Make: Gift Guide

Robots and welders and open source printers.
Solder and drones and craft pens that glitter.
These are a few of our favorite things…

Whether you’re a crafter, an electronics aficionado, a mad scientist, or a workshop maven, check back on the Make: Gift Guide often as we share our favorite tools, gadgets, accessories, and equipment that help you get the job done.

Did we miss something awesome that you can’t stop raving about?
Tell us about it at [email protected] for a chance to be featured here!

All the kids I know love making animated movies. This kit combines a basic webcam on a gooseneck stand, a very strong project and instruction book, and solid stop-motion animation software. The software is powerful enough and easy to use, although it was fiddly to install (grownup help required). Once up and running, this kit will entertain a little filmmaker for hours, and possibly their YouTube audiences as well.

Recommended by Rafe Needleman, Former Make: Editor in Chief

$69.95

Whether you are a hard-core DIYer or a part-time home crafter, this project mat is a welcome addition to any workshop. It can handle the heat from glue guns, and makes cleanup a snap no matter what kind of adhesive you use. Silicone, rubber cement, craft glue, and more all peel right off. The 15"×30" mat is large enough to cover a decent-sized work area, and the ridged surface is also useful to corral loose screws and small hardware, while the silicone self-heals small cuts. It’s also the perfect mat for photographers or videographers, as the unique slanted line pattern makes camera registration a breeze.

Recommended by Hep Svadja, Make: Senior Photo Editor & Photographer

$29.99

The aluminum base on this trimmer is far sturdier than plastic ones, and its weight offers stability for clean cuts. The self-sharpening blade saves you money on replacements, and it's fully enclosed for safety. It easily handles everything from normal printer paper up to cardstock and photo paper. The edges are clean and crisp, even when slicing through multiple sheets. The easy-to-use guides mean your lines are straight and your cuts are exactly the right size. A clear, automatic clamp keeps your papers right where you want them while making it easy to see where the cut line is.

Recommended by Hep Svadja, Make: Senior Photo Editor & Photographer

$79

This is the perfect tool for heavy-duty sewing, especially if you don’t own an industrial sewing machine. People have been using this handy awl since 1909! The stitcher comes with one straight needle, one curved needle, and a spool of waxed polyester thread with 52-pound tensile strength. The instructions are easy to understand and the awl is ready to use out of the box. The stitcher creates strong lock stitches that can punch through almost any material. You can also purchase additional needle sizes, thread, and other useful goodies. This is a welcome addition to my toolbox — I’m just sad I didn’t know about it sooner.

Recommended by Emily Coker, Workshop Technician

$11.85

Dear Santa,
Please, oh please bring me at least one of these beautifully hand-crafted retro robot sculptures. Although they had me at adorable, they are also all 100% authentic originals coming only from the brilliant mind of esteemed toy designer Brett Mich. These awesome little robots not only bring me joy, they inspire me to be unique with every creation I make. They also make a fantastic little shop buddy.

Recommended by Juliann Brown, Make: Art Director

$120-$295

Airbrushing, even with budget equipment, can be an incredible enhancement to a wide variety of crafts and projects. The problem is mess and ventilation. Keeping the light fog of paint, dye, or whatever you're spraying out of your workspace is important for your health. Containing the mess of dripping paint or overspray can also be frustrating if you're working indoors. This compact airbrush booth unfolds to provide a sheltered workspace, has a fan and filters to capture the spray, and provides a vent tube to run out a window. Using this allowed me to do a lot more airbrushing in the house than I ever dared to do before.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$79.95

A deburring tool seems like a specialty item until you discover how easy it is to clean the sharp or jaggy edge off of sawn, drilled, machined, 3D printed, or cast parts. The specially shaped blade and bearing mount make it easy to run this tool along an edge or around a rim and leave a smooth, micro beveled surface. The Shaviv Mango II is a great mid-range deburring tool with an excellent set of bits for different uses.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$28.96

Bondic sounds like a too good to be true 'As Seen On TV' product, but the truth is that this bonding material is the real thing. The kit provides a tin carrying case with a tube of solvent free UV curable liquid plastic and a small UV flashlight. Apply the liquid plastic onto almost anything and shine the UV on it for a few seconds and it's a sandable, drillable solid. It's heat, water, oil, lye, and acid resistant. A small amount goes a long way, and you'll find uses for it you never would have considered with regular adhesives.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$19.99

Before building That Thing You Wanna Build, it's generally a good idea to make a sketch or rendering of That Thing You Wanna Build. Even if you're not a masterful artist (yeah, right here), Tilt Brush is a really exciting new way to think about drawing — it takes advantage of virtual reality to physically drop you in the middle of your masterpiece. You want to draw a huge mural 360° around you? Go nuts! And even cooler — Tilt Brush keeps track of your progress, so you can replay one stroke at a time. It's currently available on the HTC Vive.

Recommended by Sophia Smith, Make: Managing Editor

$29.99

At Make:, we believe "If you can't open it, you don't own it." With this, you can open anything. Seriously. I bought the older version a few years back, and in just the last month I've used it to crack open a burr grinder and unmount a television. It's been used on about 60% of the appliances in our house and I like the comfort of knowing it will work on the rest, when the time comes.

Recommended by Heather Cochran, Make: Marketing Manager

$42.99

I used budget face shields for years and they worked better than safety glasses. For one thing they allowed me to wear my prescription lenses while cutting or grinding, for another they gave me a wider field of view. But after years of the occasional bit of metal coming up under the bottom rim and the shield fogging up at awkward times, I looked for something better. The Uvex Bionic Shield is comfortable and extends the protection down enough to block incoming material. I prefer the slightly more expensive anti-fog coated shield but any of the UVEX series is a big improvement on this critical safety gear.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$36.28

Black matches everything. And Bib Overalls go with everything. So it stands to reason that black bib overalls are the zenith of maker fashion. Carhartt makes incredibly tough duck work clothes and these overalls have become my favorite thing to wear when I'm heading out to weld, cut, grind, or just plain get dirty. They look great (even if you don't buy them in black).

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$70

This knife is a perfect shop knife. It's easy to open and close with one hand and it comes with two blades. One is a smooth/serrated blade and the other holds a replaceable utility blade. When in the middle of a build there is sometimes no time to find the can opener, the paint stick, or a scalpel to cut the cardboard. With this replaceable blade it is okay to mix the epoxy or cut through paper. All the jobs that you wouldn't like your expensive knife to do are perfect for this tool. I bought mine about 5 years ago and it's still going strong.

Recommended by Laura Kampf

$22

My workday starts with putting on my Bluetooth Hearing Protection…and it ends with taking them off. I listen to music and podcasts all day long while working in my shop. It keeps me entertained and protects my hearing — probably my most used item in the shop.

Recommended by Laura Kampf

$50.99

This is not regular masking tape. It's a bit more expensive but also very high quality. The colors alone make it a pleasure to work with. It is a thick, flat paper tape and comes in different florescent colors and black and white. It won't leave glue stains no matter how delicate your surface is. This tape does an outstanding job masking off a razor-sharp line when spay painting. I also use it quite a lot as a design element as is, for example to create a type font. Once you use this tape it will be very hard to go back to regular masking tape!

Recommended by Laura Kampf

$13

This pencil doesn’t look like anything special but it is the best pencil for shop and design purposes. The name says it — it writes on EVERYTHING, even wet surfaces, metal, plastic, and fabric. I like that is has the regular pencil shape because those bigger "carpenter pencils" are too bulky for my taste. I drop this pencil every day but rarely have problems with it breaking — another quality factor for me. It also comes in different colors. My favorites are graphic for woodworking and bright surfaces, white for dark surfaces and red to make corrections or super important marks.

Recommended by Laura Kampf

$19.84

This is the most overthought tape measure I have seen. I bought it a couple years ago and ever since then it's had a special place in my shop. It has some extra handy functions, like the sharpened tip you can use to instantly measure and mark simultaneously. It's also perfect to measure internal lengths and has a compass function. The function that I have used the most when on the road is the scale that is printed on the backside of the tape, which you can use to measure diameters. Also, all the parts are replaceable, so this tool will last you a lifetime!

Recommended by Laura Kampf

$38.64

Kids should learn to use power tools. But who wants to leave an eight-year-old with an over-powered, twitchy power drill? A Dremel is a good entry to power tools. It’s flexible, powerful, and very useful for small projects. Yes, you can injure yourself, as you can with any real tool. But the small business end and its single-speed trigger can give kids the control they need while teaching them the skills and respect required for motorized implements. This cordless Dremel is a bit heavy for small kids, but not having AC power on the workbench means there’s one less thing for parents to worry about.

Recommended by Rafe Needleman, Former Make: Editor in Chief

$85.01

I find myself needing to solder in a wider variety of places than I used to. Hackerspaces, soldering parties, Maker Faire's, etc. Butane powered soldering irons have turned this from a frustration to a pleasure. I now do the majority of my regular soldering with this portable unit. It gets hot much faster than my 110V AC pencil and feels good in my hand, freed from the cord. I've worn out two of these tools and will immediately buy another one if I go through a third.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$25.95

This gadget is a USB stick that allows any conductive object (spoons, aluminum foil, food) to mimic a key on your keyboard or a click of your mouse, letting you bridge the digital world of code with tangible, custom hardware. The Go version of the Makey Makey is limited to only one input. But once I started thinking of it as an event trigger, and not as a 1-button game controller, I could focus on the kinds of applications that made sense. With its price, features, and approachable design, I am certain that it will be a staple of science fair projects for years to come.

Recommended by Donald Bell, Maker Project Lab

$20

Multimeters are another item that it’s handy to have more than one of. For portability, you can’t beat this pen-style auto-ranging meter. It’s easy to use and the probe point retracts into the tip so that it doesn’t stab you in your pocket or rip your carry bag. There have been multiple occasions now where I was able to pull this out of my bag and save the day, so even if it isn’t the most feature packed meter in the world; it helps me look like a hero.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$29.99

Dash buttons are now used in hundreds of maker projects from providing a remote on/off switch for a Raspberry Pi to controlling your house lights. Durable and with a lifespan of over 1,000 presses, the hacker community has taken Dash to heart and exposed how to make it do your will. Bottom Line: Dash buttons are great maker stocking stuffers.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$4.99

There are lots of laser thermometers on the market and they vary in quality and price. Two factors primarily determine the differences. The first is the Distance/Spot (D/S) ratio which describes how close you have to be to get a valid reading and the second is the temp range that the unit can detect. The Lasergrip 1080 is a good choice for an affordable unit with a 12:1 ratio (this is relatively high which is good,) and a range of -58℉~1022℉/ -50℃~550℃, which is also better than most.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$17.88

When you're ready for your next Arduino project to be connected to your heart, check out Olimex's Electrocardiography (EKG) Electromyography (EMG) shield. This shield allows you to design your own biofeedback projects. The amplifiers on the board only offer a single channel and the included software is of dubious value, but there are good examples online. I programmed an app in Python using the shield to monitor QTc and learned a lot in the process.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$24

You never know when it’s going to be time to do science, so it’s important to have a microscope close at hand. This 60x microscope clips over the camera of any cell phone. LEDs illuminate the surface for a good image with either white or UV light. The UV LEDs can turn your phone into a counterfeit bill detector. While it’s not a serious piece of scientific equipment, it’s surprising how effective this magnifier can be, allowing for cool photos and other new uses for your phone.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$6.98

Whether you want to look in your own ear or find the tiny screw you dropped in the engine compartment, a borescope is the perfect tool. This 2 MP scope with over 16ft. cable includes an integrated light and has snap-on hook, magnet, and right angle mirror attachments. The camera and cable are waterproof and the USB connector worked great with my phone’s USB adapter, making this a super-portable tool.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$14.99

One of the troubles with thermal cameras is that details in heat emission visuals aren’t always simple to distinguish. The Flir One imager overcomes that by merging the video output from your iPhone or Android’s camera with the heat imaging from the clip-on Flir sensor. The result is a unique and fascinating display of the scene you’re investigating, with clean, clear lines between objects. It’s useful for everything from finding spots in your house where insulation might be lacking, to detecting moisture leaks, or just making and sharing awesome dance videos with your friends.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$249.99

This pen is the ultimate everyday carry. It's light and it's comfortable both in your hand in your pocket. The best part is that I have used the same pen ink cartridge that I got with the pen 4 years ago and it is still writing to this day. It's one of the items I can throw in my pocket and use at anytime. Overall this is a gift that would be cheap on the wallet and highly functional.

Recommended by David Krepps, Make: reader

$18

A petty knife (AKA utility knife) is a midway point between the chef and paring knife, and its extreme versatility make it a worthy addition to any cook's arsenal of cutlery, ideal for any cutting job requiring finesse, from julienning ginger to mincing shallots.

Recommended by Lisa Fetterman, CEO of Nomiku

$160

For making perfectly smooth purées, nothing can beat a Vita-mix; this is the essential tool for anyone serious about silkiness.

Recommended by Lisa Fetterman, CEO of Nomiku

$465

I have a simple four-zone sprinkler system, and programming its traditional controller is aggravating. I got the Rachio controller to fix that, as it moves the controls to your phone and offers an intuitive interface for scheduling and controlling the system. It syncs with local weather data, so it knows to not water on rainy days, and can determine each zone’s specific watering needs based on plant type, soil type, and other factors. I love being able to turn a zone on or off from any spot, which is great for troubleshooting and making repairs.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$200

Amazon's Echo can answer simple questions, set reminders and timers, order items on Amazon, and play music, all through spoken commands. The control is familiar to anyone who runs voice queries on their phone — both in convenience and frustration. Getting a precise answer is a bit clunky, but Alexa’s responsiveness is much faster than what I'm used to. Amazon has a fairly permissive developer program, letting makers build tools to control their devices via Alexa. The compatibility list grows regularly. Amazon is also courting the community to develop easy apps, and has even published a how-to for adding Echo functionality to a Raspberry Pi.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$50-$180

Portable back up batteries have become an important part of daily carry and travel. This unit represents the next step in their evolution. Not only is it a beefy 12000mAh battery with USB outlets, it has 12V outlets as well. This means that it can be the power supply for a huge number of projects that include motors, servos, and valves. It has intelligent charging circuitry to assure the fastest charge times for your devices and will even jump start your car with the included clamps!

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$39.99

Most cars in the US produced after 1996 are equipped to tell you a great deal about the engine and other components. Without a 'reader' there's no way to get this info. This Bluetooth-enabled OBD II reader plugs right into your vehicle's OBD port and sends its data to your phone or tablet. Freeware apps allow you to create incredibly detailed real-time dashboards of all kinds of fascinating things. If your vehicle's been worked on and has to pass an inspection, but needs a particular driving pattern for the code to clear, this unit is indispensable. I always leave one plugged in to each of my cars.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$11.99

If you’ve got a GoPro or one of the competitor action cameras, you’ll want to be able to attach it to things. Lots of things. This massive accessory bundle makes sure you can attach it to almost anything by providing a floating mount, chest mount, head mount, selfie stick, bar clamp mount, suction cup mount, tripod, wrist mount, clip mount and more pieces and parts than I can list. It even includes a case that provides hours of fun as you try and pack everything back in it.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$18.99

Designed by renowned chef Gray Kunz, this is the last word in spoon technology, beautifully balanced and proportioned, it's just the thing for all of your saucing, dolloping, and basting needs.

Recommended by Lisa Fetterman, CEO of Nomiku

$18.62

These are exactly what they sound like: giant tweezers. But their usefulness extends way beyond fussy herb-placement: they're a great all-purpose tool for handling and flipping food items that require a degree of dexterity, and they render standard tongs obsolete for everything except really heavy-duty jobs.

Recommended by Lisa Fetterman, CEO of Nomiku

$12.99

Setting up a 3D printer, especially when dealing with Z-axis antics, can be a frustrating task. A set of metric feeler gauges provides an instant and easy way to measure specific distances in the same (metric) system used by most 3D printers. Whether you're measuring the height of the nozzle off the deck or the relative height of an inductive sensor, feeler gauges are quicker and easier to use than calipers in many situations.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$9.03

I spotted XTC-3D Print Coating at World Maker Faire and was immediately excited. PLA can't be acetone vapor bathed like ABS and heat guns are hit or miss on their results. XTC-3D brushes on and turns the layers into a smooth, hard surface that dramatically improves the visual look and durability of 3D prints.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$24.49

LittleBits makes delightful electronics kits based on its own proprietary, fool-proof, magnetic connection scheme that lets you bodge components together without fear of shorting anything out. This kit includes buzzers, sensors, a servo, and two of the all-important baseplates that let you make your constructions mechanical, not just electric. Instructions get kids off to a great start with fun projects, like a sensor-triggered catapult, but the kit is flexible and allows a lot of good experimentation — and learning.

Recommended by Rafe Needleman, Former Make: Editor in Chief

$99.95

Navigate within design packages in 3 dimensions with this handy 3d mouse.

When I was an IT admin at an engineering company, all the engineers loved these. They could rotate and zoom their models in 3d space easily with one hand.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft, Make: Senior Editor

$102

when it comes to measuring 3d prints or milled parts, you don't want to be using a ruler or tape measure. A set of digital calipers is absolutely essential. You don't have to spend a ton of money though.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft, Make: Senior Editor

$29.95

Adds a nice protective layer that is tough, but lighter than leather. These have saved several pairs of pants from getting glue, oil, paint, and even welding sparks on them.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft, Make: Senior Editor

$36.90

This kit includes all the parts you need, as well as a step by step 20 page booklet with your first three projects, so it's perfect if you are new to electronics. And when we say it's all included, we mean it! It also includes things like a Wi-Fi enabled microcontroller, battery pack and sewable LEDs - the only wearable kit that does.

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$99.99

I really like Pam Wishbow's work as an illustrator. Besides creating really lovely artwork, she sells an eclectic range of zines and witchy goods inspired by divination and esoteric imagery.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Editorial Intern

$30

The DSMX Spektrum DX5 is the perfect radio transmitter for drone hobbyists and beginners. Spektrum is a pioneer in the RC industry, offering the most affordable full range 2.4GHz radio ever available. Choose your favorite drone -- this transmitter works with the G10 Mini FPV Quadcopter, and the Combat Quad. The affordable Spektrum has all the features you need to get started flying drones. Its simple design makes it easy for anyone to use, and the DSMX technology offers exquisite control. You'll be flying high in no time with the Spektrum.

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$89.99

Maximize flight time with this replacement battery pack for your 3DFly quadcopter drone. An extra battery is a staple for any drone enthusiast. Charge one battery while using the other, then switch them and keep flying!

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$9.99

Blast reusable rockets hundreds of feet in the air with the Compressed Air Rocket Launcher v3.0! This launcher was first introduced to the world in Make: Magazine vol. 15 in 2008. Since then, individuals, groups, and Maker Faires all over the world have had a blast introducing rocketry to kids and adults with this launcher.

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$129.99

While everyone waits for the new Phantom 4 Pro and the folding Mavic to ship, this is still one of our favorites.

Winner of the Make: Best Overall award, the real standouts on the Phantom 4 are its sensors. Two distance sensors and five cameras, including two above the landing gear, couple with a dedicated processor to detect obstacles in its flight path. This works in all flight modes except the high-speed “Sport” setting. We were skeptical, but it performs well, and is ideal for autonomous flights or when using the new person-following function to help prevent collisions with trees, buildings, or other obstructions along the way. It’s just for forward-moving flight, though — the other sides are still blind.

Recommended by Matt Stultz, Make: Contributing Editor

$1399

With its recent price drop, the Phantom 3 Professional might be the best starting point for anyone seriously interested in aerial cinematography. Out of the box, the quadcopter is straightforward to set up. The propellers thread onto color-matched screws, and a wrench in the included toolkit helps achieve critical tightness. After charging the batteries, installing the DJI Go app, and updating the firmware, you’re ready to take to the skies.

Recommended by Tyler Winegarner, Make: Videographer

$899

The Solo is quite zippy; its slowest setting is great for minimizing jerky motion when filming. But at full throttle, the Solo tied the Phantom 4 (in “Sport” mode) for fastest rig in our roundup. Our battery tests gave 14 minutes of flight time, and we were able to get about 2,600 feet away before losing reception.

With the company recently moving away from consumer products, you can now pick one of these up for a fraction of the price — look online for fully loaded deals in the $500-$600 range. A steal.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$500-$800

After a good Book Artist friend turned me onto this paste I haven’t used anything else. Well, except for my glue gun! This paste is the best. Not only is it archival, it doesn’t curl papers and to be honest - anything I have ever tried gluing with this paste has stuck! Plus - it’s water soluble!

Recommended by Sarah Struck, Make: Visual Design

$10

Fantastic looking models that are laser cut from wood and come flat packed. I chose the VW to highlight but the seller has other kits that are very impressive and surprisingly cheap.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft: Make: Senior Editor

$19.85

I was able to use some of Bosch’s small 12V tools a few years ago on a TV project, and quickly discovered they packed more than enough power for almost anything I was working on, but without the muscle-burning bulk of large 18-20V alternatives. I’m now using the latest model impact driver around my house — it’s even smaller and stronger than before. I have to be careful with it, the size is deceptive and I’ve stripped a few screws while assembling furniture. I most recently used it to make a small skate ramp with much satisfaction.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$169

My house has a big wooden garage door that needs regular refinishing. I started stripping the peeling polyurethane with a quarter-sheet sander, but couple hours later, with not much progress to show, realized it wasn’t the right tool for the job. Researching alternatives, the handles on this Makita jumped out to me, and proved to be much easier to use for long, vertical projects (like my garage door). Its dust collection bag works well, but like all, fills up regularly; you can get hose adapters, but I designed and 3D printed my own to connect to my shop vacuum. It all but eliminated any dust. I’m very happy with the investment.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$93

I've always considered double sided tape to be a ruse. It always failed after light use and dropped things I cared about on the floor. Gorilla Tape to the rescue! This is heavy duty clear double sided tape with incredible adhesive power. It's now become the tool of choice for holding small things down on my CNC table. Tasks I would have never trusted to tape I now hand over to Gorilla Mounting Tape without a fear in my heart.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$5.98

I still have the Heathkit clock I assembled in the 1970s. There are very few possessions I've held onto for that long, and that's a testament to how special a Heathkit is. Heathkit has gone through a lot of transitions, but the new owners are trying to restore it to its former glory. The manual is as complete as the manuals from the 1970s, with an introduction to soldering and detailed, step-by-step instructions for assembly. As with Heathkits of old, this clock comes with a sleek, attractive, mechanically well-thought-out enclosure, so the finished product looks good anywhere in the house, and not just on the maker's bench.

Recommended by Bob Alexander, Make: reader

$99.95

Jenn Lamb is a Bay Area ceramicist who handcrafts home goods from clay. I first saw her work at a local craft fair where she was selling her goods. My first thought was that her carved mugs looked exactly like light on ocean chop and I fell in love.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Editorial Intern

$42

It's a small, foldable, elegant utility blade carrier. Works like a pocket knife you never need to sharpen, or a utility blade that's elegant enough to carry every day.

Recommended by Tyler Winegarner, Make: Videographer

$7

This little vise makes my world so much easier. It holds position fantastically. Adjustments are super easy with the knurled knobs that also have wings. The weighted base can hold a surprising amount of force before it scoots or tips, and the little grooves in the clamping jaws are perfect for holding perf board or PCB in place.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft, Make: Senior Editor

$26.99

Learn to cross stitch with an adorable robot. Not too complex, perfect for a beginner.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft, Make: Senior Editor

$18.00

If you know a maker who's somehow not yet a subscriber to Make: magazine, this is a no-brainer gift. With 6 issues a year, each packed with 20+ projects, there's something to inspire every style of maker. Along with projects, you can learn new skills, hear the latest on up-and-coming industries, get tool recommendations, and marvel at the best of the maker movement. You can choose a print subscription, digital, or both — the print edition looks great on coffee tables and bookshelves, and the downloadable PDFs are ready to reference at a moment's notice.

Recommended by Sophia Smith, Make: Managing Editor

$34.95

Add magical first-layer adhesion surface to any existing printer.

Recommended by Tyler Winegarner, Make: Videographer

$19.95

This tiny FPV capable drone is great for the office or winter weather months stuck indoors. Start off with some basic training with line-of-sight flying, then graduate up to First Person View to get into the cockpit. Its micro size turns anywhere and everywhere into a race course. Safe around pets and children, this ducted drone uses aerospace technology to gain performance while not skimping on protection. Great for drone enthusiasts or aspiring racers.

Recommended by Justin Kelly aka King Koopa, Aerial Sports League & Proto.House

$200

Martin Cate is the creative force behind two of my favorite bars in San Francisco. His book takes an expansive look at rum-based and Tiki-inspired cocktails, how to make them, their history, and the history of tiki bars. Highly recommend for people interested in mixology and history — you won't find this book lacking in either.

Recommended by Lisa Martin, Make: Editorial Intern

$21.83

After I built a brick pizza oven in my back yard (and you can and should too!), I painfully learned that adding logs or adjusting the fire quickly meant burnt knuckles — 900º F is no joke for bare skin. I found these gloves that can take that and then some, even letting you pick up burning logs. No more burns, and I feel like a superhero with them on.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$20

There are few robot kits as mechanically beautiful as this one. The anodized aluminum structural parts are ridiculously robust. Electronic and mechanical components attach easily. In this mega kit, the included instructions are enough to get you started (and build the tracked grabber bot pictured on the box), but you’ll need some self-directed learning skills to really take advantage of its programmability and possibility. Maybe not the best solution for a first-time builder, but this kit is great for prototypers and anyone looking for a nice challenge.

Recommended by Rafe Needleman

$349.99

You can use this massive yarn to make chunky scarves and blankets. The giant knits will draw the eye from across the room. This kit comes with directions for either needle knitting or arm knitting. Choose the amount of wool you need and the price adjusts accordingly.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft, Make: Senior Editor

$12.74+

It's hard to improve on a Sharpie, but for many uses, the FastCap Long Nosed Pattern Marker manages to do so. It's a regular maker on one end and a very fine tip on the end of a 1-1/8" long extension on the other. This extension lets you mark in tight spaces or run along a straight edge without having to account for the shape of a conical or chisel tip. I never thought I'd say it but this marker is much easier to use for carpentry, metal, or pattern marking than even a fine tip Sharpie.

Recommended by Tim Deagan, Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

$11.62

A powerful micro drone featuring FPV camera that live-streams to the included controller's screen. Everything but AA batteries is included for FPV flight. Full acro mode and adjustable rate modes at the click of a stick let you level up your skills the more you practice. Once you're ready to show off your hours of training, hit record on the DVR and upload your sick flights — I like airvuz.com (home of the best drone videos).

Recommended by Justin Kelly aka King Koopa, Aerial Sports League & Proto.House

$100

I find these extremely useful when I have to strip a thin wire for my soldering projects, as with the normal cutting pliers I often ended up cutting the whole cable tip. And I was amazed when I could strip just the outer insulation of a three wire cable so easily while doing some reparation at home.

Recommended by Ricardo Caja, Make: reader

$28

Amateur scientists have discovered significant dinosaur fossils, found new species of plants, and identified many new comets and asteroids. Their discoveries have been published in scientific journals and books. Written by the foremost amateur scientist practicing in the U.S. today, this book covers some of the many ways you can enter the world of amateur science. You'll learn the essential skills, methods, and procedures that you need to begin working, thinking, inquiring, and recording like a real scientist.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles, Make: Books

$15.99

This kit is a fun, simple combination of Bluetooth modules and pop-and-fold papercraft cars. The 8 modules, which include motors, an LED, and tilt sensor, can be easily connected and controlled via the Curious Cars app. You can follow the adorable in-app storyline, which uses a maze game to drag and connect the modules. It’s a bit tricky for wide fingers, but little makers will have no trouble. (Be sure not to close the app midway through constructing a car, or prepare to re-do the mazes!) When you’re ready, dive into the project ideas booklet for more ambitious applications, like an automatic cat feeder.

Recommended by Sophia Smith, Make: Managing Editor

$199

All business on the outside... but entirely party on the inside! This sleek carrying case has all the space you could need for your micro drone. Protect their small frames, the controller, and gather all the accessories into one easy to transport case. Never again forget tools, batteries, or extra propellers.

Recommended by Justin Kelly aka King Koopa, Aerial Sports League & Proto.House

$25

We made this special kit to contain the basic components you need to get started with programming and electronics projects. The kit also contains our book Getting Started with Raspberry Pi - 3rd Edition by Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace. This book takes you step-by-step through many fun and educational projects.

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$79.99

Written by the founder of the game-changing Shapeoko project that brought simple, inexpensive CNC machines to the marketplace, this book offers beginners a general introduction to desktop CNC routing and acts as a handy reference for more experienced users. This book flattens the CNC learning curve, kick-starting the reader's own journey into personal digital fabrication by offering a basic overview of affordable, hobbyist-level computer-controlled routers. No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required — you don't even need CNC access to complete the exercises in this book.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles, Make: books

$19.99

Skycat offers a variety of parachutes for different weight classes of sUAS. Whether you want to keep your Phantom 2 Vision from being an unwanted part of that wedding, or you want to assure your insurance carrier that your custom rig carrying a $15k 4k Dragon Red setup isn't going to come down like a fireball during that action sequence, the Skycat will help you steady your nervous hands.

Recommended by Justin Kelly aka King Koopa, Aerial Sports League & Proto.House

$750

There’s just something about miniature things… These little pieces of whimsy inspire me to want to build tiny dioramas in random places around my house. You could also use them for models too! A great gift for those with limited space (wink wink) and anyone who likes mini things. The kit includes mini cinder blocks, a mini barrel, red bricks, a Jersey barrier, and more.

Recommended by Sarah Struck, Make: Visual Design

$69.99

With simple construction and easy circuits, you can do these paper projects quickly and easily. Put some together and then wear them to a Maker Faire to stand out!

Recommended by Caleb Kraft, Make: Senior Editor

$25

For soldering, I highly recommend adjustable temperature and tips. Having a temperature control and (more importantly) having an indicator when the iron is up to temperature is extremely useful. It may be a bit expensive, but if anyone plans on using it more than once, the Hakko FX888D’s adjustable temperature and replaceable tips are worth it.

Recommended by Geoff Barrett, Founder, Maker Hub Canada

$98

Explore chemical cuisine, recipe hacks, growing your own food, cooking off the grid, and working with — and building — your own crazy gadgets. Perfect for kids with some adult help, this book shows you how to make your own butter with a mechanized butter bot that does the hard work for you; a hydraulic 3D food printer that uses Legos and frosting; a solar cooker that lets the sun do all of the work baking nachos, cookies, and even a chocolate cake; a worm bin for making your own soil; an aquaponic jar where your pets help to grow the veggies; and much more.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles, Make: books

$19.99

We made this kit in order to bundle up the components you need to make getting started easy. Plus, this kit contains the 3rd edition of our book 'Getting Started with Arduino,' co-written by Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino.

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$74.99

I'm a big advocate of Tinkercad, a super-simple web-based CAD app. This great book by Nestor "Yan" Llanos (lead design engineer for Local Motors' 3D-printed car the "Strati") helps kids (and at least one grownup) learn all the secrets of getting the most out of this great app to design wonderful 3D-printable figures and creations. Colorful and fun, I'm impressed and excited for my nephews to learn some new design skills with this.

Recommended by Mike Senese, Make: Executive Editor

$25

A guided tour of the international phenomenon known as the Maker Movement, a social revolution that is changing what gets made, how it’s made, where it’s made, and who makes it.

Free to Make explores how making revives abandoned and neglected urban areas, reinvigorates community spaces like libraries and museums, and even impacts our personal and social development—fostering a mindset that is engaged, playful, and resourceful. Free to Make asks us to imagine a world where making is an everyday occurrence in our schools, workplaces, and local communities, grounding us in the physical world and empowering us to solve the challenges we face.

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$17.95

It's a shop class in a book! Here’s a book that shows you how to have fun while you learn the fundamentals of using workshop tools.You don’t even need a fancy workshop — everything can be done on a kitchen table.

Recommended by Audrey Donaldson, Head of eCommerce—Makershed

$14.99-19.99

Code-a-pillar is a Fisher-Price toy, which means all-American style: it’s cartoon-cute, plastic, and loud, with lots of flashing lights, music, and goofy sounds. The hardware itself is the programming interface — each segment of the caterpillar is marked with its function (go straight, turn left, play music, etc.) and you rearrange them as you please. Press the button and the robot drives off to execute your sequence. Hit an obstacle and Code-a-Pillar stops with a “Whoa!”; complete your mission and you get a “Woo hoo!” Fisher-Price also offers additional segments (including new turn angles and sounds, and a repeat function) but we haven’t tried those yet.

Recommended by Keith Hammond, Make: Projects Editor

$38

Cubetto, funded by a huge Kickstarter campaign last year, has a fairly calm aesthetic, very European and Montessori-approved. The robot is a demure wooden cube that emits only quiet bleeps. On a separate, Bluetooth-paired board, you sequence Cubetto’s movement by placing colored blocks (forward, right, left, or “function”) along a flow-path. My older child, 5½, quickly became fascinated with this literal drag-and-drop programming, and there’s a little side loop (invoked by the function block) that teaches the concept of subroutines. Cubetto moves relatively short distances, making it suitable for smaller play areas; it comes with a play map and storybook with sample missions to try.

Recommended by Keith Hammond, Make: Projects Editor

$225

I have to be honest, the holiday season and the presents and the expectations and oh, did I mention presents - can be both daunting and uninspiring. Then, I realized I could give in ways that was both meaningful and supportive; so I began to create a list of organizations I wanted to support in honor of those I love, like Maker Ed. Check them out! A non-profit dedicated to creating more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making - why not support them?

Recommended by Sarah Struck, Make: Visual Design

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SPONSORED
The LulzBot TAZ features proven 3D printing technology and one of the largest print volumes in its class. With self-leveling, self-cleaning, tetherless printing, and more, the LulzBot TAZ 6 is ready to work.

Recommended by Aleph Objects

$2,500

SPONSORED
The LulzBot Mini is a high performance desktop 3D printer that's perfect for home users, makers, designers, engineers, architects, and anyone looking for an easy-to-use desktop 3D printer.

Recommended by Aleph Objects

$1,250

SPONSORED
pi-topCEED is a family friendly plug-and-play desktop powered by the Raspberry Pi with slideable acrylic slice. This great RPi powered computer will help you learn to code, create awesome devices and take your tinkering to the next level. It’s an excellent affordable gift to any budding hobbyist or inquisitive mind wanting to explore technology!

pi-topCEED with Raspberry Pi - $149.99
pi-topCEED without Raspberry Pi - $114.99

Recommended by Pi-Top

$114.99

SPONSORED
The BOSEbuild Speaker Cube allows kids to build their own Bluetooth speaker with Bose-quality sound. An app-guided journey starts with a simple magnet and coil of wire so kids can explore how electromagnets make motion and ends with a final product that they can personalize with lights and covers. Easy to assemble – ideal for ages 8-14.

Recommended by Bose

$149

SPONSORED
Dino Pet is a living, interactive pet that photosynthesizes during the day, and produces a blue glow when you play with it at night. The dinosaur-shaped aquarium contains thousands of bioluminescent microorganisms called dinoflagellates. No matter your age, the Dino Pet is sure to instill a sense of wonder and awe.

Recommended by BioPop

$59.95

SPONSORED
Looking for a developer kit that has some serious AI chops? The Jetson TX1 has 1 Teraflops of performance, an NVIDIA Maxwell™ GPU with 256 cores, 4GB memory and 16GB eMMC. Plus, freely download all the design resources you need to get up and running fast. Hobbyists and professionals can develop highly advanced autonomous robots, drones, and machines capable of parallel computation and deep learning.

Get the NVIDIA Jetson TX1 Developer Kit for 50% off – now only $299 – for a limited time. SIGN UP HERE to get your promo code.

Recommended by NVIDIA

$599 Now only $299

SPONSORED
The perfect developer kit for budding roboticists who want a big brain on a budget. It includes the NVIDIA® Tegra® K1 SoC, NVIDIA® Kepler™ GPU with 192 cores, NVIDIA 4-Plus-1 quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, 2GB memory and 16GB eMMC. There’s a variety of design resources that will lend a helping hand along the way. Learn to prototype tomorrow’s robots, drones and machines today.

Recommended by NVIDIA

$192

SPONSORED
The Learn-to-Solder Intermediate Pack is a collaboration between Arrow and Adafruit Industries to help people of all age and skill levels learn the in's and out's of soldering. With several different projects included, this is the perfect kit to start exploring the world of soldering and embedded electronics.

Recommended by Arrow Electronics

$98.73

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