DIY Makerspace

Let’s get started on planning an at-home maker space that will knock your socks off! 

I wonder how it will do that… Does it need a big fan to blow them off…

Ok focus we’re talking about maker spaces here.  Flexible to meet your space and age needs but loaded with opportunities.  First the basics –

What IS a Makerspace?

Makerspace is a bit of a buzzy, jargon word these days in education and STEAM.   Really it is just a collaborative space with tools and supplies to build, brainstorm, and get creative!

Usually Makerspaces are in community collaborative areas like a library or school but we think they are PERFECT for home.  We encourage you to be collaborating together as a family and friends.  Building and problem-solving together is super bonding time.  You know, because it involves so much glue! 🤪

A tech building soldering space
Makerspace cart Kevin Jarett CC BY 2
Rolling cart Makerspace in the Byrum MS STEM Lab - Photo by Kevin Jarrett CC BY 2.0

Let's Talk Space

Before we get into WHAT to put in your Makerspace, let’s talk about what you need space wise.

Fit to Your Size

One of the best parts of a Makerspace is that it is flexible to your space needs.  Your space may be a box that can hide under your bed when you are not using it.  Or it can be a dedicated space with all the bells and whistles.  The  most important part is having some way for kids to easily access materials and space.

Keep it Organized

It will be more efficient and useful if you have it organized, rather than a bunch of loose stuff in a tub.

Consider using all those old food containers so you don’t have to buy new organizers.

Be Safe

Your space must be away from heavy things that can be knocked over such as tall shelving that has not been secured.  Also with no toxic or dangerous chemicals such as acetone, bleach, etc.  (You know, standard kid safety things.)

If there is something you want available for your kids to use such as super glue, alcohol, or other age-inappropriate materials, make sure they are locked in a child-proof cabinet or lock box.

Unfinished Friendly

Dedicate a place where unfinished projects can be safely stored away from the influence of siblings and pets.

If you have a dedicated Makerspace this is easier but any Makerspace needs the option to work on a project over multiple days.   A high shelf, tucked away in a closet, or even slide-out under bed drawer are good options.

Fill Your Makerspace with Maker Stuff!

Now we get to the fun part of adding supplies and components to our at-home Makerspace.  There are options GALORE 🤩 for Makerspace pieces so don’t get overwhelmed. 

Start with what you have then begin collecting more pieces.  Unfortunately, a Makerspace can be intimidating to start because people think they need all those expensive specialty gadgets – robotics kits, 3D printers, power tools, or other tech heavy equipment.  Begin with low tech and later we’ll talk about where to get stuff for cheap to fill your space.

General Makerspace suggestions

In this section we have general lists of tools and materials as a starting point.  Skip down to the Maker Kit section for specific beginner kit lists.

WARNING: These are general suggestions.   Please pick age appropriate tools and supplies.  No power drill for baby!

  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Pens and pencils for marking thing to be cut
  • Unsharpened pencils as a maker supply
  • Cardboard scissors – like these
  • Cardboard saw – like this one
  • Glue gun
  • Screwdrivers (Phillips and flat head)
  • Hand saw
  • Power drill (or hand drill if you have one available)
  • Hammer
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Adjustable crescent wrench
  • Hole punch
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Multimeter
  • Cardboard
  • Used but clean plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes
  • Lids and containers of all kinds
  • Craft sticks
  • Paper clips
  • Wood scraps (most woodworkers have boxes of this stuff they usually give away)
  • Straws 
  • Rubber bands
  • Super glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Corks
  • Clay or play dough
  • Scotch tape
  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Epoxy glue
  • Parts from a broken toy
    • Gears
    • Wires
    • Wheels
    • Axles
    • Motors
    • Battery holders
    • Led lights
    • Springs
  • Alligator clips
  • Fishing weights (steel, not lead for safety)
  • PVC pipe of various sizes – ½ inch, 1 inch, 2 inch, 4 inch etc.
  • String – several weights 
    • Thread
    • Kite string
    • Masonry line
    • Rope
  • Batteries for powering motors
  • Balloons (empty, void of air or water)
  • Nails of different sizes
  • Screws of different lengths and types
  • Cardboard tubes from paper towels, toilet paper, wrapping paper
  • 3 x 5 note cards
  • Construction paper of multiple colors
  • Foam sheets of various colors

These items are quite expensive and possibly dangerous if used improperly.  Most of these tools are not for unsupervised and untrained individuals. Make sure to use caution and follow manufacturer safety rules and best practices.

  • 3D printer
  • CNC router
  • Laser cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Vinyl cutter
  • Power tools
    • Miter saw
    • Jig saw
    • Belt sander
    • Drill press
    • Scroll saw
    • Planer
    • Lathe
    • Dremel tool
    • Kiln

Beginner Makerspace kits

We put together specific lists you can follow for beginner kits.  These are what we consider essential starter supplies and they are all easy to find and inexpensive.  

  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Pens and pencils for marking thing to be cut
  • Cardboard scissors – like these
  • Cardboard saw – like this one
  • Glue gun
  • Hole punch
  • Cardboard
  • Used but clean plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes
  • Lids and containers of all kinds
  • Craft sticks
  • Paper clips
  • Straws 
  • Corks
  • Rubber bands
  • Scotch tape
  • Masking tape
  • Duct tape
  • String – several weights 
    • Thread
    • Kite string
    • Masonry line
    • Rope
  • Balloons (empty, void of air or water)
  • Cardboard tubes from paper towels, toilet paper, wrapping paper
  • 3 x 5 note cards
  • Construction paper of multiple colors
  • Foam sheets of various colors

Use this to expand the basic kit for kids interested in electronics. You can buy new gears, wheels, motors, etc. but it enhances the experience for the kids to take apart old broken toys to salvage their own parts.

  • Parts from a broken toy
    • Gears
    • Wires
    • Wheels
    • Axles
    • Motors
    • Battery holders
    • LED lights
    • Springs
  • String of Christmas lights (incandescent to cut apart)
  • Batteries for powering motors
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Electrical tape
  • Multimeter
  • Bare copper wire (without an insulated covering)
  • Magnets
  • Wire of various gauges
  • Screwdrivers (Phillips and flat head)
  • Hand saw
  • Power drill (or hand drill if you have one available)
  • Hammer
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Adjustable crescent wrench
  • Super glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Clay or play dough
  • Epoxy glue
  • Parts from a broken toy
    • Gears
    • Wires
    • Wheels
    • Axles
    • Motors
    • Battery holders
    • LED lights
    • Springs
  • Fishing weights (steel, not lead for safety)
  • PVC pipe of various sizes – ½ inch, 1 inch, 2 inch, 4 inch etc.
  • Wood scraps (most woodworkers have boxes of this stuff they usually give away)
  • Nails of different sizes
  • Screws of different lengths and types
  • Sand paper
  • Wood glue

Need a printable checklist for these kits?

We’ve got you covered!  Just click the button to a list of space requirements and checklist for each of the three kits.

DIY Makerspace

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