TPiB: Locker Crafts
It’s back to school time which for a lot of middle school and high school teens means one thing – LOCKERS! Well, I’m sure it means a lot of things. But for the creative side of me it means LOCKERS! I love making a locker personal, which means MAKING STUFF. We’re all about making! So here are some of our current favorite magnetic crafts that would be great for a locker making event.
The key, of course, to locker crafts are magnets. I have something to say to you about magnets. When you go to the craft store you will find that the cheapest magnets you can buy are these:
DO NOT BUY THESE. They are self-adhesive but they do not in fact stick well. And because they are rolled up it is hard to get them to lay flat. Basically, I have nothing positive to say about this magnet approach except that it is, in fact, usually cheapest. And there is a reason for that.
They seem to have the sticking power we need for our crafts and they are still self-adhesive, a bonus because hot glue it turns out is in fact really hot. I may or may not have recently have been reminded of that fact the hard way.
So now that we have the ever important magnet discussion out of the way, let’s move on to the locker crafts I have to share with you. And here’s an important thing, if you have some additional ideas, please do share them with me in the comments. I love new ideas.
As you may have read, I am obsessed with making my own photos and creating magnetic frames. So obsessed, we recently painted The Teen’s closet door with magnetic paint so we could decorate it with all of our “locker crafts”. It’s all in the name of MakerSpace research, I swear.
But here’s why I like the photo memes:
1) Let’s be honest, I’m in love with my kids. But you don’t have to use pictures of your kids. You can make them with a picture of anything and a quote from anywhere. It’s an opportunity to be creative and personal.
2.) I love how it combines learning how to use tech with allowing teens an opportunity for creative self-expression.
Here is a short tutorial on making your own memes and here is our tutorial for how we made them into magnetic duct taped framed masterpieces that hang well in a locker.
Magnetic Memes, Take II – The Grid Photo
In addition to making photo memes, I am also obsessed with the grid photo. It’s a great way to show a relationship over time or highlight a special day or event. For example, here is a grid photo of The Teen and The Bestie ice skating the other weekend. It would be a great way to do the 12 years of school (see, obsessed with my kids). I have done montages of my marriage to The Mr., the girls over time, the girls with various friends, etc. I even recently made one for a friend and her husband who went on a cruise. Teens could do their senior year, homecoming, prom, etc.
To make the grid photos I use the grid option on the Photo Shake app. You can do something like 16 to 25 photos. It allows you to move the photos around. You can have frames or no frames. I have printed them out larger size and framed them so they decorate my walls. You can print them out in the smaller Instagram size and use the above mentioned magnetic duct tape framing technique to create a grid photo for a locker.
Magnetic Memes, Take III – Button Form, Kinda
If you have a button machine you can easily turn your buttons into magnets. You simply take out the pin, use the machine as directed, and put a magnet on the back. You just need to make sure it is a thick enough magnet to compensate for the inward curve of the button back. Teens can make their own photo memes as outlined above and use them to make magnets. I made this one using a Lego minifigure, a background, and the PhotoCandy app. I downloaded it into Publisher to make sure it was the correct size for my button machine and then printed it off and voila’ – I have a homemade and completely awesome magnet. We are doing this for our upcoming Star Wars Reads Day activity.
Yesterday I outlined two ways you can make chalkboards. Add magnets to the backs of your creation and you have a locker chalkboard. Again, you’ll want to make sure you use strong enough magnets because these are slightly heavier. They have 4×4 canvas frames that would work well for this craft. And in the comments Kirsten shares with us how you can make your own (cheaper) chalkboard paint in a variety of colors.
Magnetic Chalkboards Adapted into Dry Erase Boards
You can use the tutorial mentioned above with a couple of variations to make a dry erase board instead of a chalkboard. After cutting your matte board to size, cover it with contact paper. You can use white contact paper to get a traditional dry erase board look if desired. We used colored matte boards and clear contact paper to get various colors for our dry erase boards. They work really well.
Rainbow Loom Pencil Hangers
The Teen found and did this craft all on her own. Afterwards she came and got me and said, “Mom, this would be a great library program.” It was a proud day for me. She of course used a YouTube video as a tutorial, which you can find here.
Bottle Cap Magnets
This is a tried and true standby for us. As you can see, we have done a lot of variations: Minecraft, Divergent, Sherlock, Duct Tape, etc. You can find instructions here.
There you have it, some of my favorite locker crafts. These have all been tested by several of my teens have the teen seal of approval.
Have some of your own to share? Drop me a comment. I’m always looking for new ideas.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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