If you asked them, the one material that my teens have loved to work with more than anything else has been duct tape. Doesn’t matter when, where, or what, it has been, “Miss, when are we doing another duct tape night?” or, “Miss, can I make a duct tape thingie?” I made it worse when I got patterns from the local craft stores on sale- Star Wars, graffiti, music notes, and the British flags typically are the first to go, along with anything neon.
At my last position, I created a mobile duct tape space that had self-healing cutting mats, scrap-booking knives and X-Acto knives, metal rulers, and a dedicated binder that had multiple handouts of the basics of creating the most-requested projects teens and tweens wanted to do over and over again, such as
- fabric (this tends to be the basis of any large crafts)
It also had drawers of rolls and rolls of duct tape. I had certain teens that could be trusted that could take the “tape cart” out of my office and make sure that it would come back with all the important things back. They were also responsible enough to make sure that the level of mischief and mayhem would be contained to a reasonable level if I got called away, which happened more and more often during my last few months there; that made having this and other maker spaces portable and independent extremely important. I had a checklist and inventory, and it worked wonderfully. I really recommend it for anyone that has the start-up funding to get it rolling (pun intended), can keep it going, and has the space to store it. The only thing I would change from what I did is that I purchased a “craft cart” and they are not made for library use, so if you can, invest in a heavier use cart with baskets, or convert an older book truck (if you can find it) by purchasing baskets or plastic bins that fit onto the shelves instead.
Jonathan Fong over on ehow has created a how-to on the creation of duct tape wallets that are a few steps up from what we created at the library. We didn’t create a clear ID pocket (didn’t have the material), nor did we do the icon cutouts on the front. I love the idea of the contrasting icon, however, and can see where it would be a brilliant add-on to make a duct tape wallet program into a special one-off for a specific celebration, such as book parties, Free Comic Book Day, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, Ghostbusters, Star Trek: Beyond, Star Wars and others. Just make sure if you’re doing a program involving specific fandoms that you have not only the proper shade of colors but that you have more than enough of all the colors. You don’t want to have slighted the Hufflepuffs because you have a ton of Slythern green and silver and not enough canary yellow and black.
Not everyone is in love with a duct tape wallet. In Texas (and now in Florida) it can get a bit messy and sticky if you don’t do things exactly right, and they can be a bit bulky. Additionally, while my tweens and teens would carry cash, my young adults and adults (I’ve never figured out how to term that- if you have an idea for how to distinguish between 18-25 and 25 & up, let me know) wouldn’t, and wanted to do a craft but didn’t catch on with the wallet. So I found the “magic wallet”. The best basic instructions I’ve found has actually been this youtube video by user ducttapestuff. He says he doesn’t see the use for them, but if you want an easy, portable craft for outreaches or library cart signups, you can prep things ahead of time and voila! He also has this youtube video for a double magic wallet, which is fun. He talks a bit fast, especially for me in the morning when I’m not awake, but the instructions are the best.
Over on Your Home Based Mom, she has a step-by-step tutorial for duct tape hair bows that includes the hair clip and everything. Bonus: if you stop at step six, you have a bow tie only, and that can be used for anyone and anything. Push it flat and it’s a decoration for wreathes, boxes, doors, etc. Alter the directions a bit, and you can put it on headbands. Create a thin loop and you have a wearable bow tie or bow tie necklace.
If you finish out the instructions and use the hair clips or modify them for bobby pins, you will have wearable hair decorations. They are extremely cute and the hair bows are always a favorite of my tween and teen girls. I love using them as pieces for daily cosplay (think Disneybounding but not restricted to Disney characters) as it’s MUCH cheaper than the bows you find at Hot Topic or other stores.
- On wikihow they have ideas for a duct tape pencil case using a baggie for a base. It’s be extremely easy to modify it based on the size of the baggie for coin holders, cosmetic bags, and other things besides pencils.
- On Crafty Soccer Mom, they have instructions on how to do duct tape lanyards. My tweens and teens use lanyards all the time at school to carry their mandated school IDs as they have to have them visible at all times. By making the length shorter, they turn into keychains easily.
What have you done in your programs?