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Like most craftspeople one of my favorite things is a trip to the local craft store. We don’t have mega monster super craft stores in New York, so a road trip to the suburbs makes this event even more exciting.
The goal of this trip was to find items in a regular craft store that will work for electronic craftsmen and tinkerers like myself. Things we could use to hide LEDs, connect conductive parts, and tools to cut, solder, and sew!
I went to Massachusetts to the nearest Michaels Arts and Crafts and here’s what I found:
Pretty Soldering Irons
You don’t have to use a dingy old soldering iron, add a little color to your workspace with this pastel pretty.
PrettySolderIron Craft Store Trip: Electronic Tools and Doodads
The Designed For Her™ Creative Soldering Tool™ (Link)
One of the most difficult parts about finding electronic tools and gadgets in a craft store is knowing where to look.
Here are some suggestions:
– Wood burning section you can find tools can be used as a solder iron and some have heated tips for cutting into almost any material.
– The scrapbooking area is full of multi cutting tools like x-actos, small knifes, blades and cutting stamps for getting into small areas and making stencils. Also this is the area where you can find conductive parts like brads.
brads Craft Store Trip: Electronic Tools and Doodads
Making Memories® Details™ Brads (Link)
– Beading section provides some of the most valuable tools and parts. They have all kinds of pliers and holding apparatus. Also, this is where you can find the most conductive items like 22 &24 gauge wire and conductive beads.
Toner Plastics makes these pretty wires with coated plastic in pink, greens, magenta, blue, yellow, orange. You’ll never have a boring wiring diagram again.
FunWire Craft Store Trip: Electronic Tools and Doodads
Bright Fun Wire (Link)
Sterling Silver Beads are used for attaching to small areas on solder boards or to your LEDS so you can sew them right in with electronic thread (“The Electric Tank Top” by Leah Buechley). This is the perfect conductive contact with sass.
silverBeads Craft Store Trip: Electronic Tools and Doodads
Sterling Silver Twisted 4mm Corrugated Rounds(Link)
These are just some of the things that I found on my adventure to suburbia. Next time you are taking a trip to the store, go with the objective of finding something that is conductive, a way to connect two wires, or a small container to hold an LED. You’ll see that with a little creativity a whole new world will open up and the craft store will never look the same. Remember to come back here and share with us what you find!

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org 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”).


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