The Arts and Crafts Makerspace

The Arts and Crafts Makerspace

I covered Arts and Crafts in my Makerspace Wishlist series back in April.  Since then, I’ve had a lot more arts and crafts activities in my library, and I realized that I needed to revisit this and update it.  I’m covering some of my favorite craft activities here, as well as some general craft suggestions.  Check out my Makerspace Arts and Crafts Pinterest board to get some inspiration for your next crafty project with your students.

 

Perler Beads

Known as Hama beads in Japan, these are plastic beads that are laid out on pegboards, then melted together by ironing them through a sheet of wax paper.  I usually do the ironing, although sometimes I will have a responsible student do it for me. Check out my Perler beads Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration.

  • Perler Beads – get lots, with a variety of colors
  • Storage – I love these Plano Stowaway boxes for organizing our Perler beads.  I got mine at Walmart.
  • Pegboards – get a variety of sizes of shapes.  You can never have too many
  • Tweezers– Makes it easier to do detail work
  • Thread – there’s lots of great patterns for weaving bracelets with Perler beads.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is always a great craft supply to have out.  It’s good to have a large variety of prints and colors.  I like to have a mix of solids, “boy” designs, and “girl” designs.  I put that in quotes because I’ve seen boys make hot pink leopard wallets and girls make camouflage bows for their hair.  Also, make sure you have duct tape scissors.  Regular scissors get gummed up quickly, and I’m too paranoid to have exacto knives out.  Get some books out with sample project ideas too.

Origami/Paper Crafts

This is a classic, and it’s so easy to set up.  I get a nice assortment of origami paper, some markers and scissors, and a lot of origami pattern books out, then I let the students at it.  Don’t forget paper airplanes – designing and testing out paper airplanes is always a fun activity.  DIY bookmarks are another great, easy one to set up.  Be prepared for a lot of clean-up afterwards.

  • Variety of origami paper, including solids and designs
  • Variety of construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Various types of glue (mod podge, gluesticks, liquid glue)
  • Tape
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils

Cardboard/ Recycled Crafts

One of my favorite Makerspace activities has been the Cardboard Challenge, inspired by Caine’s Arcade and the Imagination Foundation.  It’s easy to get a lot of these supplies donated too.

  • SKIL 2352-01 3.6-Volt Lithium-Ion Multi-Cutter – great, safe way to cut cardboard.  I love ours.
  • Lots of packing tape – bonus if you have a dispenser with a handle
  • Hot glue gun – requires supervision
  • Rubber bands
  • A variety of cardboard boxes
  • Shoe boxes
  • Paper tubes (paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, etc)
  • Bottlecaps
  • Plastic bottles
  • Styrofoam
  • Old magazines
  • Soda tabs
  • Materials to decorate with (markers, glitter, yarn, etc)

Fiber Arts

There’s so many different types of fiber arts out there.  The easiest ones for students to get into are weaving and felting.  More advanced crafts can include knitting, crocheting and sewing, but they may need more support.  Getting a lot of good books and providing links to good online tutorials is a great way to get kids started.

Felting

Weaving

Knitting/Crocheting

  • Variety of yarn
  • Knitting needles (I love circular needles, but some people do prefer straights)
  • Crochet hooks

Sewing

  • Beginners sewing machines
  • Handsewing needles
  • Buttons
  • Fabric (felt is a great way to get started)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Thread
  • Other notions

General Crafting Supplies

Many of these items work great with things in all the other categories.  It’s best to get these in bulk from some place like Blick Art Supplies.  A lot of these are easy to get donated as well.

  • Mod Podge
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • Rubber bands
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Paint, paintbrushes
  • Felt
  • Foam
  • Fabric scraps
  • Pom poms
  • Glue
  • Construction paper
  • Tape
  • Staples/Stapler
  • Cotton balls

Electronics Crafting

There’s lots of great ways to bring electronics into your crafting.

What are your favorite arts and crafts activities to host in your library?  Do you craft in your free time too?


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is a middle school media specialist/teacher librarian in Tampa, FL. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves (to be published August 2017). She is also the author of the forthcoming ISTE book, Reimagining Library Spaces.

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