Holiday Hacks: Makerspace Crafts

Take inspiration from these creative librarians and other crafters this holiday season. Video: How to make a folded magazine Christmas tree.

Library staff at the James McConnell Memorial Library in Sydney, Nova Scotia, made these clever Holiday ornaments (left) by filling clear glass and plastic ornaments with shredded book pages. They cut book pages into strips and curled them around a pencil to give the strips their shape. Next, they put the put the curls in the ornaments and added decorative ribbon to the top. Their most popular ornaments had recognizable book pages inside, such as “Harry Potter” or colorful Dr. Seuss books. Pages from maps, music sheets, or dictionary pages also work well if you don't feel comfortable shredding a book.

Ketta Lubberstedt-Arjes and Nicole Schwieger from the Kendall Young Library in Webster City, IA, crafted an adorable Christmas tree (right) from old book pages and craft supplies they had around the library. The tree was made using a kabob skewer poked into a corkboard base and secured with hot glue. Using scalloped scissors, they pre-cut book pages into squares from largest to smallest. They created 11 different square sizes, the largest measuring 6" x 6" and the smallest, 1" x 1". In addition, they pre-cut about 50 squares of each size ahead of time for participants. Starting with the largest ones first (about three sheets per layer) and working their way up with the smaller ones, they poked each layer though the skewer and rotated the pages 90 degrees each time. They continued adding pages from largest to smallest until they reached the smallest layer, and finished the tree by hot-gluing a gold painted start to the top. The craft was inspired by a Martha Stewart activity .


Kids made these playful pop-up cards (above) during a drop-in program at the Rancho Santa Margarita (CA) Library. Beforehand, volunteers helped cut out images such as snowmen, trees, gingerbread men, menorahs, dreidels, and stars from construction paper with a die-cut machine. When the kids arrived, staff showed them how to cut out lines on card stock and fold them inward to make them pop up. The children selected their own images and glued them inside the cards. They added a large piece of construction paper to the outside to hide the holes from the popups. The library also provided decorations including glitter, stickers, and bows for the kids.


The November Craft Club at the Stoughton (WI) Public Library included instruction in metal and leather stamping last year (left). Patrons made keychains, earrings, and decorative items by cutting shapes out of leather and soft metals, such as tin. Patrons used a set of capital and lowercase letters and hammers from kits to pound words and designs into the materials. To make jewelry, they carefully cut shapes from decorative tin with metal-cutting shears and sanded the edges until they were smooth.


Andy Plemmons, SLJ 2014 School Librarian of the Year Finalist and creator of the Expect the Miraculous website, hosted a Winter Design Challenge with his students at the David C. Barrow Elementary in Athens, GA, using the app Blockify. Plemmons printed out eight-bit style winter holiday images to prompt ideas and encouraged students to design something in 3-D that represented winter and referred to Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Designs included a menorah and a snowman (above left and right), later printed on a 3-D printer. Follow Andy on Twitter: @plemmonsa


Chelsey Odgers shared these crafts in the blog For the Love of Learning. The Hanukkah garland (above left) features felt dreidels that holds gelt for each of the eight days of Hanukkah. The Kwanzaa display (above right) includes a crafted ear of corn; traditionally, one ear of corn is placed on the table for each child in the family. Check out tutorials for these ideas and more.

Kids at the Zula B. Wylie Public Library in Cedar Hill, TX, made these creative trees and ornaments (right) at a "Crafternoon" program. Staff spray-painted pinecones green and provided craft glue, glitter glue, ribbon, gems, and sticker foam for children to decorate and personalize their own trees. For the ornaments, kids glued multi- colored tissue squares onto ornament-shaped cutouts and added stick-on gems. Both crafts were incredibly easy and popular with for all ages, staff say.


Arielle Goddard has been an arts educator for 20 years in Los Angeles and has a mobile art studio and blog called ART CAMP. She made festive holiday cards (left) using card stock and washi tape. To make your own, check out her tutorial and follow her on Instagram for examples and ideas.


Fun-to-make "Ugly Holiday Sweater Ornaments" (right) were part of a holiday craft event at the Pemberton Community Library in Browns Mills, NJ. Staff found a sweater template on Google and shrank it, traced the template on felt, and cut out little sweaters. They made tiny hangers from paper clips, which they carefully fed through holes in the sweater shoulders so the sweaters could hang from mini trees. Kids decorated the sweaters using fabric markers and felt stickers.


The Saint Mary's Public Library in Saint Marys, Ontario, Canada, offered an after-hours craft event (left) where patrons painted holiday-themed canvases. The library provided the supplies, and participants painted from one of the library's templates or chose their own design.


The Newton (IA) Public Library offers a monthly arts and crafts program for adults. For this snowman craft (right), the library invited Katie Craney, an art teacher with the Newton School District, to guide the class. The library purchased canvas boards and paint and attendees were responsible for bringing aprons. The instructor and Rebecca Klein, librarian is in charge of adult programming, worked together to select a painting project that fitted into a two-hour time slot, and whomever teaches the class breaks the design down into simple step-by-step instructions. The classes are always free and wildly popular.

WATCH: Katie Darty makes a folded magazine tree

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