Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teen Make-and-Take Crafts

I just wrapped up the Teen Summer Reading Program at my library last week. Whew! The teens did a lot of reading, and I think we all had a lot of fun. Just like last year, I hosted "Boredom Busters" as part of the program, which is a series of simple, fun make-and-take crafts that teens can do at the Reference Desk in about 5-10 minutes.

To go with this year's Summer Reading theme, "Own the Night," I adapted one of my favorite craft concepts: pocket shrines. Depending on your library's community, you may want to avoid the religious overtone of the word "shrine," so I called this craft "Constellation in a box." 

Altoid tins (or similar)
Acrylic paint
Paint brushes
Adhesive rhinestones (lots and lots)
Silver paint pens
Glitter pens
Sparkly ribbon
Sparkly pipe cleaners
Any other sparkly doo-dad you think teens might use creatively
Mod Podge - both sparkle and regular types
Paint sponges

I collected empty mint tins from family and colleagues during the months preceding this craft, and painted them black in advance of the Summer Reading Program. I've hosted an event where the teens painted the tins themselves, and that was okay, but the paint takes a while to dry, and can be messy-- since these Boredom Buster activities are largely unsupervised, I decided to simplify.

I printed out images of some well-known constellations for the teens to use as a reference. Participants chose their favorite constellation and recreated it using adhesive rhinestones and drawing the lines between the rhinestone with paint or glitter pens.

Other than the constellation element of the craft, the teens were free to decorate the inside and outside of the tins however they liked. I printed out star-related quotes and explanations of the constellations for them to Mod Podge onto their tin, but those weren't mandatory. The teens got creative and decorated according to their whims. Sparkly things are hard to resist, so they had fun!

The other craft I really enjoyed this summer was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest: book page votives!

I followed the directions from Sarah at Arrow and Apple, using small votive candle holders instead of mason jars.

Book page votives are a great way to creatively recycle pages from books you're going to weed from the collection anyway. I gathered a pile of damaged books and allowed the teens to cut out the pages of their choosing for this craft.

Votives (I found the best price at Quick Candles.)
Discarded books (manga too!)
Mod Podge
Paint sponges
Craft thread - the type used to make friendship bracelets (optional)
Small beads (optional)
LED tea lights (optional-- but it gave me peace of mind to supply a flame-free option.)

Now to start thinking of next year's crafts...


  1. Very cute, simple, and something I think our teens would enjoy. Thanks for the ideas!!

    1. Thank you! I have the most fun with simple crafts.


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