As Maker Labs grow and continue to become more popular and schools continue to introduce Maker-based concepts to their curriculums, the question arises: How can I become a maker?

You don’t need to be part of a Maker Lab or go to a STEM-focused school to be a maker. There’s plenty you can do right at home, even if you don’t have a lot of resources.

The Global Cardboard Challenge is a great place to start. An open-ended challenge inspired by Caine’s Arcade, the Cardboard Challenge brings makers all over the world together. People are encouraged to “build anything they can dream up using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination.”

Another easy project is making paper airplanes. This project is great as a lesson in aerodynamics. Download a few plane templates and make them. Then experiment seeing which plane designs go the farthest, how weight effects distance and height (try adding paper clips to the wings), or if paper type effects anything.

As you want to get more into making, you might need more resources. This may include clay and Lego or a 3D printer and a laser-engraver. It all depends on what your interest and skill level is. Make has an abundance for projects, as does Pinterest if you need a little help coming up with ideas. If you run into a problem or have a question, r/Maker is the place to ask.

The Design Process

Although the projects themselves are important, we always like to add relevance by using a consistent process. We use our Design Process for all of our MakerLab projects and even our own projects. We think going through the design process is the difference between being an arts-and-crafts-er and being a Maker!

We start by identifying a problem to solve, which leads into brainstorming and design. After design, we go into building which takes us to evaluation. We like to always redesign based on our evaluations and then come up with a solution and some reflections that tie back into the initial problem we found.

Using the Design Process forces you to think about each step critically. This process can be used for any project, from using Play Dough to 3D printing a mini model of your maker-space.

With the right mindset and enough imagination, anyone can be a Maker!

Written by Cassandra Polzin, also published on Cassarony

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