Making and Designing

At Home

Welcome to this page of ideas for people interested in making and designing. Many schools and workshop programs are closed at the moment, but we can keep creating at home--perhaps even discovering new techniques and passions. When you make something, be sure to share it with family or friends or beyond; the maker community is an inclusive and supportive one!

Projects here are added chronologically, and most images are links to resources.

Happy creating.

"STEAM Projects to Make at Home"

This is a resource page that includes Tinkercad and Instructables projects in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Fun and interesting things to do at home!

https://blog.tinkercad.com/steam-projects-to-make-at-home




Create in 3D

This YouTube playlist has all of the videos I have created so far to walk people through techniques and project ideas using both the standard and the Codeblocks versions of Tinkercad. Come learn how to design in 3D (and 2D!), or find some tips and tricks you may not have known about.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxmxKDL7rkiSXMqZ2-IIP_8E0n5egyMl5

$0

Play with Your Food

You can make art while you make lunch. Get inspired by a painting or photo, or dream up your own consumable creation. Take a photo to share, then have an artful snack.


Build a House

Here's a project that might get you out of the house and will definitely get your spatial reasoning firing. Take photos on a walk, find your old photos, or search the web and get images of interesting or meaningful buildings. Then recreate them with Tinkercad.

www.tinkercad.com

$0

Time to Juggle

You can combine learning a new skill (or improving on it) with a neat maker activity. Balloons and some rice or sand is pretty much all you need. Have a look at these instructions and resources by the Surfing Scientist, or watch a video with a slightly different approach.

https://www.abc.net.au/science/surfingscientist/jugglingballs.htm

$0-cheap

Graphic Design

Gravit Design is a web-based vector design app, so no downloads needed! Explore tutorial videos from pro maker educator John Umekubo or Gravit's own video collection. The free version is very capable and user-friendly.

https://www.designer.io/en/

$0 (woo-hoo, Gravit!)

Toys from Trash

This is an amazing collection of making and science projects by Arvind Gupta that you can create from materials in your house and recycling bin. There are dozens (hundreds?) of fun projects with simple directions. Gupta's great TED talk.

http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/toys.html

$0

Scrappy Circuits

Take materials you may already have in your home or can easily get, and build lights, dial switches, tilt switches, and more. Get those creative engineering juices flowing!

https://www.scrappycircuits.com/home

$0-cheap

Checkmate!

Tinkercad is powerful web app for 3D design. Use it and/or its cousin Codeblocks to design a chess set, then play remotely with a friend. Creativity, spatial reasoning, strategy, collaboration, general awesomeness.

https://www.tinkercad.com/

$0 (Thank you, Autodesk!)

Custom stamps from recycled materials

Here's a great project from Artful Parent. Use cardboard, odd bits from the kitchen utility drawer, and things from the recycling bin to create stamps. Acrylic paint is a good bet, but try whatever you have on hand.

https://artfulparent.com/diy-stamps-cardboard/

$0+

Coding some calculus

Math magician Steve Phelps used Tinkercad's Codeblocks to code some fascinating projects. Recreate with Codeblocks and add your own variations. (Addition: also see https://twitter.com/tinkercad/status/1238857447365894144?s=20)

https://www.tinkercad.com/

$0

MakeCode Simulators

Microsoft's MakeCode is a blocks-based coding environment for various devices. But one of the coolest parts is that most include a simulator. This means you can code a project and see it run even if you don't have that particular device. Sweet! See each environment for helpful tutorials.

(click on images for links)

$0 (Thank you, Microsoft!)


Low-tech, no-tech marble run

A big piece of cardboard, some material from the recycling bin, a hot glue gun, and a marble are all you need to engineer a marble run. This example uses a little high tech help, but that's just an extra.

$0

Light up your art

Chibitronics makes LED stickers. Create circuits with copper tape and a coin cell battery, then light up your cards or other art. The website has great resources for learning and inspiration.

https://chibitronics.com/

$12+

Make your own custom pinball machine

The Pinbox3000 takes about an hour to build by following a great assembly video. (MS students can assemble on own with a little guidance.) Then, you can customize the play surface. Include obstacles, ramps, spinners, and even electronics.

https://pinbox3000.com/

$50

Design your own video game

With MakeCode's Arcade design environment, you can use blocks to build your own video game. Tweak a sample game or use tutorials to get the skills to build your own. Either way, share with friends. Play on the computer, or even get a hand-held device to load and play your game anywhere.

https://arcade.makecode.com/

https://www.adafruit.com/product/4242 (this is one of numerous compatible devices)

$0-$40

For littles, listen to a story read by one of the best

Librarian Jeff Paulson reads dozens of stories with fun voices. Enjoy with a young friend!

Mr. Paulson Reads YouTube playlist

$0

Another brick in the wall

We think of Legos as living on horizontal surfaces, but what might you build with them on wall-mounted plates? Buy adhesive plates to stick on a wall, or glue magnets to large plates and use on a magnet-friendly surface. Marble runs are just one of many fun challenges.

$30+

Make anything

Head to https://www.tinkercad.com/ and begin designing whatever you want in 3D by dragging and dropping shapes onto the workplane. The site has helpful tutorials. Once you gain some comfort with the tool, take on challenges like modeling your oven, a building in your neighborhood, or a structure you find online.

$0

Chess pieces


A real--or imagined! bedroom


Island castle

River elf town


Making with microcontrollers

The Circuit Playground Express can be coded with blocks-based MakeCode, JavaScript, or Python. Use just the device with various inputs and outputs, or add lights, servos. My free e-book linked at right.

https://www.adafruit.com/product/3333

$25

Hand sewing Poekie Nook project kits, with very helpful tutorial videos

The Tinkering Studio from The Exploratorium

Project ideas with guides.

25 Cheap but Easy to Make Crafts

Dozens of videos on fun, quick crafts and hacks

Quick and Easy recipe collection from All Recipes

Projects to Sew by Hand from Instructables

Instructables, an amazing treasure trove of all kinds of projects

18 Easy Hand Sewing Projects

25 Makerspace Projects for Kids


20 Amazing Things to Make from Plastic Bottles