effort/high-impact craft programs. Basically: I like programs where participants can put in as little or as much effort as they like and still leave with some kind of finished project.

My library has a monthly Ezra Jack Keats program which includes a story by Ezra Jack Keats and can also feature other stories, rhymes, songs, or fingerplays. After the reading, everyone makes a related craft. Although it was summer, I decided to do cut paper snowflakes along with a reading of The Snowy Day.

IMG_3177
Coloring snowflakes with crayons.

Before the program I gave teen volunteers a snowflake-making tutorial and then asked them to cut some demo ones. I grabbed a ream of white typing paper and a ream of blue typing paper and lots of scissors. I also used a box of crayons so that more adept participants could draw designs to cut. The crayons also allowed the younger kids to color and decorate pre-made snowflakes.

IMG_3176
A finished masterpiece. Cut and colored by one of the kids at the program.

Because this craft is so simple, I was able to let teen volunteers do a group reading of The Snowy Day. I then talked a bit about if kids did the same things in winter as we see in the book and we figured out some facts about snowflakes. Then I explained the craft and gave quick instructions before everyone got started.

During the program I discovered it’s really best to have a lot of actual scissors (child size) but NOT the safety-scissors with almost no blade–they are impossible to use for cutting through the multiple layers of folded paper to make a snowflake.

I also spent a lot of time going around to ask kids how they were doing and tell me about their snowflakes. If I noticed anyone who was frustrated with cutting, I was able to quickly make a snowflake for them to use as reference or to color.

IMG_3175
Snowflake, mid-coloring.

The biggest downside to this program was that there was a lot of paper scraps by the end but cleanup wasn’t terrible with help from volunteers. (We couldn’t find a broom so I did have to ask a custodian to sweep up the last bits.) I would not recommend doing this program in a carpeted room unless you have a vacuum handy.

Related Books:

  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian
  • It’s Snowing by Olivier Dunrea
  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
  • It’s Snowing by Gail Gibbons
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Summer Reading 2016 Display (Get in the Game)

Summer is a very busy time in any public library because kids are out of school and the library usually has some kind of Summer Reading Program.

Such is the case at my place of employ. To make things easier (and to promote the summer reading list) I usually create a summer-long display in the YA area to show off summer reading books. This also works well because we buy special “summer reading” copies and have them in a separate section during the summer. The teen section isn’t always the easiest to find while browsing so my hope is that the display helps make it more visible.

Since I helped create this year’s middle school and high school booklists, I was especially excited to make the display.

This year’s summer reading theme is “Get in the Game” so I decided to go for a comic style in my main sign. I included the theme, an explanation that the books are from the summer reading list, and directed patrons to the information desk if they want more information and/or to sign up.

sr16cAround the informational sign I put images of book covers for titles featured on the list. I also made larger images with some book covers and quotes. I chose which quotes to use based on whether I had already made an image/quote file (The Scorpio Races) and whether the books had good quotes available. The Great Greene Heist, for instance, did not have any good quotes I could find online so I just used the book cover. Then I just tried to do a mix of ages/formats to flesh out the display. I also tried to go for books with bold covers.

sr16bI stocked the display with summer reading books found in the regular collection as well as the special summer reading copies (new paperbacks with a summer reading label). As the summer has progressed I’ve restocked the display with whatever titles we have the most of on the shelves. I added copies of the summer reading list for people to grab too.

sr16aSo this is what my YA display table looked like for the summer. This week marks the end of my library’s summer reading program.

You can check out my library system’s summer reading lists online.

What books have you been reading this summer? If you work in a library, what was your summer reading theme/booklist?

“I Can’t Remember the Title . . . But It Had a Blue Cover!” Book Display

Instead of doing a seasonal display for December I decided to make a book display that could transition into the new year (I’m hoping to do an award winners display after the Youth Media Awards announcements are official).

After thinking about it, I decided to do a color-based display. There’s an old joke in bookselling and libraries that people will often ask for a book by saying they don’t remember the title but it had a blue cover with a dog on it. (Invariably when you find the title it will be a red book with a cat on the cover but that’s a different story.)

I chose to take that as my starting point for my display before heading off to my trusty PicMonkey to start creating graphics.

I started with an 8 by 10 graphic with my display title.

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PicMonkey has a lot of themes which include premade backgrounds that I used as swatches here. Their comic book theme (with the building backdrops) proved especially helpful for this display.

After that I made some book signs with quotes. Goodreads cover view of all of the books I’ve read was very helpful with this. I also wanted to pick books with different genres, protagonists, and a diverse mix of authors which I kept in mind while making my choices.

For this display I chose The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough.

IMG_0686I could quote from this entire book because there are so many good parts but this quote is my favorite and I think one that’s really indicative of the book. The comic theme also conveniently includes an image with the Seattle skyline where this book is set so I included that as well for a little pop of color.

Next I made a graphic for The Truth Commission by Susan Juby.

IMG_0687It’s no secret that this book was one of my favorites from 2015. It’s also another highly quotable one that has a great cover so this image basically made itself.

Next I made a graphic for The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness which has a great iconic blue cover.

IMG_0688I rounded out the display with Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten.

IMG_0685I’m especially pleased with the way the branches behind this quote mirror the matches on the book cover.

Obviously the only choice for a background on this sign was blue paper. When I was making the display, the library was short on paper. I had one piece to work with and a stack of program flyers printed on blue paper. I wound up cutting all of the scrap paper into smaller pieces and spreading them out to make a patchwork design which turned out looking really great.

IMG_0684And here’s the display with some books in front of it (blue covered, of course):

IMG_0690To make things even more fun, this display got some author love recently on Twitter from the lovely Melissa Walker:

Have you ever seen (or made?!) a blue book cover display? What’s your favorite book with a blue cover?