Category Archives: Workshop

Turn Old Into New and Improved at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire!

Earthship Seattle

Earthship Seattle

wTrak Wooden Railway

wTrak Wooden Railway

Ever think about productive ways we can use (or save!) the earth’s resources? Wood, water, soil, or even what you may consider to be “junk?” Believe it or not, this “junk” can be used to make some pretty sustainable (and fun!) items, such as alternative housing or even model transportation! If you ever need new ideas about what to do with your old stuff, the Seattle Mini Maker Faire will provide you with endless inventive ideas!

For instance, come check out Earthship Seattle,, a nonprofit volunteer group that designs earthships, or environmentally friendly houses made from recycled materials and  natural resources. “These earthships are really phenomenal because they use no fossil fuels, and they have essentially everything you need right in your house- they heat themselves, they use recycled clean water from the earth, and can be used for food production, so you can get basic life necessities of shelter, heat, food and water right from your home at a decently affordable price, made in a sustainable way” explains Florian Becquerau, member of Earthship Seattle. “We really want to promote these Earthships because they are an affordable means of off-the grid housing that can help low-income families and have proven to help third-world citizens, they help the environment, they are fairly quick to make if one utilizes lots of people, and they are made to last up to 100 years. We think that this is a practical housing alternative and we would love to share our knowledge and expertise with any fairgoers.” Whether you’re living on a budget or don’t know how to put your old stuff to good use, Earthship Seattle will provide you with a wealth of information to make sustainable use of what you have, and it can hopefully last you a lifetime!

On another note, if you or child you know loves to play with toys, or loves to experiment with model transportation, then come check out the wTrak Modular Wooden railway, which uses a wooden train surrounded by fabric trees and LED lighting for subways, tunnels, and surrounding buildings! Featured in several shows in the Pacific Northwest, this wooden railway is a beautiful model that is intricately built, and definitely worth a look if you love transportation, building things, or are just looking for a clever way to use wood!

The Seattle Mini Maker Faire offers several unique projects that will allow you turn anything you have into a sustainable and practical innovation or a beautiful aesthetic masterpiece! Come by June 8th and 9th from 10am-6pm and see what these nifty projects can inspire you to turn your stuff into!

Art Workshops @MakerFaireSeattle

For all you creative and artistic people out there, check out the Seattle Mini
Maker Faire on June 8 – 9! While not just for the technologically and
scientifically inclined, projects at this year’s fair include unique and
artistic hands-on projects.

Some of the best directors started out with a good story and a small budget.  Try your hand at Tabletop Moviemaking!  The structure for this workshop is informal, where people can drop-in, make a movie and then check out more of the fair.  To speed things up, all the backgrounds, characters and props are laser perforated so you could easily pop them out and stage it in minutes.


We invite you to record your movie on your smart phone!  You can leave the workshop with your story on your phone!  “Creativity is necessarily chaotic and messy,” says workshop creator,  Brick Maier .  When he ran the workshop in LA he says, “It was kind of amazing to see just how quickly the students would stage a story, and how different each set was even though they were starting from a common set of materials.  I think this is an excellent demonstration of how we all have a unique perspective and given an opportunity will showcase it through the stories we tell.”

You can learn a new skill and practice in a supportive workshop at “Circuits from Simple Things.” Add LEDs to paper and fabric using  ordinary household items!  Tamara Clammer, Doer: Maker Advocate at Brown Paper Tickets, leads a hands-on activity  where each visitor will draw a picture and add a circuit using an LED,  aluminum tape, and a 3V battery.  Learn the basics of e-textiles from Fay Shaw of bitwise E-textiles; visitors will use jewelry tools to prepare  LEDs and sew circuits with conductive thread.  This is a perfect  workshop to try something new and practice your artisanal skills!  Come  check it out!

Another great garage project is “Scroll Wood Shop,” by Cliff Nelson. Mr. Nelson “cuts 16-24 piece jigsaw puzzles out of postage stamps glued to plywood, pentomino and hexiamond math puzzles that use 12 natural hardwoods for animal shapes of my own design, and jigsaw coasters that marry function with the beauty of natural wood grain.”

Scroll WoodshopHe plans to “demonstrate how he makes his puzzles with his scroll saw and will even provide fairgoers with a kit that provides clear instructions about how they can make their own intricate puzzles using scroll saws”.  This project is a great one for anyone  who enjoys woodworking and do-it yourself projects!

And last but not least, for all of you who love to build things out of paper, then “Artigami Flights of Fantasy” is the place for you! ArtigamiLearn how to construct wreaths, kites, crystals, aircrafts, and castles from Miss Karah Pino of the organization, “Unwind your Mind and Get Creative!” You will leave with a whole new knowledge of the mathematical, scientific, and creative aspects of crafting origami, and will get to take home several new trinkets that you can play around with and share with friends!

So, for all of you aspiring artists out there, take some time at the start of summer to participate in the workshops at Seattle Mini Maker Faire! You’ll get to learn and make some really neat art projects, and you never know what will get your creative juices flowing.

Workshops at Seattle Mini Maker Faire 2012

Here are just a few of the many workshops and activities at Seattle Mini Maker Faire 2012!

Cascade Science Squad

Cascades Science Center Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to sparking children’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through hands-on activities that stimulate creativity, encourage exploration and inspire active learning for children to unlock their full potential.  At the Seattle Mini Maker Faire, the kids will have an opportunity to participate in fun science activities led by the volunteers of the foundation.

Cascade Science Squad - Real Science Real Fun!

Joy Guild’s Creative Reuse Challenge

The Joy Guild is a village of creative-minded people who seek fun, playfulness, and inspiration to live a happy life. Continue reading

How to make an Interactive Exhibit for Maker Faire

By Nina Arens

Designing a booth for Maker Faire may seem like an intimidating project. Festivals like these attract a broad demographic, a lot of questions, and all sorts of people with different interests and objectives. Combine it with the fact that visitors hardly ever linger at an exhibit longer than 8 minutes, and it may feel downright impossible.

But don’t fret! You are a Maker! You CAN make a fun, interactive exhibit!

Whether you’re a multimedia artist, a laboratory scientist, a basement tinkerer, or a vendor, every made object can have an interactive element. It may not seem apparent right away, but no matter how complex, all ideas are a built on simple foundations.

Design Take-Home Projects from Complex Ideas

Imagining just how a visitor could take home a piece of your display can be difficult. Especially if your project is a long process. Or requires special tools. Or an attention span.  Here are some ideas to help you do it with a little creativity.

Protein Chains with beads and pipe-cleaners

 

Protein Chains with beads and pipecleaners

Protein Chains with beads and pipecleaners

I wanted to convey how a cell makes its proteins to 4th grade girls at Bailey-Gatzert Elementary. Obviously, I couldn’t bring them to my lab, or have them visualize something. And certainly they wouldn’t sit still for a lecture. Instead, I adapted a beading activity to simulate the biological process in similar ways. At my booth, girls worked to thread and fold “pipe-cleaner proteins” using the letters in their names as a recipe. Continue reading

How to design your Maker Faire booth

On March 3rd we hosted a workshop to help local makers design their booths and get ideas for interactive exhibits and hands-on activities. We will repeat the class in late April or early May. Here are some highlights from the workshop:

Part 1: Meet the team and General Booth Design


Key points: A few signs will help attendees understand your project, but don’t let the signs form a barrier between you and the public. Open shelving gives you more vertical space to display parts, projects, tools and components. Practice setting up your exhibit at home and test your hands-on activities with friends and kids.

Part 2: Examples of interactive exhibits


Key points: Let people see and touch.  Show some interesting raw materials, show what things look like in-process, half-way done, and parts that broke during your design trials. Let the public experience the process of making with all of their senses!  Great hands-on activities are ones that simplify the process to their essential components or symbolize complex things with simple analogs, for example make strings of beads as an analog for protein chains.

Part 3: Hacker Space booths and group exhibits


Exhibit what a group of geeks can accomplish with a little sharing of ideas, tools, and space.

Thank you to Steven Bradford, videographer,  from the Seattle Film Institute.

-Christin Boyd, Producer, Seattle Mini Maker Faire