Making a Makerspace – Paper Circuits

I’m really excited about Paper Circuits!

At one of our meetings we were given a  chibitronics STEM Starter Kit.

I didn’t know anything about Paper Circuits at that time, but I am having a blast learning more about this fascinating art form.

I’ve made a simple circuit….

…and I’ve made a parallel circuit. With a little trial and error, I was able to light up a greeting card.



The chibitronics  LED stickers cost about $1 each, so they’re a little pricey (sign up for their Educators Discount).  You can also use 3mm LED.  I found a pack of 75 for under $5  on Amazon, so that is another option.

The copper foil tape is reasonable at $5 – $10 per roll.  You can get them at chibitronics, Amazon or at the hardware store (look for copper “slug” tape).

Each project needs a coin battery.  I found them at IKEA, eight batteries for $1.99.

The STEM Coordinator has hinted that the district may be able to fund this project. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!


Some future projects that I’m curious to learn more about and share with my students:


  • Clothes Circuits – I haven’t researched this yet,  but I definitely want to learn more.


Making a Makerspace – LEGOS and K’NEX

LEGOS and K’NEX seem to be the mainstays of Makerspaces.

LEGOS – Fortunately, we had a box of  LEGOS stored in our garage.  My mother-in-law also graciously donated some LEGOS.

LEGO Creation

K’NEX Education Elementary Construction Set –  I wanted this set as there are enough pieces for three students to build at the same time. It is no longer being sold but I found it for 60% off at Educators Outlet so I scooped it up.

I didn’t realize when I purchased the set that it was a mixture of regular and mini-sized K’NEX pieces, and it also included a lot of LEGO-like pieces. The LEGO-like pieces don’t stick together very well so it can be frustrating to use.


Making a Makerspace – Inexpensive Activities

I knew for my Makerspace to be sustainable, there would have to be a balance of  non-consumable maker items such as LEGOS along with fun yet inexpensive crafty-type projects.

  • Coloring Pages/Bookmarks
  • Cardboard Creations
  • Origami
  • Duct Tape Creations (I decided to wait on this one)


Coloring Pages/Bookmarks

I am not a huge fan of coloring but when I came across Dawn Nicole’s work, I knew I had found a winner! Check out her bookmarks. They are awesome!  If you sign up on her blog, she will send you notices when she has new freebies available.

dawn nicole
DawnNicole Designs


Cardboard Creations – Cardboard is free and once you get the word out that you need cardboard, you will be swimming in the stuff!

I splurged and bought several  Rolobox Reusable Wheel Kits. Amazon sells them for $25 each but I stumbled on this incredible deal and paid only $4 a set! Sadly, it is no longer available at this price.


Origami – I bought 500 sheets of origami paper, an instruction book and a case for $17 on Amazon.  The case was a splurge, but I didn’t want the paper to get crinkled up.  The origami paper fits in this case perfectly! After this initial investment, it will only be $10 for 500 sheets of origami paper.  NOTE: this is inexpensive origami paper with color on both sides.




Making a Makerspace – Fiber Arts

I knew I wanted to offer fiber arts, specifically weaving, in our Makerspace.

  • Weaving is an easy activity to learn yet still had the “wow” factor of creating something truly special.
  • Once you show the students how to weave, they are usually able to work on it independently without much supervision. They are then able to share their knowledge with other students.
  • It is a relatively inexpensive activity if you aren’t particular about what type of fiber is used.
  • Many people have extra yarn in their “stash” and are willing to donate to a good cause.

Here are some examples of weaving projects from You Can Weave! Projects for Young Weavers by Kathleen Monaghan.


I decided to start with Kumihimo weaving. Many people make Kumihimo looms out of upcycled materials. I made one out of a coffee can lid but it was so ugly,  I decided to go ahead and just purchase the looms.  I wanted my students to experience the satisfaction of using “real” tools.  I bought twelve looms at $2.62 each on Amazon. After this purchase, I discovered similar looms for the spectacularly low price of ten for $10.99 at RAFT Resource Area for Teaching.



On my facebook page, I sent out a plea for yarn, and I received several donations. I was blessed to receive yarn from as far away as Bainbridge Island, Washington!


Yay! So now I had twelve Kimihimo looms and a stash of yarn. I am ready for business!


So you wanna start a Makerspace…

February, 2016

“What Have I Gotten Myself Into?”


I volunteered to pilot a Makerspace program in my K – 5th grade library.

To familiarize ourselves with the Makerspace world, a small group of librarians and library media techs met and watched Cain’s Arcade. We also participated in several  challenges.

I left thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of my league. I am not much of a tinkerer, and at the time, didn’t really get the value of challenges in a Makerspace. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about STEM either, although I do embrace the idea of exposing children to coding at an early age.

The Excitement Builds….

At the next meeting, the STEM Coordinator introduced us to paper circuits. Each of us were given our very own chibitronics STEM Starter Kit to play with.  I made a simple circuit and when I turned the page and saw my light bulb glowing, my eyes lit up with excitement!


I realized that much of my previous apprehension was just fear of the unknown, so I decided to research everything I could on making and Makerspaces.  Fortunately, there is a lot out there!

My favorite resources are:

invent to learn


What now?

This is my place to share my thoughts, struggles and successes with Makerspacing. I hope in some small way, it is helpful to others, too.