Expensive equipment isn’t necessary for a thriving makerspace, and arts and crafts are extremely popular applications in makerspace programs. Additionally, projects in this genre can add the “A” to STEAM, integrating the creativity of the arts into the often very technical sciences. These projects utilize basic materials such as paper or fabric.
Integrating electronics into “low tech” crafts is an excellent way to add a STEM (or STEAM) element into a crafting session. Whether using fabric or paper, Kathy Ceceri’s Make: Fabric and Fiber Inventions and Paper Inventions provide step-by-step instructions for projects that often involve some basic incorporation of technology, such as weaving circuits into wearable materials. These accessible books don’t require users to be electronics experts. The crafts in Bob Knetzger’s Make: Fun! require minimal technical skills or tools and employ a wide variety of materials, including plastics, metals, and more. This book also delves into the history of toy creation, making it an ideal resource to explore beyond the project tutorials.
Exploration and inspiration are key components of Bridgette Mongeon’s 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft, a thoroughly researched resource, which showcases fine art created using new technologies. It is included in this section as another book which goes beyond the step-by-step guide, serving as a historical and cultural background on the topic of the Maker movement and the arts. Although this book focuses on the fine arts, the products showcased overlap with other categories, such as CNC and 3D printing. Resources for educators are also included.
Other project ideas can remain low-tech while embracing the philosophy of Making. Trash Origami, by Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander, provides unique ideas for creating practical products from recycled materials—making it an excellent resource for makerspaces on a budget. Fabric and sewing are often a low-tech part of makerspaces, and Singer’s The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing is an extremely extensive resource. It could serve as a reference with its detailed descriptions and photographs of stitch types, different fabrics, and more, providing guidance to beginners and experts alike.