MakerSpace: Finding Inspiration in Places Other than Pinterest
If you’re like me, every once in a while you need some inspiration for your next makerspace or program idea. In the year 2018 it seems like our first impulse is to go to Pinterest, which is a great resource that can in fact be inspiring. It is not, however, the only and it is not always the best resource. I know, it feels like heresy to say it out loud. Today I’m going to share with you some other resources I have found that I use regularly. I invite you to share some of your favorite non-Pinterest resources with me in the comments below as a little inspiration never hurts.
The Pinback Button Making Community on Facebook
If you look, there are a lot of special interest community groups on Facebook that can inspire you. There are plenty of librarian centered ones, but I have found some real treasures of information and resources looking outside of librarianship. As you may have heard me mention, the button maker is a popular makerspace item for teens. I enjoy the button maker so much that I have a personal 1.25 inch machine at home. It turns out, there are a lot of things you can do with a button maker besides making buttons. You can make ear rings, pendants, key fobs and more. I get a lot of design and product ideas from The Pinback Button Making Community on Facebook.
Silhouette Cameo Project Inspiration
The Silhouette Cameo is another makerspace tool that has limitless possibilities. My knowledge of what you can do with a Silhouette Cameo is always expanding and morphing. If you search on Facebook, you will find a wide variety of Silhouette Cameo groups that you can join for design and project inspiration ideas. The best part of joining one of these groups is that you can ask specific questions and get answers from others who are trying to do the same things that you are. It’s not just about inspiration, it’s help from experienced users who can answer questions like how can I do x, y or z or why is my machine doing this or what is the best type of vinyl to use and why. I love being involved in a group that can inspire, support and trouble shoot.
Maker Maven is a STEAM related business that is, in fact, trying to sell you their products, but along the way they share free ideas. You can sign up for their email newsletter and those ideas comes right into your inbox. I have purchased some of their kits and they are good, but the newsletter itself is invaluable. I like having ideas coming straight into my mailbox.
Tinkercrate is a STEM subscription box that will send boxes with actual blue prints right to your home or library. It’s not cheap, but everything you need is right there in the box and if you like the activity you can usually buy the elements in bulk for cheaper online. If you have a makerspace, you can take the box right into the space and have the tweens and teens do the unboxing and have them give you immediate feedback on the activity.
Speaking of Kits . . .
I often buy make and craft kits and take them home or to the makerspace to try the activity out, reverse engineer it or find ways to adapt it to create a new makerspace activity or station. Not every kit I buy turns into a successful makerspace activity, but they are often a good source of inspiration. Because I have kids in the tween and teen age, I will admit that we sometimes buy kits with our own money that we try at home on the weekends, but I’ve also had my library or primary fund source buy the kits as well if we’re using them in the makerspace. You can usually find affordable and fun kits at Target, Michaels and online. I use the kits to teach inspire creativity, teach me how to do an activity, and then I find more affordable ways to adapt them to larger groups and with a library budget.
There are lots of great makerspace and programming ideas out there. These are just a few of the ones that I use and recommend. So what’s on your list?
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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