4 Super Easy Budget Friendly Projects for Your Makerspace

4 Super Easy Budget Friendly Projects for Your Makerspace | Makerspace projects don't have to be crazy expensive. Here's four awesome, budget friendly projects that your students will love.

Yes – budget friendly and makerspace can happen in the same sentence.  A common misconception about makerspaces is that you have to spend a lot of money to give your students creative, hands-on learning.  But you can absolutely do a lot of makerspace projects with little to no money.  It might not be as easy as buying some fancy ready made kit, but it’s definitely rewarding.

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Budget Friendly Projects for Your Makerspace

Here’s some of my favorite budget friendly projects for makerspaces.  Note that while I am in a middle school, I’ve seen all four of these projects done at both the elementary and high school levels.  It might take some scaffolding and adjustment, but they can definitely be done at any level.

Recycled Book Crafts

Books get worn out all the time – I’m constantly weeding books with the spines falling apart and ripped out pages.  And you can find cheap books at thrift stores as well.  These books can easily be given new life by turning them into makerspace projects such as:

Here’s some great resources to check out:

Tech take apart

This is a classic and with good reason.  It can be super fun to break out the screwdrivers and open up technology to see how it works.  I recommend some supervision for this activity – I left my students alone during this once while I was helping a couple of others across the room.  The next thing I knew, they were going at an alarm clock with a hammer.

All you need for this is some old, non-working technology like clocks, stereos or old computers.  I recommend cutting the power cable so that students don’t try to plug it in halfway through.

Places to look for free tech to take apart:

  • Appliance and stereo stores
  • Computer recycling companies
  • Your storage room!
  • Parent donations

Another variation that’s super budget friendly: toy take apart!

Cardboard.  Period.

Yes, I blog a lot about cardboard in our makerspace.  There’s a reason for that – when my students are asked what their favorite makerspace supply or project is, cardboard comes up over and over again.  While I have spent money on some supplies like hot glue guns and Skil cutters, overall the amount spent is really low.  I save up cardboard throughout the year as well as recycled materials.  Super cheap, and my students absolutely coming up with amazing, creative ideas for things to create with it.

Perler beads

These aren’t free, but require a pretty small investment.  If you buy non-brand name beads (hello IKEA Pyslla!) you can easily set up a Perler bead station for under $20.  Even if you get the brand name version, there’s still a lot of bang for your buck.  See this post for more tips on using Perler beads in your makerspace.

What’s your favorite budget friendly makerspace project?


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. 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 and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.

Comments

  1. Plastic lids and caps. Toilet paper and paper towel tubes are also useful.

  2. […] 4 Super Easy Budget Friendly Projects for Your Makerspace […]

  3. Maria Cornish : January 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences (and so much more!), Diana. I greatly appreciate the work you are doing and the resources you have shared.

  4. Hi Diana – I’ve been doing ‘take apart’ in my class for years. We ask for donations of broken things to disassemble with restrictions on things like computer monitors (too much glass). I have lots of tools that have also been donated over the years and hammers are not allowed as they smash instead of investigate. This December we had enough items to have a mass take apart afternoon. I invited parents with power tools to come (1 attended) which was helpful getting tight screws loosened for the students to then unscrew. I cut off any electrical plugs when the items arrive to avoid anyone plugging anything in. They have the choice of taking bits and pieces home to further use or throw stuff out. It’s great watching the negotiating between who gets to keep what (we try to recycle left over metal bits). They learn about magnets, batteries and circuit boards. It’s been their favourite centre/day so far this year.

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