Galaxy Jar Workshop in the Library – Program Outline

 

Cool craft alert! Out of all the many many summer programs I’m running this year, the Galaxy Jars registration filled the fastest by far. I personally love the craft – it’s imaginative, beautiful, fun, and just the right amount of messy. When I brought my galaxy jar examples during my class visit blitz, they got a ton of “oohs” and “ahhs,” with kids barely believing that they could make one of those themselves (it helps that they look a bit like slime from a far…)

I ran 2 one hour long workshops with a max of 20 kids in each – in one day 40 kids became galaxy jar creators, with a full waitlist of more kids! I will definitely be running this workshop again soon.

Here’s how I did it.

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Materials:

  • mason jars (one per kid)
  • cotton balls or polyester filler (enough to fill each mason jar)
  • paint
  • glitter
  • star sequins or confetti
  • cups (one per kid, for mixing paint and water)
  • plastic spoons (for mixing, and for squishing cotton balls)

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Step by Step:

  1. Everyone grabs a handful of cotton balls – enough to fill one third of the jar – and stuffs them into the jar. They can use their spoons to press the cotton together.
  2. Taking turns, table by table, everyone comes to the station at the front. They choose a colour for the bottom level, and you put a dollop into their cup. Add a splash of water (1/4cup – 1 cup, depending on the size of your jars). Kids can also add glitter to their cup.
  3. Everyone mixes the paint and water up.
  4. Pour the mixture into the jar, and use the spoon to compress the cotton balls again.
    • There should be enough mixture to soak into all the cotton balls
  5. Add a new layer of fresh cotton balls to fill the next third of the jar
  6. Again, everyone takes turns getting a new colour of paint, water, and glitter. They mix it up, and pour it over their jar.
  7. Add the final layer of cotton balls to fill the rest of the jar, and one last time, repeat the colour mixture steps.
  8. Kids can decorate the lids using rhinestone stickers, and can tie on a label with the name of their galaxy.

Personally, I think that a combination of blue, pink, purple, and white with iridescent glitter looks amazing, but I really loved some of the other colour combinations that kids thought out. A couple kids did orange, yellow, peach, and red which turned out stunning.

I’ve included a little instruction section at the end of my Galaxy Jars video.

 

 

Room Set Up

I set up tables with enough seats for 20 kids, with two tables at the front. One was the Colour Lab, and the other was the Glitter Station. Each spot had a jar, cup, and spoon. Each table had rhinestone stickers, a box of cotton balls, and star sequins.

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Why It’s Great

I find a lot of crafts we do at libraries are focused on the process, rather than the outcome. Of course, process is important for early development and for learning crafting skills. I love this craft because the process is fun and educational, and the final product is gorgeous!

It was interesting to hear the thought process from kids when picking colours. I encouraged everyone to think about which colours would work well together, and explained how the process allowed for the colours to bleed together. When picking at the Colour Lab, I let kids choose up to 3 colours to mix together.

Some kids wanted to make their galaxy look as realistic as possible, others wanted to use their favourite colours, others used multiple tones of the same colour, and a couple kids decided to make a Sunset Jar instead. Next time I do this workshop I’m going to make a powerpoint cycle to project with hi-def photos of real galaxies and their real names. I might even include a couple sunset photos for inspiration! Yes, I will edit this post to include the PowerPoint šŸ˜‰

Naming our galaxies was an interesting process too – some kids named them metaphorically after what the jar looked like (Galaxy of Jellybeans, Cotton Candy Galaxy, The Galaxy of Doodoo), some named them after what the jar made them feel like (Galaxy of Good Dreams, Galaxy of Peace), and other named them after real galaxies (The “Watery” Way).

To sum up, this is my new favourite program, and I’m so happy that I discovered the craft! Look at these happy creators:

 

 

Galaxy Jar Resources

Galaxy Jars are a moderately trendy craft on Pinterest. Here are a few resources that I took inspiration from when creating my program plan:

Let me know if you have any questions about this program – I’m happy to help! As always, if you use my program guide to repeat the program, please link back to me. I love sharing resources, and I love seeing what other people do with them.

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