Posted in Pepperell Library

DIY YA: Galaxy Shirts

This project is easy. Like, really easy. Deceptively easy. Even though it looks hard enough that people have asked, “do you really think I’ll be able to do that?” (The answer is, of course, yes.)
Here’s a close-up of my finished shirt. You can’t tell me it isn’t awesome, since that would be a lie.
You will need:
* One black t-shirt for each participant
* A spray bottle with a mix of bleach and water (I used half bleach and half water, but it’s up to you)
* Fabric paint in various colors, including white (I have seen this done with acrylic paint, but haven’t tried it)
* Brushes, sponges, and paper plates to mix paints
* A toothbrush or other small brush (optional, but recommended)
Step One: Preparation
Take your ordinary, boring black shirt, and give it a spritz with bleach solution, making sure to get both front and back of the shirt.  I found it helped to get some areas wetter than others, so you have a pattern of light spots on your shirt, which will be the background of your galaxy.  Let the shirt dry completely – I prepared our shirts the day before painting.  (Optional step: wash and dry your shirt; this keeps the bleach from eating away too much of the fabric.) Be careful not to get any bleach on yourself! I did this outside on the lawn, so we didn’t get bleach all over the carpet.

The bleach with react with a black shirt to make it orangey-gray, depending on how much bleach you use.

 Step Two: Painting
Lie your shirt flat on the grass, sidewalk, or other flat-ish surface. (You can put cardboard inside the shirt if you like, but I found that not using cardboard gave the paint more depth, since it wasn’t all flat.)  Mix up whatever colors of paint you’d like on your shirt.  We had red, light blue, dark blue, yellow, and glow-in-the-dark, which we mixed to make lovely greens, purples, oranges, and such.

Step Three: Background
Using a brush or sponge, dab paint VERY LIGHTLY on your shirt. You can always paint more, but you can’t take paint off, so you want to use a very light touch and paint multiple coats, until you get the colors that you want.  (At least, that’s what I did.  One of my teens used a heavier hand, and her shirt looks AMAZING.)

It looks better in person, I swear.

Step Four: Stars
When you have the colors how you want them to be, you can use a small brush or toothbrush to flick small drops of white onto your shirt, for stars. I was able to find white paint in a spray bottle, so we used that instead of flicking paint, which can be messy.

I’m afraid it’s hard to see in this photo, but the white stars DO make a difference.

Step Five: After painting
Let your shirt dry for 72 hours, and then turn your shirt inside-out and tumble-dry in your clothes dryer to help the paint set.  Then, wash and wear as desired.

Ta-da! Here’s my torso in my finished shirt.

Posted in Pepperell Library

Doctor Who Party – Bow Ties

Bow ties are cool.  Didn’t you know? It’s because the 11th Doctor wears bow ties. And we all want to be just like him, so… let’s make some bow ties! I’m wearing mine in my hair, but you could just as easily pin it to your shirt.

I’ve always been very stylish.

What You Need:

The photo is sideways, but still valid.
* 1 1/2″ wide ribbon
* 1/2″ wide ribbon
* Glue gun
*Bobby pin
*Needle and thread (optional)
Step 1:
Decide what size bow you would like; mine is about 4″ long, which seems like a good size for this width of ribbon.  Cut your ribbon twice the length of the tie you want, plus about half an inch to overlap.  (For my 4″ bow, I cut my ribbon just about 8 1/2″ long.)  Cut a piece of your thinner ribbon about 3″ long.
Step 2:
Fold your ribbon so that the two ends overlap. Using a drop of hot glue, carefully glue the ribbon to itself.
Step 3:
Accordion fold.
Accordion fold your ribbon, and either glue it together, or use your needle and thread to secure it.  If using a needle and thread, I find that it works well to sew completely through the fold, then wrap the thread around and tie it tightly.
It doesn’t matter what color thread you use, since it’ll be covered up.
Step 4:
Glue one end of the short ribbon to the top of the back (the glued side) of the bow, and wrap it completely around the middle, starting going down the back of the bow.  Glue the end of the ribbon to itself once it’s wrapped completely around.
Like this. Does this photo make sense?
Step 5:

Slide a bobby pin (or other fastener – an elastic, a headband, or an alligator clip would work) through the middle portion of the bow.  Attach and enjoy.

The Finished Product:


Posted in Pepperell Library

DIY YA: Book Safes

What’s a bibliophile to do when there are books that won’t be read anymore?  Turn them into art!

And give Batman a new place to hide.
We took old books that were never going to be read again and turned them into book safes.  (What’s a book safe?  It’s a book that looks normal on the outside but is hollow on the inside, so you can hide your treasures in it.)

Here’s what you need to make your own:
*  An old book, preferably one that isn’t worth anything
*  A box cutter or Exact-O knife
*  A ruler or other straight edge (we used large craft sticks)
*  Glue (we used tacky glue, but other kinds should work as well)
*  Water (to mix with the glue)
* A small cup (to mix the glue and water in)
* A paintbrush, preferably one that you can throw away after
* A piece of scrap paper big enough to cover a whole book page
Step One:
Choose your book.  Open it up by a chapter or two, so if someone opens the cover, it just looks like a normal book.  Mix the glue with just a little bit of water until it’s the consistency of paint.  Holding the book open, paint the outside edges of the book with the glue. 

Opening the book up by a chapter or so gives the hiding place some cover, if someone opens the cover.
Step Two:
Put your piece of scrap paper into the book on top of the glued pages, and close the book.  This is to keep the pages you glued from sticking to the pages before that point, so it won’t all stick together and glue the whole book closed.  Put your book under a few heavy books (we used dictionaries) and leave it to dry completely, if possible.  (When we did this craft at the library, we didn’t have time to let the glue dry completely, so we gave it about 20 minutes.)
Step Three:
Once your book is dry (or you’re tired of waiting), open the book and carefully remove the scrap paper.  Using your straight edge, draw a box around the part of the book that you want to hollow out, making sure it isn’t too close to the edges, since you want a nice, strong box. 

I traced around the words, since that seemed like a good size.
Step Four:
Being very careful, use your box cutter to cut down the lines you’ve drawn, making sure not to cut toward yourself.  I found it useful to cut perpendicular to myself, turning the book and repeating as necessary until the hollow space is as deep as you want it.  This can take a while, since you’re only cutting through a few pages at a time.  Have patience! If you’re getting frustrated,

it may be time to take a break and come back to it later.

Sometimes it’s helpful to cut diagonally to lift the pages out.
Step Five:
Once the hole is as deep as you’d like it to be, take your watery glue again and paint the insides of the cut edges of the book.  This is the time to repaint the outer edges of your book, if it came loose at all while you were working on the inside.
Step Six: 
Dry completely, and enjoy!
It doesn’t look like much? Good! It’s not supposed to!
A Few Notes:
* Corners are tricky.  I found it helpful to start in the corner and cut toward the middle, then start at the opposite corner and cut toward the middle.  It’s very hard to end a cut at the corner.
* If your pages have fuzzy edges, you can shave them down with the edge of the box cutter.
* Remember, you can always take a break and come back later.  This one takes some time.
Stay tuned for some of our upcoming DIY YA projects, including Galaxy shirts, Doctor Who crafts, and delicious flavored lip balm!