Posted in Makerspace

Turning the Teen Room Into a Makerspace: Weeks 5 & 6

Previously on Turning the Teen Room Into a Makerspace Month 1, we removed all the old furniture, ordered new furniture, and planned September.

Now that you’re caught up…

New Furniture

It has been a slow week by way of furniture.  Our maintenance department is responsible for the assembly but they have been moving rather slowly so we only have two new tables in our room.  We purchased most of our tables from Ikea and the great thing about Ikea is that they make extendable tables.  We have four extendable tables that can accommodate four to six people.  Often times we plan a program for ten and fifteen show up.  That’s the beauty of these table, you don’t have to have haul in more tables, just extend it.

Playing With New Toys

Makerspaces always incorporate technology and if you are like us and don’t know how to use anything, you have to teach yourself before you can teach others.

We took a couple of hours every day to sit down and teach ourselves how to use the Ozobots, Makey Makey, Silhouette cutting machine, Google Cardboard, and wearable LEDs.

Ozobot-This is a small bot that you code with color. The bots are $50 each and all you need is paper and chisel tipped markers (red, black, blue, green).  You can code the bot to spin, speed up, turn left, etc.  It’s great for all ages and all levels.

Makey Makey-Use everyday items and turn them into game controllers.  The kits are $50 each. It sounds basic and beginner level stuff but you can make life size games by turning people into the controller.  Once you get the hang of it, you and your teens can have lots of fun.  Check out the videos on the Makey Makey site.  This is our favorite.


Silhouette Cutting Machine

This machine can range in price depending on the machine you want.  The Cameo 1 and the Portrait (pictured below) cost $220 and $179 respectively.  The Cameo 1 looks fancier but they do the same thing so purchase the Portrait if you’re on a tight budget.


These machines cut paper, vinyl, fabric, and stencil material.  You can make any decal your heart desires.  For example, one of my teens wanted a vinyl decal of the Mockingjay symbol to put on her cell phone.  Of course this is copyright infringement but I copied the image from Google Images, uploaded it to the Portrait, and cut it out.  I don’t have a picture but it looks like she purchased it in a store.  You can use the machine to make stencils for logo/t-shirt graphics, you can cut fabric to sew on clothes/pillows, etc.  In the picture below, my co worker likes jackolopes.  She drew it in the Silhouette software and cut it out using the machine.  As you can see, teens can design their own pictures. Designing in the software can be difficult (It took my coworker Elise about an hour) but you can have teens design in Adobe (we the used Adobe Illustrator app on the iPad) and they can email it to you and you can upload it to the Silhouette software.  I designed a TARDIS this way.


New advancements to Silhouette:

  • You no longer have to move the cutting machine to a computer to print.  You can download the new software to create a cloud. Teens can save to the cloud and can print from one connected computer.
  • You can purchase the Cameo 3, coming in September, that will be Bluetooth!  No wires needed!!
  • If you subscribe to Adobe Suite or Corel, you can design there and send your designs through the cloud.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard costs $15 each.  They are VR (Virtual Reality) goggles made out of cardboard.  You download free apps or purchase apps and insert the smart device into the goggles.  This is by far cheaper than all other VR goggles and does a great job for the price.

You’ll have to purchase iPods, have your teens use their own phone, or trust teens with your phone.  That is the drawback.  Google Cardboard says it can hold any device 4-7″ and the video below was used with an iPhone 6S.

LED Wearables

We obtained our ideas from Adafruit.  Beware, Adafruit is a tough website to navigate.

September will focus on LEDs.  See our programming section further down to view our curriculum for the month.

We taught ourselves Chibitronics, coin battery LEDs, and lastly Gemma (programmable LED through Arduino). If all those words scared you, don’t worry; it sacred us too.

Superhero Logo

Processed with MOLDIV
Easy LED Wearable

LED Circuits

This craft was made with the above battery holder and snaps to complete the circuit.


Gemma requires sewing and programming.  You have to download the software from Adafruit.  We couldn’t download to our work computers because of the firewall so I had to bring my personal Macbook.  All you have to do is copy/paste the code from Adafruit.

In the video, the LED is blinking fast and I coded it to blink slower.  You can add several LED sequins and code it to blink however you like. Adafruit’s Youtube channel is full of wonderful ideas.

September Programs

Nectar Collective September

Mondays & Wednesdays-LED workshops that include Chibitronics, LED superhero logos, LED origami and cityscape, LED Hoodie using EL Wire, and Gemma hats.

Tuesdays-Appy Hour.  Teens will lean how to make videos using Magisto and Stop Motion. Teens will create animation using Animator

Thursdays-Creative Writing Meetup.  This is a teen led creative writing group.

Thursdays-Let’s Draw Something.  Teens will learn different drawing/painting techniques or they can free draw.

Saturdays-Open Lab.

Monthly Challenges-There will be a new challenge every month.  All the materials will be set out and teens will be given minimal instructions.

Makerbees-This is basically a frequent maker card-Makerbees level 1.  There will be five activities that teens can complete.  Levels increase in difficulty as teens complete them.

3D Printing-Teens will have to be certified before they may use the 3D Printer.  We set up a teacher account on Tinkercad.  Teens must complete 5 hours of lessons and take a class with staff before they may print on their own.

Silhouette Cutting Machine-Teens will have to be certified before they may use the cutting machine.  To become certified, teens must attend two workshops.

That’s all for the past two weeks.  Next week we will hopefully have our furniture assembled and we can get our room ready.  We will also learn how to screen print.  The Hive is supposed to open on September 6th but it’s still a construction zone and I don’t think that will happen.




YA Librarian. Lover of Sherlock. And all Things Harry Potter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s