Thursday, November 14, 2013

Anime Club: Manga Bookmarks, Shrinky Dinks, and How Less Is More

When it comes to my group of anime teens and planning club activities, I have one motto: SIMPLIFY. When I first formed my club, I had champagne dreams with diet coke time and money. I went crazy pinning and created an entire Pinterest board to anime club ideas. One month, I really wanted to try block printing/stamp art. So I went out an ordered those Styrofoam takeout containers in bulk and spent an entire afternoon cutting off the tops to use as the stamp base. I went to the craft store and agonized about what color paint to buy (I settled on a unisex-friendly red). I spent my off-desk time experimenting with different paint brushes and which one would coat the stamp evenly. (I ended up with a mix of foam paint brushes and cheap foam paint rollers for those who want to try this craft.) Set-up the day of the program took me a good 45 minutes. I was so excited to do this awesome, elaborate craft with my anime teens, I thought for sure we would end up with stamps like this:

When the teens arrived for the meeting, I excitedly explained how to make the stamps. Then I put on some Black Butler and let them grab a snack. By the end of the meeting, I noticed that hardly any of the teens had completed the craft! When I asked if they like the activity, the said yes but they had gotten so distracted by the anime and just hanging out that they had forgotten about it! So much for all of my planning...

I learned a valuable lesson that day with my anime club: less is more. I had put all of this time and effort into an activity when really all they wanted was to get together and hang out and have a snack.

So after learning my lesson the hard way, I decided to try a less prep-intensive craft - manga bookmarks!

I had recently completed some weeding in my teen manga section and had a pile of older titles that I needed to do something with. Thanks to some inspiration from Pinterest, I decided to let the teens turn them into bookmarks.

Here's all you need:
My example.
  • Old manga to cut/tear up
  • Black cardstock cut into bookmark-sized pieces
  • Hold punches
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Embroidery floss or ribbon for tassels (optional)
  • Mod Podge to seal the bookmarks (optional - I didn't do this)
I set up a table with the manga and craft supplies in the back of the room. Then I briefly explained how to make the bookmarks and let them go. A lot of them asked if they could just take the manga home! It was a very easy and fun program to do.

Another fun and easy craft that I did last year were Shrinky Dink keychains. All you need for that is the following:
  • Shrinky Dink paper - (I used white glossy). Shrinky Dinks shrink to about 1/3 of their size so I estimated how small the pieces needed to be to be a good key chain size. Cutting the pieces of paper into fourths seemed work well.
  • Key chain rings - I found these at my local craft store in the jewelry-making aisle.
  • Sharpie markers - These work the best for coloring on the Shrinky Dink paper
  • Access to an oven/toaster oven - Because the instructions included with the Shrinky Dink paper give you a range for oven temperature, I made sure to test out a couple before the program. 
  • Scissors - I had some scissors available so the teens could cut out their design.
  • Hole punches
  • Jump rings - You can purchase these cheaply and in bulk from your local craft store.
  • Jewelry pliers - I bought several sets of cheap jewelry pliers from Amazon since I use them every month for my Book Club craft. You can also send out a staff email asking people to loan you theirs for the program.
My non-anime related example.

This activity was also a hit. As the teens completed their designs, they brought them up to me and when the cookie sheet was full, I baked a batch. I also gave them a warning near the end of the program since they do take time to bake. Again, very little prep and lots of payoff!

What other craft/activity ideas would you recommend for anime club?

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