INSPIRE CREATION BY BUILDING YOUR OWN MAKERSPACE
Carve out your own space for innovating at home with these tips from Piper's Resident Maker and Director of Product Design, Amie
Piper’s Resident Maker and Director of Product Design, AmieSTEP 1: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Sometimes, the biggest factor keeping people from creating is not feeling comfortable in their designated creative spaces – or not having a designated space to create! So, the first step in creating your own makerspace is to pick a spot that will help you foster your creativity and innovation.
Walk around your home and consider where the conditions are just right for channeling your inner maker. Where is there good lighting? Is there a space that’s never too hot, too cold, or too smelly? Most importantly, is there a room with a corner space or an empty wall that the adult in your home will not mind if you take over and claim for yourself? You want to choose a space that will become your favorite spot, a place that inspires you to create. If all these factors come together, you have found your space.
Amie’s makerspace in Piper’s headquarters in San Francisco, CASTEP 2: PICK A THEME
Once you have picked a location for your makerspace, ask yourself “What have I always wanted to create?” – your answer will help you determine how to stock your makerspace. If your answer is something to the effect of “I want to make a lot of things!”, don’t fret! Inspiration can help you envision what your dream space may look like. Now, close your eyes and imagine you are in:
- A whimsical room full of DIY lamps, speakers, and picture frames
- A kitchen table rigged with a secret voice recorder to catch the exact moment your parent agrees to get a new pet or take a trip to Disneyland (good luck!)
- A living room taken over by an obstacle course full of battling bots
- A hallway with an interactive bench that lets passerby know whether or not they can take a seat
Can you picture yourself in one of these spaces? Remember that you only need one project idea to launch your makerspace!STEP 3: PROCURING THE TOOLS
With your first project in mind, you now need to gather tools and supplies to stock your makerspace. You will need some specific tools based on what you are making, but there are plenty of versatile materials that you can use for many projects, including common household items that you can repurpose (with permission, of course!). Start by walking around your home (Again! I know...but a little exercise never hurt anyone) and collecting tools that the adult(s) in your home will not mind if you add to your makerspace. A helpful way to brainstorm is considering items from these three categories of tools:
- Idea sketchbook
- Tape (double sided is versatile)
- Masking tape
- Duct Tape
- Tooth picks
- Your home's own printer paper
- Wood glue
- Screwdriver set
- A picture of your grandma
- Zip Ties
“Specific” tools. Any Blog posts, DIY Youtube video, TikTok video, Instructable project, Art store, or a Hobby store will list or have a helpful employee to guide you on your selection. For example if you are interested in hacking with electronics, I would recommend the following starter tools:
- Electrical tape
- Alligator clips
- Wire cutters
- AA batteries
- AA battery holders
- Easy accessible electronics from your Piper Computer Kit like the LEDS, Tactile Buttons, buzzer, etc.
My personal “Go To” tools. Be creative, anything can be the right tool.
- Tracing paper
- Pipe Cleaners
- Unused or broken toys just asking to be hacked apart
- Hair dryers
- A best friend’s “constructive” feedback
- String of lights
- Ping Pong balls
- Leftover wrapping paper & supplies
Do not feel the need to immediately create a makerspace with a complete set of tools. Collect, borrow, or ask to purchase enough tools for only your first project. Over time, you can slowly build out your collection as you develop more projects. A great marker of success is a makerspace that grows as you do – and a hallmark of makers is the imagination and inventiveness to create with whatever is available to them – even things as seemingly mundane as old toilet paper rolls or milk cartons!
Supplies at Piper’s headquarters range from wood for laser cutting to felt and pom-pomsSTEP 4: THE SPACE
You can store your makerspace tools and supplies in anything from repurposed plastic containers (think: milk jugs, laundry detergent containers, water or soda bottles) to unused drawers collecting dust in the garage. Stack them or arrange them on a table for easy access – you want to be able to quickly locate what you need when you’re in the makers flow!
Perhaps even more important than storage, however, is your work space. Every makerspace is unique in the same way that no two people are exactly alike, because it’s a reflection of your own distinctive brand of creativity. I prefer having two designated areas: one for storage and the other as a remote workbench. A workbench can be the kitchen table, the dining room table, a living room floor, that corner in your shared room, a great bench in the garage – the possibilities are endless.
If you need to be messy, work in a location where you are allowed to be messy. What I mean by this is, move with the project. You are not confined to the literal makerspace. More importantly, you are not limited to your theme! Let your makerspace grow organically as you explore what type of maker you are. Just remember, once a project is complete, pick up the remote makerspace and return the tools to your designated storage area.
Additional makers' supplies in Piper's headquartersSTEP 5: IF YOU ARE STILL READING...
Stop reading and go make! Still feeling uninspired? Take a break – play outside, read a book, or check out our Pinterest board for additional ideas and inspiration. When you are done, grab a piece of paper and a pencil and start sketching...an amazing idea is sure to come!
We want to hear from you! Got tips, tricks, or hacks for creating an at-home makerspace? Pictures of your pride and joy as a maker? Share them with us on social media @StartWithPiper or via email firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to visit our Pinterest board for more ideas and inspiration on creating your own makerspace.