Sunday, August 18, 2013

Program: Upcycled Crafts

Well, if you think my previous programs were rife with Pinterest inspiration, this program was basically multiple pins in one afternoon. I had three different craft projects for the kids to try out.

Book hedgehogs: far and away the most popular of the projects. I'm sure if you're in the library world, you've seen these around the internet (most notably the Avengers versions). When I saw them, I knew I wanted to make them happen in the library. Additionally, we had just done a big weeding in the spring, so I was able to repurpose a number of discarded books for this craft project. As I expected, the kids complained about how long it took to fold all the pages to create their hedgehogs. However, I simply had to point to my example to remind them how amazing it would be when they were done. What I hadn't expected was that nearly every kid would want their hedgehog to have a cape and a crown like mine - this aping of the example is common when I do preschool programs, but usually the tweens are much more creative than me. I will admit that my hedgehog is pretty awesome, so I can see how they'd want to make theirs similar.

Comic book keychains/cell phone charms: something else I had in abundance were comic books, so I let the kids cut them up and make keychains and charms out of their contents. We used precut thin squares of cardboard as the base for the charms and then affixed the comic bits with contact paper. Getting the charms onto the keychains and cell phone decorators proved to be the trickiest part of this station.

Wind chimes: so, I found this beautiful wind chime on Pinterest, made of old keys and thought, "YES." The reality was not so easy. First, do you know how in demand old keys are right now? CURSE YOU, STEAMPUNK. I kept getting outbid on eBay lots of old keys and didn't really have a backup plan. I ended up supplementing the keys I did manage to get with washers and nuts, bought at Home Depot. Second, I guess I didn't think clearly enough about what the top of the wind chime would be. In my dream, we would have used mason jar lids (and we could have hot glued the two pieces together after we tied all our strings on) or old cookie cutters. In reality, we used old CDs. It worked out decently when I was trying it out to make an example, but I forgot how terrible the kids would be at tying knots. The majority of the wind chimes I saw were all off-balance and not the beauties I had imagined. I think it's safe to say that this craft was pretty much a fail. I still think it could be really cool; I'd just have to have better supplies next time.

Those were the upcycled crafts we tried this time around. Have you done any craft programs that repurpose old materials? Something that worked especially well? Let me know in the comments - I'm always looking for ideas!

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