Maker’s Corner — Be an Angel

Maker’s Corner — Be an Angel
Playing with the Snap Circuits Flying Saucer Kit.
Playing with the Snap Circuits Flying Saucer Kit.

Right about the time you’re reading this, a bevy of makers in Sebastopol, Calif., are being sustained by pizza and beer in a warehouse as they burn the midnight oil fulfilling the upswing of orders we always see this time of year.

Even last year, when most retailers were feeling the cold sting of recession, the Maker Shed’s orders were up 72% over the prior year. I mention this not as a boast, but rather because we see it as an indicator of a bigger trend taking shape. A making trend.

Not only are people giving gifts they’ve made themselves in greater numbers than ever before, but they’re also touching loved ones with the gift of making, by giving a project kit that enables the recipient to make something of their own. Passing the DIY torch, if you will.

This holiday season, however, I want to challenge our readers to extend the gift of making beyond your friends and family. I want you to consider giving a gift to a school, a science class, a teacher, or maybe an after-school mentor at a school near you. Spread your wings. Become an angel to a teacher or an after-school program.

Regardless of where you live, I’ll bet there’s a school within walking distance that would love to be able to stimulate the minds of students with a good hands-on science project — a DIY electronics kit, a basic laboratory equipment kit, a robot kit, or a Blinkybug. Even a gift of $20 can make for a fun class project.

Here’s my pledge to you. When you place an order with and name a school or teacher as the recipient at a bona-fide school address, we’ll take 10% off the entire order. If your order is $250 or greater, we’ll take 15% off the entire order and include The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments as an additional gift. Just enter code “School10” when placing any order under $250 and specify a school and/or teacher at a school address. Enter “School15” if your order is $250 or greater.

Whether you buy from Maker Shed or some other fine supplier, or build it yourself, whether you’re thinking about your own child’s class or don’t even have kids, please consider spreading the maker ethos and spirit to a school or teacher near you.

Special Announcement

We’ve launched the Make: Science Room, a hands-on science destination for backyard scientists and educators with how-tos on setting up a home lab, evaluating and buying equipment and supplies, and doing fun and educational home science experiments.

We’ve also put together amazing bundles of lab equipment, tools, and chemical sets at some outstanding prices. The Maker Shed now carries everything from high-quality microscopes, to all manner of fancy beakers and flasks, to lab aprons and splash goggles. Check out all the how-to science goodness at

Happy Holidays,

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Dan Woods

Dan is CEO of TechShop, Inc. Before joining the team, he spent nine years at O'Reilly Media and was the co-founder of Make: Magazine, which focuses on how-to projects for makers. In this role, Dan oversaw marketing, media relations, circulation development, community outreach, and sales for the magazine. He helped establish Make: as the premier media group and voice of the DIY market. He also conceived and launched the Maker Shed store, growing it to one of Make:'s most important assets. Dan has a BS in Aeronautics from San Jose State University and studied business administration at Santa Clara University's Graduate School of Business.

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