Tween and Teen Programming Idea: DIY Photo/Note Holders
I bought the cutest picture holder at a store recently and thought, I am sure I can figure out a way to make these for a tween/teen craft program idea and reader: I did!
Unfinished Wood – you can find these at most craft stores or buy them in bulk online. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I like the skinny rectangle because they are perfect for Instax Mini pics, but any shape and size will do.
Mini Clothespins – I hot glued these to the front to hold the picture AND the back to make legs so the frame stands up. I tried a variety of things to make a stand but the mini clothespins worked and make sense.
- Paint Brushes
- Stickers and other embellishments, if desired
- Mod Podge or some other sealant
- Something to protect the table because painting is involved
- A hot glue gun and hot glue sticks OR another strong adhesive.*
- Fine point Sharpie pens for embellishments
- Strong magnets for an alternative approach
*So I have never had a problem using hot glue guns with teens except this one time where a teen sincerely burned themselves badly with a low temp hot glue gun so your mileage may vary. E600 or Gorilla glue are not glue gun adhesives that I have also successfully used for makerspace programs.
The DIY Process
Step 1: Paint your wood piece
I actually like using sponges as opposed to brushes, but this is once again a personal choice. I find that with sponges you can create fades, blending or an ombre effect. I have also seen some really markers that can be used, but they tend to be more expensive. You’re going to want to let this dry, so what can you do while your program attendees are waiting? I have some thoughts on this. If participants want to paint their clothespins they should also do so at this time and set it aside to dry. After drying you can add a coat of Mod Podge if you would like to seal your project, then let dry again.
DIY Hack: You can help things dry quicker using a good ole fashioned hair dryer or a heat gun.
Step 2: Things to do while you are waiting for your wood to dry
Option 1: Instax Mini Photo Printing
If you have one on hand, this would be a good time to let tweens and teens take some fun pics on a Instax mini cam while they wait for it to dry. If you don’t have a camera, you can buy a Instax mini printer and participants can link to it via bluetooth and print their pics right from their own devices.
Option 1 Plus: Photobooths!
This would also be a great time to bust out your photo booth props, ring lights, backgrounds, etc. But none of this is essential, just one option.
Option 2: Word or Post It Note Art
They can also think about embellishments and practice some good Sharpie art to add on their dried surface. You can also provide a stack of paper scraps and participants can make their own little notes, inspirational sayings, etc. to put on the frame instead of a picture.
Step 3: Attaching your mini clothespins
Once your wood piece is totally dry, you can then hot glue on your clothespins. You’ll want 1 or 2 for the front to hold your picture/notes. And then two along the bottom to be your footing to keep it upright.
A variation: You could also add magnets to the back and place these on fridges or in lockers.
And that’s it!
Because my teen also helps me test DIY ideas at home, she now has one of these sitting on her desk. She loves it and recommends it.
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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