Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sabers, Sonics, and Wands --Oh My!: Teen Tech Week at AMPL

Hi all! Samma here, to tell you about a fun little program we had on Thursday, March 13th for Teen Tech Week.

Teen Tech Week is an ALA affiliated annual event where libraries showcase their non-print resources and services for our patrons. The theme for the 2014 event was "DIY @ Your Library" --and how better to "do-it-yourself" than to get your hands a little dirty?

We got our inspiration from this blog-post by Doodle-Craft which I found on Pinterest while brainstorm ideas for our program. The great thing about this, was that while it was a teen program, our younger kids didn't have too much trouble with the projects and caught on pretty fast on to make the best end-product.

Our project was fairly simple after following Doodle-Craft's example. We started with FIMO clay, BIC stick pens (the white, hard-plastic kind with a removable ink-well), and a few clay tools which the boys used to personalize their finished products. One difference from the tutorial and the way most of us did ours, was that we put the pen cap onto the end of the pen for the length --because I just know I'm going to lose a lose cap if I can't put it on the end of the pen! I think it's worked out really well.

 We found we had a lot more success with the FIMO soft and the FIMO Element (the silver color). The "Classic" style was hard to warm up in our hands to get it soft, and crumbled a lot when we tried to roll it around. But that didn't stop Justin from trying his best to get that green light saber! Once the Classic became more malleable, he did succeed in getting that pen covered! One thing for certain though: a little bit of the clay will go a LONG way!

 After he was done with his light saber, Cole (a HUGE Star Wars fan!) made a few of the Star Wars battle ships.

When we were all finished, we popped the pens (and models) into the oven for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees on the library's toaster oven. We used a lower temperature so we didn't take the chance of melting the pens. If you try this at home, different pens might have different melting points (as I found out during my test run of the project! Yikes!) so remember to adjust your temperature and times accordingly. If you're using the FIMO as a regular modeling clay, follow it's package instructions.

And here's a shot of our finished products after they came out of the oven --still warm! --including Isiah's "caramel and chocolate" bits he made with some of our left over FIMO. When they were cooled, we put the ink back into the pens --and they were good to go! Isiah decided to go with the removable-cap version, while the rest of us decided to go with caps-on. I think all of them look great! Either way, the best part about this project is that: we don't lose all our hard work just because our ink ran out! We can just replace with the ink from another BIC pen!
The boys all had a lot of fun with this project. One thing we would have done a little differently though was to have a LOT more FIMO and pens on hand! I think we all would have made a few more if our supply had been a little bigger.

If you'd like to test out the pens, there is a purple light saber and the sonic screw driver pictured above in the pen cup at the library! Want to try it yourself? Click on the blog post link for Doodle-Craft above for a more in-depth tutorial --as well as other fun geekery crafts! And if you're looking for more inspiration to get your kids craft, check our Pinterest page where I am regularly pinning lots of fun craft ideas for all ages and skill levels.

Happy Reading (and crafting!),

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