Bad Art Night: Library Program Outline

2Ages: Tweens, teens OR 20/30s
Duration: 1.5 hours
Style: Drop-in
Budget: $40


To provide a silly, surprising, and highly creative atmosphere with no pressure to make something “good.”


A freestyle craft event for tweens and teens (although I think it could run just as well as a 20/30s program). Everyone has access to a pile of ridiculous craft and art material. The “worst” piece of art will win a hideously tacky trophy and crown at the end of the night.

Participants can make as many pieces “Bad Art” (sculptures, paintings, collages, etc.) as they want, and in the final 20 minutes we’ll set up a Bad Art Exhibition. Everyone can browse and cast 3 votes for their favourite pieces of Bad Art. The winner gets the trophy. This program will appeal to the same type of tweens who attended the Wreck This Journal program last year.

Fun music plays during the whole event. A slide show of truly bad art (aka Pinterest Fails) is projected on the wall for inspiration.


  • Canvases
  • Paint
  • Wooden & Styrofoam forms
  • Glitter
  • funky tape
  • old magazines
  • clay
  • glue
  • rhinestones & stick on pearls
  • plastic animal figurines
  • dry noodles
  • markers, crayons, pencils, paper
  • boxes, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, etc.

Telephone Pictionary


Ice Breaker Activity (15-20 minutes)

How it works

Bad Art Session (45 minutes)

  • Freestyle access to craft materials
  • Volunteer adults manning the glue gun station
  • Fun music plays
  • Slide show of inspirational bad art projected onto wall
  • OPTIONAL: on one table a plastic crown can be collaboratively decorated by everyone. The winner will receive the crown.

Bad Art Exhibition

Exhibition (20-25 minutes)

  • Everyone picks their “best bad art” and sets it up on a long table
  • Cardstock tent labels are set up to display the names of each work of art
  • Every attendee is given 3 ballots and can cast votes for their favourite bad art

Guide to Bad Art

Award Ceremony (5 minutes)

  • While ballots are counted, snack & buttons are given out, photos are taken of all the Bad Art
  • Trophy (and optional crown) is dramatically presented to the creator of the Best Bad Art

Downloadable Resources:


8 thoughts on “Bad Art Night: Library Program Outline

  1. I did a Bad Art Night for teens at my library and it was a huge success! It was structured a little differently, but it was one of our most popular and well attended programs. One thing I would do differently next time is to separate age groups and offer the program for younger tweens/teens, and then again for older teens. I found the younger teens like to just make a mess (one 13-year-old just mixed about 7 different colors to make a brown muddy mess that pretty much destroyed her entire workspace), but the older teens tend to make actual pictures (one attempted Starry Night, and another recreated a popular animated meme). I would either host two separate groups so the younger ones can receive more detailed instruction, or make one of the rules be that the teens have to create a picture of *something*. I love your ideas though, and just might include some of them in my next round of Bad Art Night! Thanks for sharing!

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