Make: Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Mischief Maker’s Gift Guide

Make: Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Mischief Maker’s Gift Guide

Here are some gift ideas for your favorite creative skeptic, guerrilla artist, or depressed teenager. I’m trying to keep it fresh, so if you’re looking for some more ideas, check out last year’s Culture Jamming Gift Guide too. You have plenty of time before the holidays take hold, so set some time aside to MAKE something awesome for that artist friend or relative, or supply him/her with awesome tools and inspiration for creative deviance.

AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR FREE: Selected works by Evan Roth 2003-2008 ($free download or $20 in print)

Evan Roth is a groundbreaking artist who uses lasers, computers, and graffiti, and this book celebrates his most awesome projects. AOFF is an inspiring full-color look back at the last few years of Roth’s work.


Set up a pirate TV station ($varies)

Offer to set your kids or friends up with a local (very local) TV station. Now that DTV is in full effect, free space is opening up on the analog spectrum. Find some free space by checking with the FCC, then get your TV transmitter up and running. Make your own family variety shows, music videos, or just broadcast the output of your Arduino TV.


Stencil-painted hoodie or-shirt

Make some rad custom graphic hoodies or tees for your local maker group, hackerspace, or girl scout troop. Use JMeighty’s stencil painting tutorial, or check out Bre’s bleach shirt stencil tutorial in CRAFT, Volume 06. Preview the the project in the digital edition, then give the back issue to a friend!

One Laser Tag Per Child (~$200)

G.R.L. Utah made a cheap, small version of the guerrilla projection system used to tag buildings with light! This setup is right at the top of my wish list. Order the parts and deliver up the holidays with some wintertime projections in your neighborhood.

Super TV-B-Gone Kit ($21.99)

The newest revision TV-B-Gone shuts down sets in North America, Europe/UK, and Asia! Solder it up as is, or put it in a hat or hoodie for more covert operations. If you’re looking for a solder-free TV-B-Gone experience, try the assembled (but less powerful) keychain version. I put together and gave these as gifts last year; grandparents love them!

Oh, you don’t want to assemble your gifts? Here are some things you can buy for those on your list whose inner hooligans are strong.


Graf Practice Coloring Book ($free, download and print)

“In a bid to increase the quality and quantity of graffiti,
The Fakeproject Corporation of America has issued a coloring book, free of charge,
which allows graffiti artists to practice their tags
before application in a real world situation. ”


Peggy 2 LED Display Kit ($94.95)

Spruce up your neighborhood with some glowy, animated friends! The Peggy 2 is a versatile LED display that does a whole lot more than scare the Boston police.


Guerilla Art Kit ($13.57 on Amazon)

MAKE contributing writer John Baichtal reviewed this seemingly awesome Guerilla Art Kit over at GeekDad:

Whether it’s marginalia, notes shoved in library books, randomly mailed postcards, moss graffiti, fortune cookie fortunes shoved into random locations, Smith has ideas for subtly touching the world around us. There are chapters covering guerrilla etiquette, stencil making, rubber stamps, stickers, and formulating environmentally benign poster glue. I was bowled over by the chapter on guerrilla gardening. Imagine beautifying a rundown neighborhood by scattering wildflower seeds in sidewalk cracks, empty planters, and fenced off industrial lots.

Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti ($19.95)

Say you’re trying to explain how cool graffiti can be to your crafty, but otherwise clueless giftee. Yarn Bombing might be the perfect hook into the culture jamming mindset for that fiber enthusiast in your life. Goli did an awesome review of the book on CRAFT if you’d like a second opinion and more information.


Make: Open Sourcerer Leatherman Juice CS4 Tool ($74.95)

The Open Sourcerer has every tool you could possibly need for a mischievous evening. If your activities involve impressing a date, open a bottle of wine with the onboard corkscrew, even if you’re miles from your kitchen.

Asphalt mosaic supplies (~$20)

Put a kit together for making asphalt linoleum mosaics! All you need are pieces of linoleum (many places will send you free samples), tar paper, and asphalt crack filler. Check out the project on CRAFT for instructions!

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:

04 (Fri) – Deadline for microscope shipping
11 (Fri) – postal shipping deadline
14 (Mon) – ground shipping deadline
18 (Fri) – FedEx 3-day shipping deadline
21 (Mon) – FedEx 2-day shipping deadline
22 (Tue) – FedEx overnight shipping deadline

*Customers experiences on orders with these ship methods placed after these dates may vary, the dates listed are what we call “safe dates”

USPS (Any Method):
Due to the high volume of mail that the postal service deals with around the holidays, order by Dec. 10th, however, many packages are lost or delayed in transit and we do not replace or refund any orders lost using this ship method, we strongly encourage you to not use this method in December.

6 thoughts on “Make: Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Mischief Maker’s Gift Guide

  1. Anonymous says:

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving: I’m thankful to have a trash icon.

  2. John Baichtal says:

    Wonderful list, Becky! My favorite is the Graf Practice coloring book. Mischief is necessary!

  3. Will says:

    Again with the TV-b-gone and the graffiti. What is it about private property and keeping your hands to yourself that Make finds so distressing?

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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.

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