As part of our MakerBridge Follower Survey (which you can still take if you’d like to let us know what you’re interested in seeing on the blog), we learned that case studies and project ideas would be welcome topics. The following is an outline of a recent maker event I held at my library. I hope this is helpful n considering how to plan and theme your own maker programming.
Event name: Surviving the Apocalypse
- Paracord bracelets
- Knot tying
- Sewing a button
- Minor clothing repair
- Making compasses
- Knitting and crocheting
- 3D printing and 3D printing pens
- Button making
- 3D printer, 3D printing pens, PLA filament
- Knitting needles & crochet hooks
- Button maker & supplies
- Sewing needles, thread, buttons, fabric
- Neodymium magnets, screws
- Hanging Magnetic Compass project on Instructables
- Lashing instructions on Instructables
- Various tutorials for knots on Instructables
- Canva graphic design tool (this is what I use to make my flyer and what I use for most of promotional materials)
A little about my planning choices:
Before coming up with this event, I had been thinking it would be nice to have some kind of event where I could teach some basic life skills (i.e. sewing a button, tying a slipknot–something people seem to struggle with when learning crochet). Since I work at an an academic library, this also seemed to make a lot of sense for college students. Rather than just billing it as a basic life skills event (which, admittedly, might have worked too), I tried to give it a catchy and engaging theme.
Some of my activities were clearly not tied to the theme (3D printing, for example), but I chose to include them because they are always a draw, or–as in the case of the button-maker–were highlighting new and popular equipment. I didn’t feel like they would detract from the theme at all.
Since I mostly made use of equipment that I already had, the only materials I had to purchase for this were the neodymium magnets and screws (which I got from Home Depot), the paracord (which I got from Amazon), and a few extra sewing supplies (which I got from Jo-Ann Fabrics). This ended up being fairly inexpensive on the whole.
How did it go?
There was a good turnout and the theme itself seemed to catch people’s attention. The compass activity was less popular than I anticipated, but the paracord activity and knot tying went very well.
Another important element to my success was that, for the first time, I coordinated with a residential hall that requires its students to do community service work around campus. Having this maker event posted to their community service calendar helped raise awareness and advertise the event, and brought a number of attendees who were interested in volunteering. Many of those students, although they may have been focused on volunteer hours, seemed to enjoy themselves, and a few have contacted me directly to find out details about the next maker event. Having volunteers was also helpful, as I asked them to each station themselves at an activity, learn the activity, and guide others–a great opportunity to encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaboration, rather than setting myself up as the sole expert in the room.
Overall, this was an enjoyable and successful event I would certainly hold again. Have you done any great maker programming lately? We’d love to hear more about your successes and what you learned–leave a comment below or tweet at us!