Significant storage space required
Appropraite for repeat visitors, such as afterschool programs, workshops or camps
Good option for tight budgets
Requires a significant monetary investment
Can be used in a very limited time frame
Can be used in an intermediate time frame
Appropriate for young children
Recommended for family or multi-age audiences and spaces
Not a good option for large groups or field trip visits
Warning: Requires Eye Protection
These are items that are applicable across multiple disciplines or are good for general use.
Useful for general projects in your makerspace by use of the facilitators and for manufactoring things like jigs or stands to help a younger audience engage with certain tools or processes.
Come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is useful to have a full set of phillips head and flat head screwdrivers. Can be used for both woodworking and electronics projects including the taking apart of broken electronic devices.
Useful for securing materials together. Come in a variety of sizes and require specific sized staples. Recommend a smaller sized staple gun for younger children to use. This tool requires supervision when working with younger children.
Useful for processing large pieces of cardboard into smaller pieces. Requires a cutting mat or cutting board to protect tables and other surfaces. Should only be used by adults and older children with supervision.
A heavy duty metal clamp in the shape of a “C” that can be used to temporarily secure a variety of large objects to surfaces. Used mainly with woodworking projects but can also be used to for other purposes.
A heavy duty metal clamp in the shape of an “F” that can be used to temporarily secure a variety of large objects to surfaces. Design makes it quicker to use than a C-Clamp. Used mainly with woodworking projects but can also be used to for other purposes.
A heavy duty metal clamp that can be used to temporarily secure a variety of large objects to surfaces. Does not clamp as secure as an F-Clamp or C-Clamp . Used mainly with woodworking projects but can also be used to for other purposes. Easier for smaller children to use. Good for less heavy duty projects.
Hot Glue Gun
A great tool for any space. Used to attach a variety of materials together. Comes in a variety of sizes and temperatures and require specific sized glue sticks. Recommend a 10 Watt glue gun. Stands are available and recommended. Requires supervision. Recommend a dedicated location for this tool in your space.
A measuring tool that is helpful for marking and making straight lines. Useful in woodworking and recycled materials projects. Also good for cutting large, regular-sized quantities of fabric.
A measuring tool that is helpful for marking and measuring angles. Useful in woodworking and recycled materials projects.
A measuring tool used for marking and measuring. Comes in a variety of lengths. Useful for larger projects.
A measuring tool that comes in either 1 foot or 3 foot lengths. Helpful with woodworking, recycled materials and textile projects.
Large Self-Healing Cutting Mat
Useful for protecting surfaces and cutting tools. Comes in a variety of sizes. Recommend a table sizes mat. Used in processing fabric and cardboard.
Tool that is used to grip and remove or bend small materials. Useful for steel wire projects and general woodworking projects. Can be helpful for removing stuck drill bits and staples.
Needle Nose Pliers
A skinnier version of pliers. Used to grip and remove or bend small materials. Useful for steel wire projects and general woodworking projects. Can be helpful for removing stuck drill bits and staples.
A must have for any maker space. Can be used by a variety of ages of students for a variety of projects.
A larger pair of scissors. Useful for cutting and processing larger, more heavy duty materials. Should be used with adult supervision when working with younger children.
Tool used for punching holes in various materials. Works best with paper and cardboard. Comes in a variety of sizes. Can be difficult for young children to operate.
Spring-Loaded Center Punch (add sharp icon)
Tool used for punching holes in a variety of materials. Can handle more heavy duty materials than a standard hole punch. Useful for punching holes in fabric and leather. Should be used with supervision when working with younger children.
A greasing spray that is used to keep moving parts operational. Useful when working with gears and motors.
Used for general cleanup of the space.
Receptacle for waste products and materials. Useful for any maker space.
Used for reaching high spaces. Useful when working with young children to give them leverage when working with certain tools.
General tool used for clean up. Useful for cleaning up small materials such as saw dust and wood shavings.
Drill Bits (1/8″-1/2″)
Used for making holes in a variety of objects. Come in a variety of sizes. Useful for woodworking and recycled materials projects. Will break if bent or used improperly.
Used for general mark making and sketching. Great for sewing projects and can be used to draw a shape on fabric for easier cutting. Comes in a variety of sizes and colors.
Masking Tape (1/2″ or 3/4″)
Used frequently in maker spaces. Comes in variety of sizes and colors. Useful for temporarily attaching materials together. Younger children may need guidance on how to use this material.
An all purpose material used to temporarily attach materials together. Can also be bent into sculptures, explored with magnets and be used for switches with electronics projects.
Made of soft metal and can easily be manipulated. An all purpose material used to temporarily attach materials together. Can also be bent into sculptures, explored with magnets and be used for switches with electronics projects. Can be reused for various projects.
An all purpose material used to temporarily attach materials together. Great for organization of paperwork and instruction manuals. Can also be used for switches with electronics projects. Can be reused for various projects.
Useful for sketching ideas, taking notes and marking for measurement.
Useful for sketching ideas and taking notes. Also can be used to make origami and other folded projects.
Useful material for tying things together. Can also be used for decoration.
Used for sketching and coloring. Useful for recycled materials projects. Come in a variety of colors.
A stretchy, elastic material. Useful for a variety of recycled materials projects. Can also be used to temporarily attach or bind materials and tools together.
Useful, wooden materials that can be used for a variety of projects. Can be difficult to cut or drill holes into.
All purpose material used for tying other materials together or hanging materials on display.
Useful material that can be used for a variety of projects. Great when coupled with string to created geometrical sculptures.
Useful material for temporarily binding or attaching other tools and materials together. Stronger material than rubber bands or string.
A strong adhesive tape used to attach materials together. Used for more heavy duty projects.
A specialized adhesive tape that is great for securing electrical wires to floor or other surfaces. Great material for creating a safe maker space void of tripping hazards.Return to Top
For makerspaces hoping to get into digital media, these are some tools and supplies you may want to consider. High-tech tools are attractive to the audience of the space but may require special knowledge or training to use.
3D printers come in a huge range of price points, sizes, levels of technical complexity and available official or well-documented support information.
Before purchasing a 3D printer consider whether you will be using it for use by your institution, by your visitors, or both. Will it be used as a tool to help people create, or as a means of producing already-existing content? How does that use drive your institution’s mission? Also consider how employees or facilitators will be trained to use the equipment, and how you will care for and calibrate the delicate machinery.
3D printers typically require a sizable, dedicated space with enough room for the printer, filament, and computer, all with access to electrical outlets. Most printers exhibit a reduction in functionality when near vents, windows or air conditioning units. All printers have extremely hot extruding elements. Additional costs will include filament and possible repair of small parts. Printing can take a long time and is therefore best suited for longer workshops or returning visitors.
A tablet device can be used as both a tool and a resource. Also useful for documentation of projects. Requires an electrical outlet for occasional charging.
Useful tool for securing an iPad or tablet to a table or surface in your space. Helps protect the device. Also useful as a stationary stand when making stop-motion animations. Great for spaces with younger children.
A tool used to extend a computer’s keyboard keys to other conductive materials (foil, bolts, people, water, fruit, etc). Used for interacting with computer programs such as Scratch in creative ways. Can be used to make digital interactions with complex controls more accessible to a young audience.
A useful tool for documenting projects and your general space. Can also be used for digital projects such as stop-motion animation, movie making, photography and light painting.
Laser cutters come in a huge range of price points, sizes, and levels of available support. They are useful for cutting or etching materials in ways that are difficult using hand tools (cutting precise lines, interior shapes, multiples, etc). Technically complex but relatively easy to run, laser cutters require training to use and more extensive training to trouble shoot.
Before purchasing, consider the needs of your space and audience. What level of precision is required? What types of materials do you plan to use in the laser cutter? What size material will you be using?
Additional costs will include replacement of air filters and/or water. Occasional repairs may include replacement of lenses, laser tube or mirrors. Laser cutters require one or multiple electrical outlets as well as either self-contained air filtering units and/or external exhaust pipes.
Helpful for spaces with few outlets. Provides flexibility for arranging activities and reduces the number of wires that may cause tripping hazards.
Helpful for spaces with few or strangely located outlets. Provides flexibility for arranging activities. Secure cords to the ground to prevent tripping.
Helpful for use with groups and classes, to ensure everybody can see what is being demonstrated on the screen. Consider using with the MaKey MaKey to create a large-scale, interactive digital experience. Can be projected onto a screen or wall. Keep in mind the lighting conditions of your space.Return to Top
There are a huge number of microcontrollers and advanced electronic components available. This list is targeted towards introductory-level electronics. Most items are small, but consumable and therefore may incur frequent replenishment costs.
A specialized tool used for melting solder (a specialized metal) to form attachment joints between small pieces of metal. Useful for electronics projects and wire sculptures. Should not be used by children under approximately age 10 without assistance. Requires a dedicated work space or surface in your maker space. Requires adult supervision. Requires an electrical outlet. Requires safety glasses when used.
A cutting tool that can be used to separate a variety of sizes of insulated electrical wire. Come in a variety of sizes. Stick with a smaller size when working with younger children. Use with supervision.
Wire Stripper (20-30 awg)
Specialized cutting tool used for removing the plastic insulation from electrical wire. Can be used to cut a variety of sizes of wire. Requires supervision. Difficult for younger children to use.
A specialized set of alligator clips that are useful for holding materials when soldering. Can be used to hold materials in place while working. Basically an extra set of hands.
Adhesive, conductive tape. Useful for flat circuitry on paper or cardboard. Will become less conductive over time due to rips, tears and wrinkles. Good for prototyping.
Rosin Core Solder (1 mm dia.)
Soft metal with a high melting. Used as an adhesive for certain types of metal. Useful for attaching electrical wires together.
Steel Wire (.23 gauge)
A flexible, conductive material. Useful for making a metal sculptures and for practicing soldering.
DC Motor (1.5-3 V)
A small motor that is useful for exploring circuitry. Has a spinning shaft that can be used to make various materials spin or move. Requires two AA batteries to work. May require the addition of electrical wires/leads for ease of use.
LED (10 mm)
A Light Emitting Diode that comes in a variety of colors and sizes. Useful for exploring circuitry. Have a negative (shorter) and positive (longer) wire/lead coming out of them. The positive lead must be hooked up to the positive end of a battery to work. Can work with coin cell 3 volt batteries and AA batteries.
Insulated Wire (20-30 gauge)
Braided metal wire coated in plastic. Used for electronics projects. Comes in a variety of sizes, lengths and colors. Requires a pair of wire strippers to process.
Stretchy adhesive tape that is useful for attaching insulated wire together. Comes in a variety of diameters and colors.
A safe size of battery for children of all ages to use. Contains 1.5 volts of electricity. Will eventually need to be replaced after repeated usage. Come in rechargeable varieties.
AA Battery Clips
A useful material for holding two or more AA batteries together in a series.
Hex, Star, Triangle or Unusual Screwdriver Sets
Many children’s toys and/or high-end electronics use unusual or proprietary screws in order to make it more difficult to take them apart. Consider investing in a set of specialty screwdrivers to allow you to explore inside electronics.Return to Top
Fiber and Textile
Fiber and textile work is accessible to many ages and most tools and materials are inexpensive and transportable. Fabric donations are often easy to solicit.
A specialized machine used for stitching fabric together. Requires a dedicated surface or table to be used. Requires an electrical outlet. Requires supervision and maintenance. May require occasional parts replacement or professional servicing. We strongly recommend against “child” sewing machines or machines with plastic internal gearings.
Sewing needles that have a larger eye which makes threading easier. Durable tool. Requires some supervision when working with young children. Used to stitch fabric together or stitch designs into fabric. Requires a storage space due to small size to alleviate loss of needles.
Used to store pins and needles. Recommend a magnetic version for pins and needles storage in your space.
A sharp, tiny tool used for creating a temporary stitch to help secure your fabric while you sew. Requires a storage space due to small size to alleviate loss of pins. Requires some supervision when working with young children.
A rotating blade that is useful for cutting large pieces of fabric. Requires a cutting mat to help protect the blade and table surface. Very sharp. Should not be used by children under the age of 10.
Specialized scissors used for cutting fabric. Will become dull over time and should not be used to cut any other types of material.
Embroidery Hoop (4-6″)
A set of circular wooden, plastic or metal rings that are used to help hold a piece of fabric taught or tight. Useful for embroidery projects or sewing practice.
Used to temporarily attach two or more materials together.
Specialized tool used to help thread needles with small eyes.
Knitting needles can be useful for knitting, but can also be helpful for poking holes, pushing fabric through small openings or using as a small lever. Knitting needles on display telegraphs that there may be somebody knowledgeable about knitting nearby, which can cause confusion.
Similar to knitting needles, crochet hooks are a useful tool for fiber work but may also be helpful for various small tasks that crop up.
Floor Loom (4 harness)
Designed to create complex-patterened woven fabric, a floor loom is a large, non-electrical machine. Looms are popular with a wide range of ages and have interesting historical connections to computer programing and computational thinking. There are many math and algorithmic connections to be made.
Looms take up dedicated floor space and require relatively time- and labor-intensive set-up for each weaving project and use a relatively large quantity of consumable material. If considering a loom be sure to take into account how staff or facilitators will be trained to set up and maintain it. Decent-quality string should be used for the warp; the weft can be created out of anything flexible.
Skinny, durable thread used to sew fabric together. Comes in a variety of colors and lengths. Supplies will need to be replenished over time.
Thick, twisted fibers. Comes in a variety of colors and lengths. Useful for knitting and crocheting project. Can also be used to attach materials together.
A great introductory activity for sewing is practicing attaching buttons to fabric. Buttons can also be used for sorting, counting or other simple activities. Avoid shank-style buttons with only one button hole. Spaces with young children should be mindful of size in relation to choking hazards.Return to Top
Woodworking tools can be used for general improvement of your space and most tools can be used by a wide audience. Consumable costs can be a potential burden. Wood is a hard material and therefore most wood tools are quite sharp. We recommend hand-powered tools over electric.
Protective, plastic goggles/glasses. Used to protect eyes when using certain tools and processes. It is easier to replace goggles than eyeballs.
Specialized saw that utilizes a mitre box to make straight cuts in smaller pieces of wood. Requires clamps to hold wood and mitre box in place on a surface or table.
Smaller saw that is useful for intricate cuts. Great tool for cutting dowel rods. Can be used by younger children. Blades will need to be replaced over time.
Specialized shaping tool that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Useful for driving nails into a piece of wood. Claw end useful for removing nails from a piece of wood. Comes in a variety of weights and sizes. Recommend a lighter weight hammer when working with children. A child who is old enough and responsible enough to keep safety glasses on can effectively use a hammer for simple tasks.
Specialized tool used to drive dowel or bolts into preexisting or pre-drilled holes in wood. Can also be used along with a chisel to shape and alter a piece of wood. Less heavy and less likely to cause a dropping-injury than a metal hammer.
Sharp tool that is used to shape and alter pieces of wood. Will require sharpening over time. Requires adult supervision and should not be used with younger children.
A specialized saw that is useful for making cuts in smaller pieces of wood. Has a flexible blade without a stiff spine along the back. Can be used by younger children. Requires supervision.
Specialized saw that is useful for cutting through materials other than wood, such as metal.
A sharp spike with a handle that is useful for punching holes in more durable materials such as metal and plastic. Requires a mallet to help drive the pointy end through the material. Requires supervision and should not be used by younger children.
A tool used for tightening a nut and bolt together. Will be difficult for younger children to use due to the strength and precision required.
Compound Mitre Saw (10″)
Electrical saw used for the processing and cutting of larger pieces of wood. Requires extreme supervision and safety precautions.
Stationary power drill that is useful for the drilling of straight holes through wood and other materials. An easy process but a dangerous tool, can be used by children with reasonable supervision.
Electrical saw used for the processing and cutting of small pieces of wood. Requires extreme supervision and safety precautions.
Electrical saw used for the processing and cutting of larger, flatter pieces of wood. Requires extreme supervision and safety precautions.
Hand Drill (Egg Beater Drill)
Small hand drill that can be used by a variety of ages of children to drill small holes into pieces of wood. Require a set of drill bits/hole saws.
Brace and Bit
A larger hand drill used to make larger holes in wood. Can be difficult for smaller children to use. Require a set of drill bits/hole saws.
Rough, sand covered paper used for smoothing and shaping of wood. Can be used by younger children.
Drywall Screws (1.5″)
Used to attach pieces of wood together. Will typically require a pilot hole drilled in the wood first. Can be used with either screwdrivers or a power drill.
Drywall Screws (2.5″)
Used to attach pieces of wood together. Will typically require a pilot hole drilled in the wood first. Can be used with either screwdrivers or a power drill.
Bright Roofing Nails (1.25″)
A specific type of nail with a larger, flatter head. Easy for younger children to use.
Bright Finish Nails (1.25″)
A skinny type of nail. Can be difficult for younger children to use due to its nature to bend if hit incorrectly by a hammer.
Used for attaching two or more pieces of wood together. Requires time and compression to adhere correctly.Return to Top