I work in a small community library outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have tried various types of adult programs to capture the community’s interest: from programs featuring authors, to musicians, poets, ghost hunters, master gardeners and computer classes, we’ve hosted them all. However, the programs that generated the most interest were always those that focused on crafting projects. So, in 2012, I decided to try something new with our adult patrons. Using websites like Pinterest and CraftGawker, I taught myself several different craft projects and then was able to instruct program attendees to do the same. Not only did this save me a lot of money on presenters, it was also fun to be involved in the process. Over the years I’ve discovered a few tips that may make your crafting programming easier:
Buy in Bulk
Purchasing craft supplies in bulk means that I can stock up on craft material for a reasonable price. I use Amazon Prime for the free shipping as well as Dollar Tree to purchase additional items. One would be surprised at all of the crafting possibilities there are for one dollar! Some staples to have in your craft collection are Mod Podge, acrylic paint, ribbon, and E6000 adhesive. Of course, my office is swarming with “crafts in progress” and several different types of adhesives, but I have saved a lot of money by going this route. What’s more, I can preserve my programming budget and use it for artists who specialize in an art form, like basket weaving.
Trying to make budget-minded crafts that look great has proven to be a challenge. To expand the range of possibilities, I started asking the craft-program attendees for ideas. I have found they have startedy donating some supplies and also proactively bringing me ideas for future projects. This crowdsourcing has helped not only in keeping the crafts classy but also with crafter’s block.
Bringing patrons in to your library for crafts creates a following. I started out with only a few persons in attendance and now I have a waiting list. I have patrons coming in for Girls’ Night Out events, as well as mothers, daughters, friends, and sisters. I love how the attendees have formed friendships and am happy to hear about them going out for drinks after the program! If only I could draw more men…
So, what are some of the crafts we have made? To name a few, we have created dinner plate clocks, burlap pumpkins, yarn Christmas trees, Easter egg garland, concrete stepping stones, Independence Day door pallets, cupid’s bow wreaths, terracotta wind chimes, shabby chic skeleton key chimes, mason jar snow globes, dryer vent pumpkins, garden plate lawn flowers, clay leaves, picture frame wreaths, and shadow painted canvases, etc. I plan craft programming ahead of time so that I can estimate what supplies will be needed and also provide a sample to boost interest. This also allows me time to solve issues that might come up ahead of time, such as the glue not holding.
For more ideas, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Share your crafting ideas in the comments!