Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Paper Flower Tutorial

There was a program a couple years ago at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference demonstration what could be done with old books, in terms of recycling them.  Last summer we had a teen craft program and paper flowers from old book pages was just one of the stations.  It is a pretty easy craft, so here's a quick tutorial.

Start with the following: 
1. An old book that has lived its life to the fullest.  Yes, you will be destroying it, but turning it into a thing of beauty.  However, a flower will have text visible, so be careful in your choice of books--that realistic language may be featured on your flower.
2. A template for a circle--anything will do.  I've just got the red cup here.
3. Pencil for drawing circles.  A pencil doesn't show up too horribly if you cut outside of the lines.
4. Decorative edge scissors--or you could free-hand some edge pattern for your flower pedals. 
5. A good stapler.

Next extract some pages from the book you've selected.  You will need 8 circles.  And don't be afraid of what's in your circles--just text, or a photo or graphic, or whatever. 

Now use those craft-edged scissors--can buy these just about anywhere. Pick an edge pattern you might like.  Different edges do give the finished flower a certain look.  Cut out your 8 circles, staying within the penciled lines.

Take your 8 circles and start stacking them.  Make sure that the text does not all line up the same way--it looks much better when you've got them varied. 
Get that good stapler, even if you have to snatch it off someone else's desk.  Staple twice to an "X" in the center of your flower circles.  No, it doesn't have to be perfect. 
Starting with the top layer, scrunch it up as illustrated above. This is no time to be delicate--be mean to that paper--really scrunch it, but don't tear or pull out the staples. 

Continue scrunching up the layers, one at a time.  By the time you're finished, your flower should look something like the illustration above.  If not, you haven't scrunched hard enough! 

Now peel your flower appart, starting with the bottom layer, and then one layer at the time up towards the top.  The idea is not to completey flatten each layer, and in fact the closer to the top layer, the more they should remain scrunched up.  It should look something like the illustrated flower above. 

 Hurray!  You have a paper flower from a recycled book page.  Now you know the technique, there's nothing stopping you from making this flower in different sizes, or out of different types of paper.  An old recycled map makes a fantastic paper flower.  You need to stay away from glossy paper--it isn't too forgiving when you scrunch your layers. You can also make a flower pin or apply your paper flower to anything else. 

 To make the flower pin pictured above--get some appropriately colored craft felt, cut it out for leaves.  Hot glue the felt to the bottom of the paper flower.  Next, find a pin back and hot glue that to the felt.  Best to let the glue cool between applications.

Now go forth and create!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

But it's in the catalog!

Recently on the Central Texas Library System listserv, there was a thread on what unually collections public libraries had.  Cake pans seemed to be predominent--Georgetown Public Library and Liberty Hill Library had them.  Really, how many times are you going to use that Big Bird cake pan? Years ago at Harris County Public Library in the Houston area, I was at a branch library that had a cataloged set of car jumper cables.  They were mostly used in the library's parking lot.

MsRuby's Flickr
So, what else is out there?  Ohio libraries have some unique holdings.  There's a educational toy collection at the Champaign County Library in Ohio, and also at the Cuyahoga County Public Library.  Another cake pan collection is available at Montpelier Public Library, and at the Hubbard Public Library. Canal Fulton Library has some equipment for check out--typical gaming stuff, but then there are the humane animal traps, binoculars, short wave radio and sewing machine. 

There's more out there--I just know it. But I just have to find it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dusting off the blog

From Wisconsin Historical Images
As part of ever-necessary continuing education, we're tackling this blog with a bit more ernest.  That means re-learning some things and starting fresh.  But hey, we're all about education and self improvement. 

So, I'll be doing some blog housekeeping and getting everything spick and span and shiny. 

"Spick and span" refers to an old sailing term, where a spick and span ship had all new nails or a spike/spick and all new wooden chips or spans.  Altogether, it means something is all brand new.
(Facts on File Dictionary of Cliches, 2nd edition.)