Outfitting a basic makerspace

One of our amazing teachers, Allison Frick, presented at the Allied Media Conference 2015 on how to create a makerspace with little/no space and a small budget. This supply list is based on her presentation (in a Piratepad for easy sharing):

List of Supplies to get started

After-school activities

These activities from the Hacktory’s after-school program are designed to use low-cost, easily-available materials and tools. They were created through a grant provided by the Cognizant Foundation. Below are guides for participants to follow along, not complete lesson plans.

Marble Maze
Mousetrap Car
Paper Cup Motor
Kinetic Dancer
Propeller Boat
Mini Camera Obscura
Figure Ground Composition
1 Point Perspective

Electronic Components

Need parts? Use one of these recommended suppliers to get all the electronic components for your project!


Sometimes you just want to buy a kit and start making stuff without shopping around for low prices and alternate components. Get going here:

  • Adafruit is a New York City-based company that sells kits and parts for original, open-source hardware electronics projects, specifically designed for beginners.
  • Bare Conductive A manufacturer of conductive paint, they offer a variety of kits, hardware, and fun activities to make circuits never before possible.
  • Evil Mad Scientist Family-owned business with curated selection of components and original kits in support of art, education, and accessibility.
  • MakerShed offers little bit of everything for makers, crafters, and budding scientists.
  • Sparkfun Great selection of parts, tools, and kits.


If you want your code to interact with the physical world, through lights, sounds, or motors, try these programming tools. Many of these resources have robust communities, tutorials, and forums for troubleshooting.

  • Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
  • Max/MSP gives you the parts to create unique sounds, stunning visuals, and engaging interactive media.
  • OpenFrameworks is an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding.
  • PPOOLL is software written in MaxMSP designed for live-improvising and interactive installations.
  • Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to create images, animations, and interactions.
  • Pure Data (PD) is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing.
  • Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Labs as a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art – and share your creations on the web.
  • SuperCollider is one of the most powerful and versatile sound synthesis freeware available for electronic music composers.


It’s easy to get inspired by an amazing project, but harder to jump into a new technology on your own. Look here for step-by-step illustrated how-to guides, taking you from the basics to the cutting-edge and complex.