I did a lot of traveling recently between attending the School Library Journal Leadership Think Tank and then heading straight to the Eureka Encore program in San Jose. In between all that jet-setting, I had to prepare a project for my Teen Crafternoon program. Since Earth Day is in April, I wanted to do a recycling project, and I chose to attempt making a tote bag out of recycled Target or other plastic grocery bags.
There are also pages and pages of Pinterest ideas for using recycled plastic bags, and tons of great tutorials out there including this video which I followed to the letter, but I just couldn't get the finished product to come out right.
So, the day of the craft I went into my supply closet and pulled out all of the scrapbooking supplies I had as well as a stack of random magazines (I'm talking about Bloomfield Business and our local AAA magazines) that I pilfered from the Friends donations and some manga that I had in my giveaway supply.
I was feeling guilty that I didn't have something more interesting or "Makerspace"-y to offer the teens, but they LOVED this project. We went 30 minutes over our allotted time, and they would have stayed longer if I didn't have to get to another meeting, because they just didn't want to leave. They were having such a good time being creative and using Mod Podge (they kept referring to it as "hodge podge" :)).
What I learned from this experience, and what is a wonderful takeaway for all teen librarians, is that you don't always have to think so far outside of the box to make your teens happy. What they truly want is a safe, comfortable space and a reason to be creative.
Here's just a sample of what they created: