Programming on the Cheap: Make a Minion Army


Sometimes, programs just pop into your head as the solution to a problem.  A few summers ago, I was helping my coworker cut up plastic water bottles.  The top part can be cut into a flower shape and painted.  But I was left with all of the water bottle bottoms.  I didn’t want to just recycle them, so I looked, and thought, and looked some more at the shape.  I knew I’d seen that squat little shape before and … BANANA!  The Make A Minion program was born.

This program is super easy, super cheap, and requires very little artistic ability on the part of the librarian (thankfully for me!).  It allows teens to express themselves and to engage in that sort of kidlike behavior that they secretly love.

So what do you need to make your own minion?

  • Cheap plastic water bottles
  • tissue paper or other colored paper
  • Sharpies
  • googly eyes
  • pipe cleaners
  • hot glue
  • duct tape (optional)

The first thing you need to do is collect the water bottles.  I don’t know about you, but when we put out a call for materials among the staff, we are inundated with recyclables.  The best kind of water bottle is the ultra-cheap kind, not Dasani.  The thinner and more flexible the plastic, the easier it will be to cut.

The most tedious part of this process is cutting the bottles in half.  I use an X-Acto knife and just slice the circumference of the bottle.  Donate the tops to a coworker for flower crafts.  😉

Then, it’s really up to the teens’ creativity!  Use the tissue paper or colored paper to create the body color of the minion (I put out purple, blue, and yellow) and stuff it inside the bottle.

Add a googly eye (or more than one) with hot glue and outline it with a Sharpie.  Draw on a mouth and top it off with a sprig of pipe-cleaner hair.  Use paper or duct tape to cover the minion’s bottom so his stuffing doesn’t fall out.

This is a teen-made minion!

Once the teens got past their initial shyness, they loved creating their own minions with unique names.  One teen even made a comb and bottle of hair gel for his minion, who had serious hair.

minion hair

Have fun!

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