Brace Yourself. School is Coming.

It’s almost here.

Some of you already have your backpack filled and your first-day-of-school outfit picked out. And some of you are planning to hide under your bed and hope that August 16 just gives up and goes away.

baby crying

Either way, it’s coming. You have a little over a week to get your stuff together, find your classrooms, and google your new teachers. (Does anyone else do that? No? Just me? Okay.)

If you’re like me, you have, in past years, spent the month before school in a crowded store hunting through disorganized shelves to find  the perfect prismatic penguin pencil pouch – only to discover they’re sold out. (Actually, it was a green unicorn trapper keeper, but that didn’t fit the alliteration thing I had going there.)


You can easily turn those boring, plain school supplies into unique pieces of usable art!  

Here are a few ideas to help you customize your school supplies!

  • Follow these WikiHow instructions to make a duct tape pencil case!
  • Visit Studio 300 to make some vinyl stickers for laptops, Chromebooks, phone cases, and more!  Bring in a few silhouette .jpg images on a USB drive.  There is a charge of $1 per foot of vinyl, but you can get a LOT of stickers in one foot!

Last-Minute Halloween Costumes You Can Make at Home

Oh noes!  Halloween is THIS Saturday!  And you don’t have a costume yet!  Aigh!  Whatever will you do?  Never fear; the Internet is here!  

Some of the best costumes are homemade ones.  The possibilities are endless!  Just think about all the stuff you have lying around that house that could be spookified!  But, if you’re having trouble coming up with some ideas, here’s a few to get those imaginative juices flowing.  And all of them can be made for under $10!

spider costume

photo courtesy of

Do you have a long-sleeved, black shirt?  How about 3 pairs of black panty hose and  some string?  You’ve totally got the makings of a spider costume!  Stuff the panty hose with polyfill or even newspaper to give them some shape.  (You could also use leggings instead of hose and just loosely sew up the foot holes.  You can easily remove the stitches later.)  Tie off the waists of each pair with string/yarn or sew them closed for a neater look.  Tie your spider legs together and to your own wrists as shown in the picture and TA-DA!  Instant spider.

minion costume

photo courtesy of

Feeling despicable?  Grab a yellow hat, yellow t-shirt, jeans, black ribbon (about 2″ thick) and 2 plastic or paper cups.  Loosely sew or glue the black ribbon around the rim of the yellow hat to make the band of the goggles.  Cut the cups so that there’s only about an inch of cup left at the bottom.  Paint the outside of the cup silver (or wrap in duct tape) and tape a black, paper circle of paper inside the cup to make the eye pupil.  Glue these two eyes to the ribbon google band and there’s your minion’s head.  To complete the costume, wear a yellow shirt and overalls or jeans with more black ribbon ties to the belt loops to simulate suspenders.  Black gloves add a nice touch.

grapes costume

photo courtesy of

Do you have a bunch of balloons left over from a party?  Wear clothes that match the balloons.  (Purple or green for a bunch of grapes, red for a raspberry, black for a blackberry.)  Then tape or tie the balloons onto your torso to resemble your chosen fruit.  If you want a stem, you can find a lot of different types of greenery at craft stores and dollar stores.

Pro Tip:  Don’t wear this one to school.

lego brick costume

photo courtesy of instructables

This one is super easy to make but it’s another one that you probably don’t want to wear to school.  Find a cardboard box that is large enough to fit around your entire body.  Cut a hole large enough for your head in the middle of one side.  Cut holes for your arms on 2 sides.  Glue plastic cups to form the nubs of the brick and then spray paint the whole thing!  Wear clothes to match your costume.

scarecrow costume

photo courtesy of

If I only had a brain.. I’d grab some ratty-looking, old clothes and a floppy hat to make the easiest Halloween costume EVER.  Old jeans, overalls, and long-sleeved shirts are best, but you could wear almost anything!  If you only have old sweatpants, say that you’re a jogging scarecrow.  Whatever. Be creative!   You can get some straw or hay from a craft store or garden center to really get the point across.  Or just tape some fall leaves to the cuffs of your shirt and pants to get a similar effect.  Add some “stitches” with face paint or eyeliner and you’re good to go!

Now that you’re all dressed up, make sure to come on out to the Vortex’s Costume Party on Friday, October 30 at 3pm!  We’ll have games, snacks, movies, and prizes!  You can register here!

Summer Adventure 2015: Draw, Paint, or Create Your Own Superhero

thick colored pencils on white background, isolatedEarn points for the Summer Adventure by drawing, painting, or creating your own superhero!

An easy way to get these points is to join the Teen Fan-Art Club!

It meets June 10th & 24th, July 8th & 22nd, and August 5th from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m!

Or you can join in on our Comic Book Art craft!

It is a one-time program on August 10th from 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.!

For those who prefer to work at home, the library also has plenty of books you can checkout to get inspired! Check out our list of recommended reading.  You can also find superhero crafts on our Pinterest page.