Maker Projects: The Awesome Cardboard Maker Cave

Maker Projects- The Awesome Cardboard Maker Cave | Maker Projects posts feature projects my students have put together.  This post details the cardboard Maker Cave that came together over the course of several weeks.  The cave was an installation at our schoolwide Maker Fair.

The Awesome Cardboard Maker Cave

Last spring, I gave my after-school Makers Club a challenge – create a unique, interactive project that guests can interact with at our 2016 Maker Fair.  We had held the Cardboard Challenge earlier in the school year, giving my students lots of ideas on how to use cardboard as a medium.  So it was no surprise to me when a group of students enthusiastically told me that they would be creating a cardboard Maker Cave for our MakerFair.

The Maker Cave Sign, made with cardboard, paperclips and packing tape

The Maker Cave Sign, made with cardboard, paperclips and packing tape

Building (and rebuilding) the Cave

My students decided to build the Maker Cave between two of the lower stacks in our fiction section.  Because the cave blocked access to some of the books, they had to build and rebuild the cave every week during our hour and a half afterschool club.  This really got them into figuring out the most efficient way to build and store the cave.  One aspect that helped was using some of our high stools as supports inside the cave.  They also used a cardboard tube that once held laminating film, since it was extra sturdy.

One of the many cave collapses and rebuilds

One of the many cave collapses and rebuilds

Preparing for the Maker Fair

As we got closer to the Maker Fair, my students continued to modify the design.  They perfected the entrance to the cave.  Several of them added some cozy nooks inside the cave for hanging out.  They discovered some scrap wood that helped add stability.  My students organized a schedule of who would monitor the Maker Cave and control crowds during the event.  There were also a lot of cave collapses around this time as they were continuing to perfect their design.

Entering the Maker Cave

Entering the Maker Cave

littleBits in the Maker Cave

My students used littleBits to help add more features to their Maker Cave.  Using several bargraph bits, they created hanging “chandeliers” throughout the cave.  Using a fan and a slider switch, they created an air conditioning system.  And using a motion detector and buzzer, they created a security system to keep unwanted visitors out when the cave wasn’t open.

littleBits in the Maker Cave

littleBits in the Maker Cave

Although there were a few mishaps and cave collapses on the night of our Maker Fair, that didn’t stop my Maker Cave group from having a blast.  They welcomed students to explore the cave and eagerly explained how they created.  This is what makerspaces are about for me – providing students the opportunity and freedom to create amazing things they’ve dreamed up in their mind.  It made cleaning up all the stray bits of cardboard and packing tape worth it 🙂


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is a middle school media specialist/teacher librarian in Tampa, FL. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves (to be published August 2017). She is also the author of the forthcoming ISTE book, Reimagining School Libraries.