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Making Connections

Taking something that was going to be thrown away and giving it a new purpose is always rewarding.  The “Book-Shelf” pictured above is a great example of a project that uses entirely re-purposed junk. Actually, “junk” seems like a negative term… Let’s call it “repurposed treasure.” My friend, Becky, wanted to make gift cards for her salon (Tula Organic) in the Squirrel
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MAKESHOP Superhero Gadgets

We get our fair share of crime-fighting gadgets here in the ‘shop. Grappling hooks come and go in waves, and lightsabers are always popular. We’ve seen Iron Man-style repulsers, and plenty of Batman-inspired costume pieces. There’s a foam samurai getup on one of the dress forms, and I myself am guilty of making a magazine-paper broadsword and plate armor combo. Usability is a huge factor when you
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SparkTruck Pit Stop

We had some amazing guests visit the Museum from Stanford University in sunny California.  Jason, Didi and Eugene have spent the summer traveling across the United States in a mobile workshop dubbed the SparkTruck.  Check it out! Along the way, they have been stopping at museums, community centers, events, and parks… Anywhere they can find.  Their truck is full of various gadgets, materials and tools.  The most
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DIY Activity – Paint Chip Pixelization Tutorial

One of my favorite displays at last weekend’s Pittsburgh Mini Maker Faire was the Paint Chip Pixelization. This project will show you how to take a traditional piece of art, like Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers… … into a modernized, pixelized version like this! Interested in making your own?  Follow these easy instructions! 1) Download and Install GIMP! (Image editing software available for free
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Playing with Gears

I was asked by a fellow teacher to create something that facilitates the exploration of gears.  Gears can be tricky for children to understand, so I thought it was a great challenge! After an extremely informal brainstorming session with Christian, I came up with this activity.  I have to thank Christian for passing by during the day and suggesting that I use tacks and foam.  The gears were donated by someone, the fo
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“MAKE”-APART

[slideshow] I really enjoy when visitors add their projects or creations to MAKESHOP. For example, two visitors, Max and Joey, helped build a new component for our Circuit Block Table. They repurposed a wheel from a remote control and the motor from a broken model boat. I showed them how to test the motor with a battery to see if it worked. They decided to mount the motor to a block of wood. Max and Joey added their
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