A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Simple Crafts for Teens

by on May 7, 2013

Teens love to be creative, and one of the best ways libraries can foster this creativity is with teen crafts. Crafting can be done inexpensively, crafting can be tied into any summer reading program theme, and doing crafts at the library could lead teens to check out craft related books. At the Benton Harbor (Michigan) Public Library we’ve hosted many successful craft programs including shirt decoration (tie-dye and puff paint), pop tab bracelets, and our annual Christmas ornament workshop. I’ve learned that often, the more simple the craft, the better.  Here are some simple crafts that you can do with your teens at the library.

Pop tab bracelets:
This is a popular craft that is very inexpensive. To do this craft you need pop tabs (which staff or patrons can collect ahead of time), elastic, and scissors. This project works best with the pop tabs that have two holes in them, but it could be modified for pop tabs from energy drink cans which are colorful, but only have one hole in them. There is a set of instructions on instructable that explains how to make these bracelets.

Safety pin bracelets:
This craft can be combined with the pop tab bracelets and is also inexpensive. This project requires safety pins, elastic cord, and seed beads. A librarian could combine this and the pop tab bracelets in one project. Instructions for this craft are found on simple crafter.

Clothespin Zombies:

clothes pin zombie
Zombies are huge right now, and here is a simple craft that teens can do to make their own zombie.  The zombies require a few more materials than the bracelets, but they are all still items that any library should have. To make the zombies you will need clothespins, paint, fabric, markers, yarn, scissors, paintbrushes, glue, and anything else you would want to add to the zombie. Let the teens paint the clothespins in any shade of green they can create, and then pin the clothespins to the side of a box to dry. While the pins are drying, the teens can decide how to decorate the zombies and start making clothes and hair. Once the pins are dry, the teens can continue to create their tiny zombies. The inspiration from this craft came from the Scrumdillydo website, and their blog has pictures that can be used for inspiration for this craft.

Recycled “beaded” curtain or wind chime:
If your library can collect enough pop bottle rings, old CDs, and other items then your teens could make recycled beaded curtains for their rooms.  To do this take any plastic donated items and string them together with fishing line.  A librarian may need to help by piercing through some items with a sewing needle.  This idea can also be modified to make wind chimes.  String items together as described for the beaded curtain, but this time add a hook to the top, and bells at the bottom.  Inspiration for this idea comes from this picture found on flickr.

Decorated key art:

decoarted keys
Old keys can also be used for recycled art at the library. Patrons can bring in old keys that they no longer want to use and decorate them to make jewelry or cool key chains.  The keys can be painted with nail polish, or decorated with sequins and hot glue, then strung on a necklace or made into a keychain. Samples of decorated keys can be found on the Maize Hutton and My Salvaged Treasures blogs.

Many of these ideas are inexpensive and include recycled items.  For more teen craft project ideas do a  search on Pinterest and also be sure  to check out these books:

Recyclo-gami by Laure Goldrich Wolf

Generaion T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt by Megan Nicolay

The Crafty Diva’s Lifestyle Makeover by Kathy