Craft Store Trip: Electronic Tools and Doodads

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.
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.
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.
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.
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!

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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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