Sharpie Mugs

After doing a bit of research, we figured out the best way to make sharpie mugs. Basically, one should follow the instructions given here:

If you don’t want to spend time baking them, you can print the drying/baking instructions and tell everyone to bake their mugs at home. One of our teens did not wait 24 hours for the mug to dry before baking it, and reported that the colors changed, so the waiting is important.

Have fun making mugs!

Tyvek Flowers

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Fun and easy, Tyvek flowers celebrate the spring. Here are some of the materials we used: Tyvek envelopes, acrylic paint, scissors, stamens, hot glue, and wooden skewers. I made my own templates by googleing “flower templates” and printing them on card stock. Once you have painted both sides of each flower part, you can snip a small slit in the center of each one, and drive the skewer through the flower. Use hot glue to secure the underside of the flower to the skewer, and squeeze a bit of hot glue in the center of the flower to secure it to the skewer as well (add stamens at this point). You can also make sorta curly flowers, if you have a heat gun. Have fun!

Note: Remember Tyvek is sensitive to UV light, so try and keep flowers out of the sun.

Book Clocks

Book clocks are pretty cool, but you should know that there is a lot of prep work involved. Generally, we don’t like our teens to use X-acto blades because they are sorta dangerous. For about a week before this activity, the staff worked sporadically cutting out the area for the clock motor inside each book. The project was relatively inexpensive because the books were donated and we already had the clock parts. We¬† used our newly-purchased drill to make the center hole in the cover. In addition, the drill can be used to make a hole in each corner of the clock motor niche in order to help with the cutting process. (Just remember not to drill all the way through the book.)

You can glue the pages of the book together, but I saw this step as optional, and as something the teens could do themselves. Even though most of the books clocks you see online don’t have numbers, you may find that everyone in your program would like to have numbers on their clocks. There really isn’t much for them to do with the clock once it is assembled, so adding numbers extends the program a little. We used the numbers that came with the clock parts. They were originally attached to a spoked wheel sort of thing, and we removed them with wire cutters. In order to provide more design options, we set out buttons, beads, and hot glue.

Notes: If you have a mismatched clock collection, it is important to know that not all clock kits are interchangeable, even if they look like they could be. (This is something I learned during the activity.) It would also be good to have another small activity paired with this one, as it can be very short. I ended up handing out a few vinyl records. Vinyl record clocks are so popular!

Here is the site we referred to:

Milk Marbling

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If you are looking for an easy program, milk marbling may be the one. It is supper fun! Materials we used included: almond milk, watercolor paper, food coloring, dish soap, plastic plates, and Q-tips. We also did some spontaneous blow painting with straws. Notes: It is a good idea to have the teens write their names on their work, and provide a drying area. Here is the site we referred to:


Cubee Crafts II

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This was our second cubee activity. You can do it too. Just google “cubee craft” for designs and print them on card stock. You also might need a little tape. Some of the folds are a little challenging (the arms), so you may want to try it out first. Overall, it’s a great activity, and we will probably do it again in the future.

(Safety note: Staff handles the X-taco blades for tricky slot cuts.)

Soap Clouds and Fairy Mud


Soap clouds are fun! And if you have some extra time (which is likely), you can also make fairy mud. All you need is ivory soap, paper plates, and a microwave. (Add food coloring, glitter, plastic bags, and toilet paper for the fairy mud.) If you are going to make soap clouds, make sure that you use new ivory soap. It is important that it is new because old soap gets dehydrated and will only break and burn in the microwave. We read somewhere that it is impossible to cook soap too long. This is not true! Burned soap makes the worst smell. It is important that it be the least fragrant option because microwaving soap magnifies the fragrances. We ended up opening the windows and turning on the fan (and we had the “original” scent). It is important that it be Ivory soap because there is air and water mixed with the soap molecules, and they act up when heated. It takes about 40 seconds for half a bar to puff up. The texture is fascinating. You think it is going to be like cotton, but it is brittle instead. Fairy mud includes all of the additional ingredients I mentioned mashed together in a bag. It was great for everyone!

(Note: Schedule extra time for cleanup. This project is messy. Expect soap flakes to migrate. Also, don’t eat the soap.)

Here is the site we referred to:

Painting Canvas Bags

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Canvas Bag Painting Day was inspired by the large amount of canvas items I found while cleaning the back room. We had pot holders, pillow covers, aprons, and a few different types of bags. There weren’t really enough bags of each type to do individual projects, so I just put them all together. We also brought out our fabric markers, stencils, and fabric paint for the project. The fabric paint is pretty thick and slow to dry, so some people used brushes, and we used a hair drier to speed up the drying process. This project was very well attended, and the teens had a great time personalizing their items :)