Here are our picks for some electrified craft gadgets that will get your studio’s motor running. What are your favorite craft power tools? Leave a note in the comments below.


Brother 1034D 3/4 Lay-In Thread Serger
A serger really takes the home sewer’s capabilities to the next level. Make professional-looking knitwear, rolled-hem napkins in a flash, and wield the frantic power of this machine that slices as it stitches.


Singer Futura X-L400 sewing and embroidery machine
sewing and embroidery

If needlework’s more your thing, head for a dual sewing/embroidery machine. This one has software for illustrating your imagination in stitches, and does all the basic sewing stuff, too.


Foredom flex shaft
I have one of these bad boys and I love it. The motor hangs from a hook and the spinning handpiece spins at variable speeds, controlled by a foot pedal. I use it for fine metalworking, but it’s useful anywhere you’d use a handheld rotary tool.


Eye-Fi Mobile X2
At first thought, I didn’t think much of the idea behind Eye-Fi: it wirelessly uploads photos from your camera to your computer, and optionally, the internet. When I tried it out, it clear that the Eye-Fi was keeping my photos and videos super organized and backed up with no effort on my part, and I changed my mind about it. As soon as I’m done shooting a project, the files are already there for me to start editing.


Silhouette CAMEO
The Silhouette machine is a desktop vinyl cutter related to the Craft ROBO. It cuts paper, fabric, and many other planar materials in intricate shapes, useful for stickers, decals, scrapbooking, circuit board etching, and much more. Check out Becky’s review and Meg’s video using one of the other Silhouette machines.


KitchenAid stand mixer
Homemade whipped cream? Five batches of cookies? Liquid nitrogen ice cream? No problem. These stand mixers will last forever and can do the heavy lifting for all kinds of foods including pasta, sausage, and even good old fashioned birthday cake.

Brother knitting machine
Only available used, this is a serious gift that requires some ebay agility! Look for machines that are confirmed to function and have complete manuals. Digital is preferred over punchcard.


Olympus E-P2 camera
This is my camera and I adore it. It’s small enough to bring everywhere, has interchangeable lenses, and shoots HD video with microphone input! I’m a big fan of the new micro four-thirds cameras and recommend trying them out in person and then finding a good deal online.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern ( is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

  • Courtney

    How about a suggestion for a machine for someone who is just dipping their toe into sewing? Something really easy to thread, will work for a while, but where the price might not make me feel too guilty if I don’t stick with sewing.

  • Carole M

    My sewing machine is by far my favourite tool. Although I like that serger! I really want a serger.

  • Pete

    How do you etch circuitboards with a silhouette machine?