Ugly Sweaters

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was a hit. Here are some of the materials we used: old pieces of sparkly garland, old decorations, extra X-mas crafts, sweaters and skirts from a thrift store, sweatshirts from Wal-Mart, hot glue, glitter glue, felt, sweater/fabric scraps, buttons, beads, a sewing kit, and card stock. Basically, we just had a lot of stuff out. The sweaters are not meant to be washed. I started out with only eight sweaters and five sweatshirts, and then I realized we needed more. For some reason we had some skirts in the back, which turned into Christmas capes. I would recommend that you get an insane amount of sweaters for this project because I had three times as many people than expected. Near the end, folks were using these odd sweater scraps left over from some other project. You may be wondering what the card stock was used for… I created a few stencils for people to trace, but instead they just glued the stencils to their sweaters. It was a timely craft because the very next day was ugly sweater day at school. I highly recommend this activity!

CD Scratch-Off

float 008I learned about this activity at a library conference. At the time, the presenter assured us that it was a hit with teens. So, I thought I’d give it a whirl. I coated the shiny side of each CD with two coats of black acrylic paint, and I scratched it with a screw and a needle. When the teens did the project, they seemed to really enjoy it, although it took less time than expected. I let them paint on discarded book boards, which is my backup painting project if things take less time than anticipated.

Frosty Float Fantasticness

float 004

I wasn’t able to post for a while because we were all so busy making our float for the Frost Fest Parade. This town is pretty parade happy, so parade happy that we have one in the middle of winter. Thankfully, this winter has been mild, so float construction was not as murderous as usual (also, I was sick, so I wasn’t allowed to work outside much). The teens always get excited about the float and want to help. This year there were a lot of float activities that they were able to help with, which replaced our usual crafts. Since the float theme was “The Snowman Shuffle,” we decided to make wearable cards and a gigantic snowman. Our library mascot, Chilly the Penguin, was transformed into a magician who made the cards dance, and brought snowmen to life.

We dusted off an old overhead projector and traced images on to foam board to create the cards. The teens then selected colors and invented a paint-by-number key. The snowman was a more complex project involving chicken wire, which is very sharp and slightly evil. Chicken wire is not something for teens to work with, in my opinion. However, the teens did help glitter the snowman and paint his buttons. We were also very fortunate to have a teen who is a skilled seamstress make a snowman costume for us.  Notes: Do not glitter a snowman indoors. While glittering is met with great enthusiasm, it is actually a little challenging and helpers may abandon their posts once they realize this. Also, making a snowman costume is more challenging than you may first realize. The important thing is to maintain a sense of humor even though you keep poking your fingers, there are are people rolling in glitter on the floor, and someone keeps trying to punch your snowman’s head.

Go With The Flow: Door Swag into Pumpkin Painting

Sometimes the craft just doesn’t work out like you think it will. This was the case with my door swag project. I envisioned a lovely bow or bunch of fall leaves with pine cones interspersed. When I made the sample, I found that it was very challenging to attach the pine cones to the mass of ribbon and fake leaves, so instead they hung down like odd appendages. Sometimes, even when the sample doesn’t look that awesome, the teens are able to invent something really great. I thought this would be the case with the door swag. This was not the case with the door swag. People were not even sure what a door swag was, and they weren’t interested in making one. (I have to admit, I am still learning about the word “swag” as well. It might be more of a garland.) One of my dedicated crafters asked if she could have a surface to paint. Then, I remembered that we had a pile of pumpkins we were trying to get rid of, so I gave her one of those to paint. Soon there were many pumpkin painters. Glitter, burlap bows, and painted pine cones were some of the inventive additions to the pumpkins. I was so glad the pumpkins were being enjoyed and the crafters were having a good time. Sometimes it is best to follow the craft spirit wherever it goes, even if you end up painting pumpkins instead of making swag :)

Halloween Murder Mystery Glow Party

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Maybe you think having a glow party and a murder mystery is too crazy, but I assure you it is the right amount of crazy. We had the teens help create the characters for the script, and staff continue the writing process using a shared Google document. The party itself took about an hour, which left plenty of time for cleanup before closing. If you want to have a glow party, I strongly recommend it. Here are some things that you will need: black plastic tarp or plastic bags to cover the windows, a variety of glow sticks and necklaces (glowing roaches are fun), florescent/white decorations, florescent paint, and black lights. Also, you will need food, which was pizza for us.  Although it looks really dark in the photos, we were actually able to read the script by the light from the black lights. It was great fun!

Life-Sized Pac-Man

This was a great game to play! The teens had so much fun, and I was cracking up trying to video them. What really got me was the T-Rex hands. Invented by Scott,T-Rex hands means keeping your hands close to your chest like the dinosaur. It is not really clear how useful the hands were for that dinosaur, but for the purpose of our game, the hands were pretty useless. We used blue painter’s tape to mark out the game layout, and we used rolled up newspaper for the dots. For the ghost balls, we used spongy balls (only four of these are needed). Here are our materials and rules:

Materials: blue painter’s tape, newspaper, 2 baskets or buckets, 4 foam balls, and candy.

Pac-man-gets three lives
-has to walk normally
-cannot walk over blue lines
-gets 1 point for every small dot (ball of newspaper) they put in their bucket
-gets 10 points for every Ghost Ball they collect in their basket
-gets 5 points for every Ghost they tag
-if Pac-man runs, one life is taken away
-if Pac-man walks over a blue line, one life is taken away
-when Pac-man grabs a Ghost Ball, they shout “Ghost Ball”
-Referees (Librarians) have to count 10 Mississippis
-if a Ghost is tagged by Pac-man during this time, then they have to return home
-once the Ghost is home, they can come out and try to get Pac-man again
-If a Ghost tags Pac-man, Pac-man dies
Ghosts- there are 4 ghosts at a time, they must walk heel to toe (toes of one foot touch the heal of the other)
-one can come out of the “home” location every 5 count (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi…)
-if tagged, ghost needs to return to home
-if the Ghost runs, they are kicked out for the remainder of that Pac-man’s current life
-Ghosts have to use T-rex arms so that they don’t reach over the walls
-Also, they have to keep moving
Pac-man with the most points gets candy, or maybe everyone gets candy at the end :)


acorn and spell books 001

I think acorns are cool. For this reason, I scheduled a craft that was just called Acorns. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but then I found this:

We had a box of pine cones from another activity and a bunch of burlap. I didn’t want to deplete the supply of Easter eggs, so we bought some Styrofoam eggs. The directions in the above link are pretty awesome. In addition, I would like to add that removing pine cone “petals” is easier with needle nose pliers. Happy Fall :)