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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Bookmarks: The absolute easiest craft is making a bookmark by wrapping duct tape around an index card (or an old paper bookmark) to create a new design. You can also find instructions for corner bookmarks or bookmarks with tassels or magnetic bookmarks (add magnet tape to your supplies for this one!)
- Wallets: This is a complicated project best suited to teens. If you try it with younger kids, you might end up making it for them. There are a lot of versions online. I even have friends who have made duct tape clutches and purses. Wallet instructions here: https://www.instructables.com/Easy-Duct-Tape-Wallet/
- Bows: Make a swatch of duct tape, gather it into a bow style fan and wrap with a smaller strip of tape. Instructions here: https://www.duckbrand.com/craft-decor/hair-bow
- Flower Pen: It takes some practice but fun and easy to to do once you get the hang of the petal design. Instructions here: https://www.duckbrand.com/craft-decor/rose-pens
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.
- 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.
A version of this post originally appeared at Teen Services Underground in 2016.