Visit: See a makerspace in action!

One of the best things you can do when starting a new makerspace is to find at least one makerspace near you to visit. It will inspire you to see the space in action, and you will connect with people who can help you as you develop your space. If the links below don’t yield any results close enough to you, try Google searches for your city name (and cities close by you) with the word makerspace and its synonyms.

Connect: Listserv, blogs, and social media

Read: Books about makerspaces

  • Picture books about Making (compiled by Crystal)
  • Bagley, Caitlyn. (2014). makerspaces: Top Trailblazing Projects. Chicago: ALA TechSource.
  • Burke, John J. (2014). makerspaces: A Practical Guide for Librarians. by John J. Burke. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Hamilton, Matthew and Schmidt, Dara Hanke. (2015). Make it Here: Inciting Creativity and Innovation in Your Library. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Kemp, A. (2013). The makerspace Workbench: Tools, technologies, and techniques for making. Sebastopol, CA: Maker Media, Inc.
  • Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge.
  • Preddy, Leslie B. (2013). School Library makerspace: Grades 6-12. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Wilkinson, Karen and Petrich, Mike. (2014). The Art of Tinkering. San Francisco: Exploratorium.edu.

Explore: Online resources about makerspaces

Inspire: Project ideas that are free or almost free

Inspire: High tech bits you can purchase

  • MakeDo – take cardboard construction to the next level with these simple, reusable tools
  • K’Nex – flexible building kits
  • MakeyMakey – an “invention” kit that allows you to control your computer through alligator clips and fun things like bananas
  • Squishy Circuits – create circuits and explore electronics through play dough
  • Snap Circuits – a kit you can use to snap electronic parts onto a plastic board to create fun projects
  • Little Bits – electronic building blocks that snap together with magnets
  • Beebot – robotics for the very young; programmed by pushing buttons
  • Ozobot – a tiny robot you program by drawing
  • Sphero Robot – controlled by many different apps
  • Cubelets – robot blocks that snap together with magnets and have different properties
  • Finch Robot – programmable with over a dozen different languages
  • Arduino – microcontroller that allows you to make things interactive
  • Soft Circuits – guide to “wearable” tech
  • Raspberry Pi – a $35 computer the size of a credit card with lessons you can use with students

Funding: Ideas to pay for your makerspace

  • Donated materials: Put a donations box outside the door of your makerspace. You can also publish a list of requested items on your blog or newsletter.
  • Electronics drive: For broken items or new.
  • Fundraisers: Sell buttons or other items made in the makerspace, such as jewelry.
  • PTA/PTO: Ask your parent association for funding.
  • STEM: Is there money set aside for STEM projects in your school district?
  • Donors: Look for people in your community who will want to give to your space.
  • Local businesses and universities: They often have leftovers and “old” technology they can share. Local hardware stores can have materials to donate.
  • Local groups: Consider partnerships with organizations such as Scouts, 4H, or a local theater group that might want help making props. Also check with your Chamber of Commerce and service organizations (i.e. Kiwanis) for donations.
  • Local makerspaces and Hackerspaces: They may have extra materials they are willing to lend or share. Also check with local robotics, quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, pottery, and writing groups.
  • Buy used materials to save money, and frequent local thrift and scrap stores for treasures.
  • Build out your makerspace modularly, as funds allow: workspace, general tools, woodworking, electronics, textiles, computers, digital fabrication, etc.
  • Grants for makerspaces
  • Online campaigns/crowd funding: DonorsChoose for schools, and GoFundMe or Kickstarter for anyone.

Teach: Inspiration for integrating Makerspace into your curriculum