Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Gifts you can make

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Gifts you can make


Finding gifts for your family members and friends can be tough. Sure you love to solder, tinker, and write code, but maybe your grandma or dad can’t tell a resistor from an LED. Here are several gifts you can make: either kits you assemble/personalize or projects that are fun to make and give.

Ice Tube Clock Kit, $85

This Russian vacuum tube clock kit by Adafruit is a fun challenge to build and a delight to receive as an assembled gift!


LOL Shield + Freeduino SB belt buckle, $55 with 9V battery case

The smaller USB port on the Freeduino SB makes it easy to squeeze the belt between the board and the shield. Photo above by Audrey Penven.

LED Menorah kit, $15

The LEDs don’t burn out after seven days and seven nights. Also by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Hanukkah this year starts on December 1.



RGB LED waterproof flexi-strip, $35 per meter, Adafruit

Makes a great belt! The LEDs are individually addressable so it’s easy to program up a custom strip of any length.

iPad stand by John Park

SpokePOV, $37.50 for single or $99 for deluxe kit, Adafruit Industries

Solder up this persistence of vision bike wheel display and program it with a personalized graphic just for that special someone. Ziptie it to his/her bike in secret and reveal in an “ok, open your eyes!” manner after spinning the wheel up to speed.

Thingamagoop 2 kit, $110, Bleep Labs

Make, mod, hack, and bend your own analog noise monster with the new Thingamagoop 2 kit from the Maker Shed! It’s a great kit for beginners, since it includes detailed instructions and photos of each step of the build. Advanced users can taking advantage of the Arduino integration, control voltage in and out, or just bend it like crazy!

Bulbdial Clock Kit, $90

Similar to the Ice Tube Clock in coolness, but with a more retro mantle-top feel. By Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

TV-B-Gone, $22

Solder it up as-is or make a case from just about anything, or stick the thing in a hat or hoodie. My parents and grandparents love the TV-B-Gone because it makes it easier for the hearing impaired to enjoy a meal with their families, encourages conversation instead of entranced stares, and causes (just a tiny bit of) mischief.


Tabletop Biosphere – great for coworkers!


LED Yo-Yo Side Caps by Eric Chu – Mod a regular yo-yo to have light-up effects:

Using the centrifugal force generated by the spinning of the yo-yo, the spring, acting as the switch, is pulled outward. It makes contact with the positive leads of the LEDs, thus completing the circuit, turning the LEDs on.


In the Maker Shed:


Want more? Stop by the Maker Shed. We’ve got all sorts of great holiday gift ideas, Arduino & Arduino accessories, electronic kits, science kits, smart stuff for kids, back issues of MAKE & CRAFT, box sets, books, robots, kits from Japan and more.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines in December:

15 (Wed) – Postal shipping deadline
14 (Mon) – Ground shipping deadline
18 (Sat) – 3-day shipping deadline
20 (Mon) – 2-day shipping deadline
21 (Tue) – Overnight shipping deadline

*Orders placed after these dates using these shipping methods may arrive on time; however, the dates listed are what we consider likely “safe dates.”

United States Postal Service (USPS):
Due to the high volume of mail that the postal service deals with around the holidays, please order by Dec 15 if you intend to select this method. However, we have had increased reports of packages sent via USPS lost or delayed in transit during this high-volume period. Since we do not replace or refund any order placed using this shipping method, we strongly encourage you not to use this method in December.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

View more articles by Becky Stern