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The MCPL Blog: Arts and Crafts

The Fine Art of Envelope Decorating

decorated envelope

June 4, 2022

I previously wrote about the advantages of handwriting letters and as a follow up, I wanted to talk about decorating letters and envelopes. It’s easy to do, can be a lot of fun and makes the final product a little more unique. You can start off simple, soaking the paper in coffee, tea or food coloring to ‘age’ the paper and to add a light scent. Making your own envelope is fairly easy as well, which you can do using patterned or colored paper. 1. Start with a square piece of paper. I found it helpful to fold it corner to corner so I could see where the center was. 2. Take one corner and fold it to the center, fold the opposite corner so they meet in the middle. 3. Fold the...

Adults Arts and Crafts Children Teens Tweens Writing

DIY @ Home Craft: Handmade Journal

two handmade journals

November 17, 2020

As winter approaches and the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many folks are focusing on mental health. Journaling has been shown to have really positive mental health benefits, and can be a positive outlet for getting out your thoughts and feelings. Plus, with a new year approaching, it’s also a great time to get organized and think about goals going forward. Here are two options to make your own homemade journal or notebook, using common household materials:   Basic Homemade Journal: Supplies: Plain paper or cardstock Patterned scrapbook paper or cardstock Scissors or paper cutter Hole punch Twine, string, or yarn Steps: 1. Cut pieces of regular printer paper or cardstock...

Adults Arts and Crafts Teens Tweens

DIY @ Home Craft: Collage for Beginners!

example of a collage project

May 20, 2020

You want to collage - but where to start? Collage can be a great artistic medium to experiment with because it can be anything you want it to be! Collage affords you the ability to be messy, be creative, have fun and not have to focus too much on how “nice” your project looks. The very nature of collage also allows you to more easily cover up any parts of your project that you are unhappy with. There are a few different ways to approach your collage projects, which I'll briefly cover below. Intuitive With intuitive collage, you pull pieces that you’re drawn to, gather them all, and determine if there’s a pattern or a way to bring them all together. To do this, flip through magazines and cu out things...

Adults Arts and Crafts

DIY @ Home Craft: Egg Carton Animals

egg carton bunny and chick

May 13, 2020

A fun craft to do while at home with the family, these egg carton animals are an adorable and a cute way to use empty cardboard egg cartons. Since the craft requires a lot of cutting, it is best for older kids, teens and adults, or smaller children wtih adult supervision and assistance.  We'll show you how to make both a rabbit and a chick, though with a little imagination and ingenuity, you can improvise and make a variety of different animals. For this craft, you'll need...  Supplies: •  1 cardboard egg carton •  Scissors •  Acrylic paints and paintbrushes •  Glue •  1 white Pom Pom •  Other decorations or details you want to add...

Arts and Crafts

DIY @ Home Craft: Colored Paper Spinners

colored paper spinners

May 6, 2020

If you're looking for a colorful way to occupy your time, you can craft your own homemade toy that encompass elements of both art and science! Supplies needed: Printed template of circles String (ribbon or twine can also be used) Thin cardboard or heavy cardstock Markers, crayons or colored pencils Glue Scissors Steps: Cut a string to a length of 15 inches. Set aside for later. Print out the template of circles. Using crayons, markers or colored pencils, draw an artistic design of your choosing on each circle. The design can be the same on both circles or different - the choice is yours! Cut out each of the circles. Use a scissors to cut out or puncture the two black dots...

Arts and Crafts Children

DIY @ Home Craft: Make Your Own BB-8!

example of bb-8 craft

May 4, 2020

Do you love BB-8? You know, the round, adventurous droid from the latest trilogy of Star Wars films? Now you can make one at home - and he even rolls, just like the real one! Just follow the steps below and you'll soon have your own little companion to travel the galaxy with! Supplies: •  1 paper plate •  1 printable template •  1 paper fastener •  1 long piece of cardboard •  Masking tape •  Crayons, markers or colored pencils •  Hole punch   Steps: 1. Print out and color your template for the top of your BB-8. Make sure to print out a template that matches the size of the paper plates you have at home....

Arts and Crafts

DIY @ Home Craft: Chromatography Butterflies

chromatography butterflies

May 2, 2020

Let the kids bring a little color into your home with chromatography butterflies!  This easy craft (and science experiment) can be done at home using items you probably already have!  Just take a look at the list of supplies below and get started! Supplies: •  Coffee filters •  Water-based markers (such as Crayola) •  A small cup •  Water •  Pipe cleaners •  Clothes pins First, a little science!  Experiment Steps:   1. Color a coffee filter with different blocks of color. The more color you use the more vibrant your filter will be. 2. Fold your colored filter in half, and then in half again creating a pie...

Arts and Crafts Children

DIY @ Home Craft: Paper Bag Kites

brown paper bag kite

April 28, 2020

Blustery spring days are here! When the wind starts to blow, why not take advantage of it and go fly a kite? If you don't have one on-hand, that's okay - you can easily make one using some common household supplies and craft supplies! Just follow the simple steps below to create your own paper bag kite. Then, get outside and test it out! Supplies: •  Brown paper lunch bags •  Yarn, ribbon or streamers •  Popsicle sticks or wooden tongue depressors •  Scissors •  Scotch tape •  Crayons, markers, stamps, stickers, paints or other supplies to decorate your kite   Steps: 1. Using crayons, markers stamps, stickers paints...

Arts and Crafts

DIY @ Home Craft: Tissue Paper Flowers

three tissue paper flowers

April 27, 2020

It's said that April showers bring May flowers, but you don't have to wait for May to bring some floral color into your home! Our Rothschild Branch originally had planned to offer a DIY craft event for adults on May 5 that would show them how to make paper flowers in a variety of crafting styles. Since that event has been canceled due to our current closure, we're going to show you how to do it at home instead! Just follow the steps below, and you'll soon have a handful of bright, colorful flowers to enjoy (and best of all, they won't wilt or need to be watered!) Supplies: •  Tissue paper (use a variety of colors for best results) •  Scissors •  Staples or string (...

Arts and Crafts

Celebrate National Poetry Month with your own magnetic poetry set!

ransom note magnetic poetry set

April 22, 2020

April is National Poetry Month, and we have a fun and creative poetry-related project that you can make at home (and it might even help you write your next poem!) In this blog post, we'll walk readers through how they can make their own magnetic poetry set - with a twist. This magnetic poetry set is done in the style of a ransom note, made from cut out words from a variety of magazines or catalogs. Once completed, the set can be placed on any magnetic surface, such as a refrigerator, and you can then move the words around to create poems! Supplies:  -Glossy magazines and catalogs (having a variety will work best) -Scissors (use a smaller scissors, which will help when cutting out smaller words...

Arts and Crafts National Poetry Month Poetry

Feeling stressed? Try Zentangle art!

zentangle art

April 21, 2020

As we are staying Safer At Home and “flattening the curve,” some of us may be feeling stressed or anxious. Some may be feeling depressed or frustrated, or perhaps even frightened. In times like this, one needs to find a way to relieve some of these negative feelings. I'd like to share with you one of my favorite creative and meditative hobbies. It's called Zentangle art. Zentangle is an easy-to-learn and relaxing method of drawing using structured patterns called “tangles.” Plus, the only supplies you need is pencil and paper! There are formal ways to tangle, but I prefer the informal method of just drawing. I start Zentangle-ing by picking a tangle or pattern, then start drawing. As I...

Arts and Crafts

Create with Me: Spring Bunny Banner

spring bunny banner craft table

April 21, 2020

Spring is here, and you can give your home some seasonal flair by making a simple banner using standard craft supplies and items found around your home, like cotton balls and paper lunch bags! Watch our video tutorial below, or follow along with the included written instructions, and you'll have a completed banner in no time!           Supplies: Paper lunch bags (paper grocery bags or scrapbook paper work, too) White pompoms (cotton balls or white circles of paper can be used, too) Green pipe cleaners (or strips of green paper) Orange marker (or an orange crayon, color pencil, or paint) Twine (or yarn or ribbon) Pencil Scissors Scotch...

Arts and Crafts

DIY @ Home Craft: Jelly Bean Creations

jelly bean and toothpick cube

April 14, 2020

This time of year, you might see an abundance of jelly beans at the store. Not only can these make for a sweet treat, but you can also use them to build and create! If your family is looking for a creative STEM idea to engage in while at home, try building with jellybeans! This craft requires simple supplies found in most homes and can be adapted as needed. Just follow the steps below and, before you know it, you'll be a jellybean architect! You will need jellybeans (preferably large jellybeans, though small ones work, too!) and toothpicks. If you don't have jelly beans or toothpicks on hand, you can use dried spaghetti noodles and marshmallows instead. Carefully, poke the jellybean with one...

Arts and Crafts Children

DIY @ Home Craft: Rubber Band and Yarn Stamping

completed example of rubber band stamping

April 13, 2020

Today's craft comes from an event we originally had scheduled for March 26 at our Rothschild Branch, where kids could make their own rubber band or yarn stamps. This craft requires simple supplies found in most homes. Just follow the steps below and your family will be making art in no time! Rubber Band Stamping Supplies needed: Cardboard tubes Rubber bands Paper Paint/paint daubers Steps: Wrap rubber bands around tubes Apply paint to the rubber bands Roll tubes on paper to make different designs   Yarn Stamping Supplies needed: Cardboard Yarn Glue Paper Paint   Steps: In pencil, outline any design you choose for your...

Arts and Crafts

Find art in nature with spring rock hunting!

painted rocks

April 9, 2020

Spring is finally here!  Take advantage of the beautiful days ahead and get a break from being cooped up at home by going for a walk in one of our local parks while also practicing safe social distancing. While you are out, watch for some colorful rocks that are hidden around town. When you find a decorated rock, take a picture of it and then hide it in a different spot so others can find it. There are even some local Facebook groups where you can post your picture of the rock you found, including “Wausau Rocks,” “Wausau Area Rocks” and “Wisconsin Rocks!” If you're feeling inspired to create your own painted rocks, there are a couple of books available through Wisconsin's Digital...

Arts and Crafts

DIY @ Home Craft: Bracelet Yarn Weaving

thumbs up with a yarn-woven bracelet

April 7, 2020

If you've got some yarn, straws, scissors and tape laying around the house, you're in luck! That's all you need to make a cool, colorful bracelet of your own design! Supplies: •  At least 3 straws (can use more than three for wider bracelet) •  Scissors •  Masking Tape •  Yarn   Steps: 1. Tape the ends of three straws together. 2. Cut three pieces of yarn, each three times longer than the straws in length (about 22 inches each). 3. Thread yarn through each straw. A wooden skewer or knitting needle is helpful to push the yarn through the straws. Knot the ends of the three pieces of yarn together. Leave extra yarn (2-3 inches) after your knot...

Arts and Crafts

Create with Me: Spring Bunny Craft

Materials needed for Create with Me Bunny Craft

April 2, 2020

Springtime is a time when bunnies and pastels come to mind, and we have the perfect craft that adults and kids alike can make, no matter their artistic skill level. Best of all, this craft is pretty flexible in terms of what you can use for materials, and nearly everything required can be found in your home! This craft can be done as a collage, crayon drawing, or with spare strings of yarn. Take a look at the step-by-step video we've created for you below, or refer to the included list of instructions.      Supplies This craft will require... - Printable bunny template - Scissors - Pencil - Paper or cardstock - Scotch tape - Scrap pieces of yarn, crayons, or scrapbook...

Arts and Crafts

Get Ready for Chalkfest!

colored chalk

July 7, 2018

Next weekend finds us smack dab in the middle of summer and time for Wausau’s annual “Big Weekend,” consisting of Wausau Events’ Balloon & Rib Fest and Chalkfest. This event has been held every year for the past 15 years and has become a staple of summertime in Wausau. Hundreds of artists will work tirelessly in the heat (and sometimes in some rain showers) to work on their creations, adorning downtown Wausau’s 400 Block with cartoon characters, celebrity portraits, inspiring messages and more. Registration for this year’s Chalkfest has already sold out, as it often does. But if you want to work on your skills for next year’s event (or just see what you can do on your own driveway or sidewalk), check...

Books Arts and Crafts Community Events

Make your own pipe cleaner pet!

pipe cleaner pets

February 28, 2017

Kids visited our Wausau Headquarters recently to celebrate a day off of school with some pet-themed activities and crafts. One of the crafts involved making “pipe cleaner pets” using just a few simple items. Folks who missed that event can still make a pet of their own by following the directions below! Supplies: Scissors, pipe cleaners, pencil, tape. Instructions: Wrap a pipe cleaner around the pen or pencil to form a spiral. Leave a straight, unwrapped section at each end of the pipe cleaner to act as the neck and the tail. Slide the pencil out and set it aside. Using a scissors, cut out one of the pet faces seen here. Tape it on the “neck” end of the pipe cleaner. Using another pipe...

Newsletter Children Arts and Crafts

Pamper Yourself with Homemade Relaxation Products!

January 26, 2017

Last week, we held a program for teens and adults at our Mosinee Branch focused on making two homemade relaxation products: a coconut oil salt scrub and a stress-relieving foot soak. If you missed that program, you can now make the items yourself using the provided instructions below!  Both items seemed to go over well to those who came to the event. The process of making both the salt scrub and the foot soak were a bit messy, and scented our library for a while (in a good way!) Everyone had a great time and appreciated the safe, homemade items they got to take home with them.  Homemade Coconut Oil Salt Scrub Ingredients: 2 cups coconut oil 1 cup Epsom salt 20 drops of...

Library Branches Arts and Crafts Events

Creative events for adults!

colored pencils

December 15, 2015

Each month, library staff make efforts to provide hands-on craft activities for children at all nine MCPL locations. But in 2016, we’re planning to give adults more opportunities to get creative as well! In Wausau, this includes our monthly “Knit Night” and “Inside the Lines” coloring parties, as well as other, one-time craft activities. Many of our branches are offering craft events for adults as well, such as Hatley’s “Needle Arts Night,” Stratford’s  “Quilting in the Afternoon,” Spencer’s “Crocheting 101” and additional “Inside the Lines” events at Mosinee and Stratford. We will, of course, continue to offer craft events for kids, and we don’t expect anything at these adult craft events to be...

Newsletter Arts and Crafts Events

Never Counted Out

teenagers talking at a table

April 6, 2015

Teens, have you ever felt like your voice wasn’t heard?  Or were there times when you spoke out about your truth?  Now you have the opportunity to share these by submitting an essay, poem, graphic novel or photograph about these times to Never Counted Out, a website created to connect teens with artists and writers.  Never Counted Out is the brain child of novelist, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, the author of Fat Angie.  e.E created the website after connecting with a depressed teen writer, after his teacher shared is creative writing sample with her.  When e.E. talked with young writer, she felt like she had made a special connection with him and wanted to create opportunities for other...

Arts and Crafts Teens Writing

Pixels and Pages Teen Magazine

July 16, 2013

The long wait is over! The 2013 edition of Pixels & Pages features works of art and creative writing from teens all across Marathon County. Print copies are available at your local library. Click the image to the left to access the new issue online. After you’ve finished reading this year’s magazine, don’t forget to submit your work for next year.  During the past year, teens from Marathon County submitted more than 100 pieces of creative writing and visual art. Teen and staff judges selected a variety of pieces to be published in this magazine. Students from Wausau East High School's Graphic Communications III class prepared the material for publication. The magazine,...

Arts and Crafts Writing Teens

Art Cluster 2012

Art Cluster 2012 sign

March 1, 2012

Beautiful, colorful student artwork from Wausau School District’s Art Cluster 2012 is transforming the Children’s area @MCPL Wausau.  The students this year were challenged to create self portraits.  The fourth graders did acrylic paintings on canvas and fifth graders made life masks using plaster tape.   The life masks were painted after formation and many students incorporated many found objects in their sculptures.   Several of the self portraits include mixed media and are wonderful to see.  The reception is Saturday, March 3 beginning at 11:30.  This artwork will be displayed during the month of March.   You won’t want to miss this opportunity...

Arts and Crafts Children

Regional Art Exhibit

February 22, 2012

Hurry in. It is Youth Art Month.  You will not want to miss the Northcentral Region Art Exhibition on the second floor @MCPL Wausau.  Represented are works of art from students in grades K-12.  You are invited to a reception that will be held this Saturday, Feb 25 from 1:00-3:00.   Winning artwork will go to Madison.  Pictured artwork is by Andrew Murdaugh (12th grade, Stratford) titled “B-Man the Tractor Man”. 

Children Arts and Crafts

Imaginative Murals Speak to You

detail of children's mural

August 16, 2011

You will be amazed at the wonderful, imaginative colorful murals that have hit the walls in the Children’s area @Wausau.  These tempera paint murals were created collaboratively by students in grades K-5 at Hawthorn Hills Elementary School, under the direction of art specialist, Steve Loftus.  Students were challenged to integrate their themes with illustrations from story books and include science, social studies, history, and math.  All students needed to contribute by drawing or painting. Older fourth and fifth grade students drew animals, people, objects, architectural elements and natural objects like flowers, birds,  and fish.  Third and fourth grade students painted and...

Arts and Crafts Children

Bird Artwork @ Wausau

2011 Art Cluster: Bird Artwork

March 5, 2011

You won't want to miss the beautiful bird artwork in the Children's area.   The bird paintings and metallic bird sculptures are @ the Wausau location courtesy of the students (and teachers) who participated in the Gifted and Talented Art Cluster, 2010-2011, Wausau School District. The Fourth Grade students painted their interpretation of a bird using acrylic paint on canvas.  They repeated the bird's color and pattern.  The individual paintings are hung together to form one large bird scene. The Fifth Grade students were inspired by the artist Helen Ward.  They created a metallic bird sculpture out of paper mache' material and other found...

Children Arts and Crafts

Wanted: Teen Artists and Writers!

December 6, 2010

Give us your best work for Marathon County Public Library's Teen Publishing Project! Submit artwork, poetry, stories, and essays for publication on our website and the chance to be featured in our second annual magazine. (Click here to see last year's magazine).   Hurry! Time is running out! Entries must be in by December 31, 2010. Click here to submit your work online, or if you'd rather submit a paper copy, click here for a printable submission form. You can check out the entries we've already published online, and see the complete rules at Call (715) 261-7200 or email for more info.

Teens Writing Arts and Crafts

Beautiful ABC's

November 24, 2010

Thanks to students in Ryan Priebe’s art class at John Muir Middle School in Wausau,  the Library @ Wausau  has wonderful, original artwork to mark sections of Fiction books in the Teen Zone.    The letters  “A” by Danielle K. and “B” drawn by Alex S. are pictured here.   Other artists’ alphabet works on display are by Adam B., Renee H., Rachel S., Brad H., Miranda B., PJ Y., Tanner B., Curtis B., Patrick H., Samantha N., Kirsten M, Zenas L., Sydney H., and Miranda C. The artistic “letters” will be on display through the end of the school year, and new creations  will be in MCPL Teen Zone the following school year. Come and see these, and the rest of the...

Arts and Crafts Teens

Join the Friends of the Library!

painting artwork

November 17, 2010

Festival of the Arts in Wausau is an exciting time. Just a few months ago, the downtown area was brimming with potters, painters, paper-makers and more. Rich colors and textures filled booths lining the sides of 3rd Street and the Square. Now some of those very works of art are hanging on the walls of the Marathon County Public Library for you to take home and enjoy. How did that happen? Because the Friends of Marathon County Public Library provided funding. The Friends of MCPL is a volunteer organization. Our purpose is to support the library by promoting and improving library services in Marathon County. To the Friends, supporting the library means providing circulating artwork. And much more. Friends...

Libraries Arts and Crafts Newsletter

"Around Our Mountain" Artwork

bird art

May 25, 2010

Come to MCPL Wausau and see the "Pulp to Paper" artwork display from students from area schools. More than 50 students, primarily with disabilities, learned the art of papermaking and paper arts sculpture. Using the theme, "Around Our Mountain", students created artwork responding to the question, "What does Rib Mountain say to you about the environment?" Their answers are depicted by their artistic creations as well as embossed into their creations. Participating schools in the VSA Arts of Wisconsin project include Franklin Elementary School, John Muir Middle School, Horace Mann Middle School, and D.C. Everest Senior High School. The mission of VSA Arts of Wisconsin is to expand the capabilities,...

Arts and Crafts Children

Come See The Beautiful Artwork!

February 24, 2010

March is Youth Art Month, and the Wausau library is once again lucky to be the location for the Art Cluster exhibition, a display of projects created in special art sessions by the gifted and talented 4th and 5th graders in the Wausau School District.  Our the Children's Library in Wausau has been transformed into a dazzling array of color and pattern.  The 5th graders studied form and line before creating fantastic metal sculptures, like the moose pictured here, out of colored wire and a variety of other materials.  The 4th graders learned to use repeated patterns in their beautiful acrylic-on-canvas paintings of butterflies. Everyone is welcome to come to the Children's Library...

Children Arts and Crafts