LEWISTOWN - Alex Shoemaker and Olivia Graham are a pair of young business partners who are excited to be in a sticky situation.
The seventh-grade students at Mifflin County Middle School are on a mission to help their community - armed with a little creativity and more than 100 rolls of duct tape.
Together, Shoemaker and Graham design and create bracelets, wallets and other items from duct tape. The colorful accessories are sold to students at their school and proceeds from the sales are donated to a different charity each month, Shoemaker said.
Sentinel photos by JULIANNE CAHILL
Alex Shoemaker, left, and Olivia Graham, center, show friend, Jamie Mahigel, their duct tape bracelet designs and crafts Thursday morning at Mifflin County Middle School. Shoemaker and Graham sell the items to raise money for a different charity each month.
The project began in October after the friends discovered their mutual hobby.
"Alex came up with the idea because me and him both like duct tape (crafts)," Graham said.
Each student has a personal collection of various tape designs and colors they use to make the items.
Though the friends create a variety of duct tape accessories every month, they agree that braided bracelets are their favorite to make and have become their best seller.
"We use every single color and pattern (of tape)," Shoemaker said about the bracelets.
Each project takes between five minutes to an hour to make, he said. Band bracelet and braid bracelet designs are the quickest, but students can also special order wallets and purses, he explained. The friends also make hair bows mounted on bobby pins and other specialty projects, like a canvas silhouette that Shoemaker created on Wednesday night.
Every item sold by the friends is a hand-crafted original, Shoemaker said.
"We came up with the designs ourselves," he explained. "We both cut out the duct tape by hand and braid it."
Each morning, Shoemaker and Graham arrive at the middle school early to set up a table of their latest creations for sale. Graham said bracelets cost $1 and money earned is saved for each month's selected charity. Specialty projects, like wallets and purses, cost $3 to $7, Shoemaker said.
By the end of October, the duo sold enough bracelets to donate $75 in proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Shoemaker said November's proceeds, which total about $50, will be donated to the Salvation Army, and December proceeds will be given to Rescue Our Furry Friends.
"We're just trying to help out different organizations, and it's fun to make the bracelets," Graham said.
For more information about the project or to purchase items from the students, email Alex Shoemaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.