Make Holiday Gift Guide

Unlike “building-block” packages designed for kids, this kit introduces you to fundamental electronic components and gives you practical circuits to build. As you gain experience building the circuits, you will also learn how to read actual schematics, the circuit diagrams that serve as the shorthand language of electronics.

Recommended by Make:

I am a big fan of where art and science meet. Sun prints are classic and super easy; I always recommend a larger pack because you WILL want to experiment. When exposed the light, the paper undergoes a chemical charge, turning the paper blue and creating a beautiful image. You can experiment with simple shapes of leaves and flowers, or use sunscreen on plexiglass with photo negatives for creative projects.

Recommended by Gracie CT

Artist and Make: Contributor

Although you can definitely make this mechanism yourself, this is the best way to press flowers and leaves. I like this one because it’s a pretty good size, and you can press larger leaves.

Recommended by Gracie CT

Artist and Make: Contributor

More science! This magical bottle of chemicals is a compound that etches glass, allowing you to put designs on windows, mirrors, and glassware. It is a corrosive crème, so make sure you wear gloves and don’t get it on your skin (just wash it off real quick if you do). Armour Etch is specifically for glass, so pyrex and plastics won’t etch.

Recommended by Gracie CT

Artist and Make: Contributor

This is a great starter tool for linocut or relief printing. The handle of the tool opens up and you can store your other tips in there. If you don’t have any linoleum sitting around, you can use pieces of rubber or even a potato to make printable shapes and stamp. Remember, if you want to include text, remember to make the text backwards on the stamp. ☺

Recommended by Gracie CT

Artist and Make: Contributor

I’ve bought dozens of tool holders for my belt over the years, but the Nite Ize Pock-Its is the only one I’ve ever replaced because I wore it out. It confidently holds a multi-tool, flashlight, pens and has a couple of small pockets big enough to hold a mini-lighter. It also has a key chain hook. Importantly, it has a hooked belt clip that holds under extreme conditions. Many belt holders stick out so far that they catch on things, but the Pock-Its lays flat against my side.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

The Blue Yeti USB Mic is among the best choices you can make for podcasting and computer recording. It’s a tri-capsule condenser array. This means that it can operate in 4 modes; as a cardioid mic (picking up in front), an omni (picking up 360˚), bidirectional (to the front and back), and stereo. It has gain control and a mute button as well as a headphone jack. The headphone allows zero-latency monitoring of your input and serves as a USB headphone output for your computer. The features are great, but the sound is what really makes this a fantastic microphone.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

My workbenches are against the wall. On a weekly basis I manage to drop things back behind them. Rather than practicing my anger management skills, I’ve begun using a 36" flexible pickup tool. It’s great! The tines that emerge from the pickup end are surprisingly strong and the length allows me to use it in places I couldn’t otherwise reach. The flexible shaft even makes it useful for shoving down the sink.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

I’ve cut metal with a 14" abrasive chop saw for years. The resulting cuts are HOT, spew sparks, and require cleanup. Enter the RAGE3 15A 10" compound sliding miter saw from EvolutionTools. This saw cuts steel, aluminum, wood, and PVC with a single blade. The resulting cut is cool to the touch and startlingly clean. The ability to make compound as well as sliding cuts is a huge advantage over my chop saw, and the cuts happen much faster. The saw spins at 2500RPM, so it runs slower than many other saws, but apparently that’s optimized for the muli-material blade.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

It’s important not to let yourself have any excuses not to wear safety glasses. Yet those of us who wear readers for closeup work often have to wear safety glasses over them. As a result, I’ve been buying safety glasses with bifocal-style readers built in. Of all the brands I’ve tried, I really like the ones from Pyramex. They are low profile goggles that seal around the eyes to prevent wayward bits from coming in around the side. The V2G pair I bought came with both arms and a head strap and fit comfortably.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

Having an emergency car jumper box is essential for all my vehicles. These devices have become smaller in recent years and are a lifesaver when needed. I also like to use these devices as power sources for projects that require significant juice. For this to be realistic, the device needs to have a 12V outlet other than the jumper clamps. The GOOLOO GPower 180 provides 18 amp-hours of power and has a 12V barrel plug as well as USB power outlets. Compared to the giant car jumper batteries I used to use, this one is a pleasure.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

I use chalk pencils to mark cloth, leather, wood, and metal. But many chalk pencils make such a thick line that they’re close to useless for precision work. The Bohin Extra-Fine Chalk Pencil can take yellow or white refills and makes a smaller line than any other chalk device I’ve found. These are sold as a quilting tool (like so many great tools!) but are useful for a wide range of purposes.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

Measuring a curved corner is very frustrating without radius gauges. I purchased these radius gauges (in both metric and fractional sets) for help with 3D modelling. Something as simple as getting the corner of a smart phone right goes from guesswork to science with these gauges. Some people prefer gauges that are mounted together like feeler gauges, but I’ve found that these individual gauges are easy to use and less awkward in my hands while measuring.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

I have to confess that I love measuring devices. When I see one that I don’t own I get a bit antsy. When I discovered ring rulers, I knew I had to add them to my collection. I haven’t been disappointed. While wanting to measure circles isn’t something I do every day, using this adjustable ring ruler has made it a pleasure. Just slide the ruler to fit and get immediate numbers for diameter and circumference. All your measuring friends will be impressed when you whip this out and make their straight rulers feel downright old fashioned.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

Whether you’re drawing, marking, or modeling, measuring angles should be fast, easy, and precise. Your choice of protractor has a great deal to do with whether these conditions are met. Of all the types of protractors I’ve used, these articulating arm devices are my favorite. They easily set or measure convex and concave angles and can be locked with a thumb screw to hold the angle. They even have (perhaps optimistically) a vernier scale.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

DeoxIT is one of those products that, once you start using it, you won’t let your shop be without. A contact cleaner with a huge following in the music world, a surprisingly small blast of this plastic-safe spray will dissolve corrosion and improve conductivity. I’ve resuscitated many projects and treasured pieces of equipment with DeoxIT over the years.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

Multi-bit screwdrivers are a dime a dozen, but this mode from Picquic manages to stand out from the crowd. The problem with most multi-bit drivers is that the bits always get lost. The Picquic line avoids this by forcing you to push out the new bit with the previous bit. Bits never get lost. I was skeptical, but have been using this screwdriver for a year and will be ordering some other models from the Picquic line.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

Ok, big magnets are dangerous. But when treated with the respect they’re due, they’re amazing! This 500lb lift magnet is a monster. I’ve had to use a 3' piece of rebar to (barely) pry it off things. The attached eye is an absolute requirement if you buy one. People tie a rope to these and throw them in bodies of water to pull “treasures” out. Me, I’ve mostly used it to awe and impress friends, which it totally succeeds at! Seriously, it will take off a finger if mishandled so exercise requisite caution.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

Lots of companies sell starter bundles for Arduino. The Elegoo 37 in 1 Sensor Module Kit is one of the few bundles I’ve found that is interesting to both beginners and experienced microcontroller enthusiasts. There are a huge number of different sensors, all on breakout boards for easy integration along with a CD-ROM of example code to use them. There’s also a nifty power supply and LCD module. Even though I already owned a number of these devices, by the time I checked them all out I was delighted by my purchase.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

I always lose 2–3 sockets out of sets I buy. At least until I stepped up and bought this awesome 239-piece set from GearWrench (aka KD Tools). The carry case with removeable trays makes it easy to put sockets back. Most big sets like this inflate numbers with lots of screwdriver bits, but I wanted sockets and was thrilled with the range of metric and standard included in this set. Between the sockets and wrenches, I always have both sides of a nut and bolt covered.

Recommended by Tim Deagan

Fire Whisperer and Make: Contributing Author

I discovered paperclay when I was looking for a cheap, apartment-friendly way to scratch an itch for working with clay. Paperclay is basically paper and glue that's been combined until it reaches a modeling clay consistency. When it dries, it's like a very dense papier-mâché. I like working with it because it's easy to mold, will stay pliable/workable for a very long time if kept moist, it air dries, it's relatively inexpensive, it's not very messy, and takes water color and other paints beautifully.

Recommended by Lisa Martin

Make: Contributor

I can't explain why this book makes me so happy. It's a fun workbook revolving entirely around drawing your own maps. There are projects to draw all kinds of maps (crime scene maps, star maps, room maps, mind maps) and map symbols (compasses, keys, flags, road signs). Rian Hughes' illustrations are fun, but clear, and get you excited to start mapmaking. Okay, I can explain it, so let me just say this book makes me happy.

Recommended by Lisa Martin

Make: Contributor

Linocut block printing is a great, tactile way to make art and play around with stamp making. Many beginner kits come with a carving tool that has interchangeable blades and gouges, but I recommend getting tools with individual handles instead. The blades are more secure, which makes them easier to use and just a bit safer. These carving tools can be used on linoleum, softer woods, and even to sculpt details into your pumpkins next Halloween — just keep them sharp!

Recommended by Lisa Martin

Make: Contributor

A giant roll of paper is so endlessly useful that I have to wonder sometimes why it took me so long to keep one on hand. It's good for extra big sketches, pattern drafting clothes, impromptu mess guards, giant origami, doodle tablecloths, last minute gift wrap, and just about all of your paper needs without the constraint of a sheet size. I know it's pretty basic, but I still highly recommend it.

Recommended by Lisa Martin

Make: Contributor

Brush pens are a good way to begin painting with ink. Of the one's I've tried, the Pentel brush pens are my favorite. The ink is a good consistency and the quality of the brush tip is excellent (mine has never shed any of its bristles). The ink reservoir can be refilled, but it takes a good while to get to that point. It definitely adds a nice organic effect to inked linework.

Recommended by Lisa Martin

Make: Contributor

Cordless soldering irons are mostly awful. This one isn’t, provided you feed it a topped-off set of rechargeable batteries each time you use it. The payoff is the ability to solder anywhere at a moment’s notice. If you don’t have a dedicated workspace at home, or you’re traveling, you can get up and running on any nearby table regardless of where the outlet is or the voltage standard of the country you’re in.

Recommended by Donald Bell

Maker Project Lab, Cool Tools

This is my favorite project board right now. It’s small, dirt cheap, the I/O pads work with alligator clips, it has a built-in battery connector, and an on/off switch. Best of all, you can plug it into any computer and the code file pops up like a USB drive, which you can edit directly without any extra software. It’s great for hacking toys, putting animated LEDs in things, and perfect for wearable projects.

Recommended by Donald Bell

Maker Project Lab, Cool Tools

Cardboard is such an abundant, useful material, but shaping it with scissors and box cutters can be dangerous. This cheap, Japanese, serrated knife works through corrugated cardboard and foamcore like magic. The blunt tip makes it hard to hurt yourself, and helps with slicing kerf cuts into material without cutting all the way through.

Recommended by Donald Bell

Maker Project Lab, Cool Tools

While wireless drills have the obvious advantage of being useful everywhere, with the work I do, I’m rarely too far from an outlet. You just plug it in and it’s ready to go! I’ve used this type of drill in industry as well as at home, and after several years of use I’ve yet to have a problem with either one. The linked DWD110K version also comes with a storage bag that I have not tried.

Recommended by Jeremy S. Cook

Make: Contributor

This trusty notebook fits right in my pocket and is the perfect on-the-go companion for jotting down my ideas, doodles, and notes. These notebooks stand up to wear and tear and are super affordable compared to other brands. They offer ruled, graph, or blank pages, so you can pick your poison.

Recommended by Emily Coker

Make: Contributing Writer and Workshop Technician

Just because the hit BBC TV series “Sherlock” is over doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate the iconic Sherlock Holmes actor Benedict Cumberbatch one stitch at a time. This step-by-step craft book by Colleen Carrington shows how to pay tribute to Cumberbatch in his various acting roles using cross-stitch patterns. There’s even a pattern of Cumberbatch dancing next to fellow actor Michael Fassbender from the 2014 Golden Globes.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

This mini flashlight has become a lifesaver in the shop. I’ve used it for fixing delicate jams in 3D printers and aligning hard to see bobbin housings in industrial sewing machines. It’s super bright, small, and clips onto any pocket.

Recommended by Emily Coker

Make: Contributing Writer and Workshop Technician

If you want ideas on crafty projects that celebrate womanhood and feminism, this is the book for you. I wrote “Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy" to inspire girls and women to learn about famous feminists like bell hooks and Ruth Bader Ginsburg by honoring them with their own puppets. There’s also easy crafts on how to make Nope Necklaces, Feminist Killjoy beauty pageant sashes, and riot grrrl merit badges. My personal favorite craft is the Huggable Uterus Pillow!

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

After struggling for years with a cheap-o soldering iron, I finally took the plunge and purchased something more capable. This portable iron has temperature controls integrated into the handle, and fits nicely in your hand because of its small size. Importantly, it heats up to your set temperature in a matter of seconds, which is great for situations where you need to solder intermittently and don’t want to leave your iron on all the time. The device also feaures an accelerometer that allows it to shut itself down when not in use, adding an extra layer of safety.

Recommended by Jeremy S. Cook

Make: Contributor

This is like your all-in-one deburring tool. It comes with multiple blade types and adapters, which come in handy when tackling various jobs. I mainly use it on steel and plastic, but this is like the gift that keeps giving if you working in a shop and need to get those hard to reach spots.

Recommended by Emily Coker

Make: Contributing Writer and Workshop Technician

Captain Credible, aka Daniel Eugene Lacey-McDermott, is an electronic musician living in Norway and creating “somewhere in the land of IDM, breakcore, and chiptune.” He’s also a hands-on maker of cool instruments and kits, including USB MIDI controllers, noise synths, voice pitch shifters, and the Tardweeny, a USB ATtiny25 board that’s great for pranks or inventing your own weird instruments. His latest release, Fantasy Mansion, is both a music EP (on Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc.) and a new circuit board: a tiny 32-step sequencer with three-part 8-bit sounds (think chiptunes) and fantastic preprogrammed beats. Solder the kit or buy it assembled, and then play it using two buttons (add or subtract beats, basslines, and melodies) and a photoresistor (select new beats, notes, and glitch noises). Crazy infectious on its own (my kids wouldn’t give it back), it can also sync to external sequencers and drum machines. What a great simple soldering project — just 8 components, then plug in the chip — with a huge payoff!

Recommended by Keith Hammond

Make: Learning Editor

This ingenious method of learning electronics encourages play and exploration. The circuitry is designed in a way to interface with stickers and paper, allowing for an entirely new method of circuit construction. The kit comes with all the hardware and the Love To Code book, packed with adorable illustrations and lessons.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft

Senior Editor of Make:

These glitter glue pens come in a rainbow selection of colors that add a sparkly new dimension to your art projects, writing, and gluing needs. But best of all they are perfect for making homemade slime. To make slime: mix Elmer's Clear School Glue and baking soda, then add contact lens solution and glitter glue pens in a bowl. Then remove and knead the mixture for slimy fun.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

In a world of all-in-one gadgets, Making Things Smart takes you back to the basics by showing you how to make your own scanner, plotter, camera, and more, using a few household items and the Espruino microcontroller. This is your chance to bring JavaScript into the world of smart devices. You know who you are!

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: Books Publicist

Once you use this stuff, you realize how awful duct tape really is. Gaffer tape is so much easier to work with. It tears off the roll in nice straight lines. The adhesive is strong but doesn’t leave a mess behind when you pull it off. The matte cloth backing is easier to write on and comes in a bunch of colors. Gaffer tape used to be prohibitively expensive, but brands like this have made it more affordable.

Recommended by Donald Bell

Maker Project Lab, Cool Tools

Putting googly eyes on everything from rocks to restroom signs brings me joy. The VandalEyes movement (also called Eye-Bombing) is a fun way to add some whimsy to your surroundings. I love sticking self-adhesive googly eyes to all the containers, bottles, and condiments inside my refrigerator so whenever I open the door to get a soda or snack it looks like all my food is happy to see me. The beauty about googly eyes is that you can add them to signs, above electrical outlets, on salt and pepper shakers, or anything else to give someone a giggle. Buy them in bulk at stores like Amazon so you can always have them on hand for crafty hijinks.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

When you need to cut a small piece of material, or finish a small surface, it’s hard to beat Dremel rotary tools. I’ve gone through several — putting them to work in a CNC application, and using them in ways that would have been better for larger tools at times — but my current version is a Dremel 200. This device includes a simple “LOW” or “HIGH” spindle speed, which does the job nicely.

Recommended by Jeremy S. Cook

Make: Contributor

This is a perfect tool for any traveling maker. It’s small, lightweight, airline-safe, and super functional with various tools. Tools include: flathead and Phillips screwdriver, wire stripper, pry bar, bottle opener, and lanyard hole. Yes, this is all in a keychain!

Recommended by Emily Coker

Make: Contributing Writer and Workshop Technician

If you have a project that’s designed to turn an appliance on and off (a light, a fan, a stereo) you need a constant power source for your project board, and a switchable relay power source for the thing you’re manipulating. This gives you both in a single, safe, convenient package. It’s a total time saver compared to splicing power cables into relays, and considerably safer.

Recommended by Donald Bell

Maker Project Lab, Cool Tools

Too often, workshops and garages have dim, horrible lighting. One of the best decisions I made this year was to install these LED shop lights in my studio. You can run them from a standard power outlet. They snap right into small metal clips you attach to the wall or ceiling. Hard to screw up, and the payoff is tremendous.

Recommended by Donald Bell

Maker Project Lab, Cool Tools

These techniques allow you to make sculptures from simple tape. Don’t be fooled though, some are beautifully complex. There’s no wrong way to do it, which is part of the beauty of Tapigami.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft

Senior Editor of Make:

Learn how basic circuits work by building them yourself. Custom PCBs with the lesson etched right into the surface make this simple — and they look great too.

Recommended by Caleb Kraft

Senior Editor of Make:

As my shop and array of spare parts has grown, keeping them all stuffed together in a drawer is no longer feasible, and poor organization can lead to buying parts that you already have. These storage cases allow you to configure an array of small bins inside to hold electronics, boards, screws, or whatever small bits you like to work with. They feature a clear top, which allows for a quick glance at what’s inside, letting you peruse your inventory without opening each one.

Recommended by Jeremy S. Cook

Make: Contributor

When filming DIY projects, the HERO5 is my preferred tool. Being waterproof and having some image stabilization built-in are great features, but for my purposes, the screen on this model is the killer feature over its predecessors, allowing me to actually know what I’m filming. Additionally, the voice control comes in very handy when I want to start filming or take a photograph from afar. These commands do sometimes have to be repeated, and there are a few other things that could be improved, so the newer Hero6 may be worth a look as well.

Recommended by Jeremy S. Cook

Make: Contributor

For finishing wood and rounding out corners, a handheld sander is the tool that I reach for. It features interchangeable pads to vary the grit, as well as built-in dust collection. As I don’t have a lot of room in my workspace, this stores nicely in the storage bag that comes with the linked “k” version.

Recommended by Jeremy S. Cook

Make: Contributor

This is one of my most-used tools. I’ve used other acrylic cutters but this one remains my favorite. The edge of the blade has remained sharp after a year of use and there is no skipping when dragging the blade on the cutting surface. The scoring is deep and without flaws, which makes snapping plastic a breeze.

Recommended by Emily Coker

Make: Contributing Writer and Workshop Technician

Draw accurately around designs, keep material in place, and magnify things. Rulers come in inches or centimeters with the option of buying them as a bundle. The sleek and awesome design always turns heads and sparks questions.

Recommended by Emily Coker

Make: Contributing Writer and Workshop Technician

Transforming old socks into adorable dogs is a favorite craft that I’ve loved doing since I was a little kid. This kit is perfect for a young crafter or beginning sewer who needs a bit more guidance on how to make a dog from sock parts. The kit comes with printed socks, fiberfill stuffing, felt accents, buttons, bead for nose, needle, thread, and most important — the actual directions on how to make an adorable stuffed sock-doll.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

Make your own colorful unicorn toys with this DIY craft kit by DelilahIris Designs. The kit comes with sewing pattern, needle and thread, acrylic yarn, polyester stuffing, plastic doll eyes, embroidery thread, and wool blend felt.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

Any kid growing up in 1960s to 1980s has played with a Spirograph design set at one time or another. The artsy toy lets you make a dazzling array of geometric designs (known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids) just by poking a colored pen through a hole a plastic circle with gear teeth on the outside, then move it within a larger plastic ring with gear teeth on the the inside. It sounds more complicated than it really is. This kit comes with two racks, three design pens, six spiro-track end caps, one spiro-track tri-hub, four shaped wheels, eighteen wheels in different sizes, sixteen curved spiro-tracks in different sizes, two rings, spiro-putty, eight straight spiro-tracks, one twenty-four page design guide and jumbo paper and two twenty-five page design pads.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

If you like to craft and make things, chances are you have plenty of supplies like embroidery thread, glitter, felt squares, paint, glue, googly eyes, beads, fabric scraps, metal bits, and more that clutter up your workspace. This colorful organizer cart — which measures 12.8"x15.4"x38.2 — is a great way to keep your supplies in order. The cart has wheels so it can move from room to room easily.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

Felt squares come in handy for making everything from puppets to patches. But if you are constantly moving from one project to another, it’s easy to run out of felt. Buying various felt squares in bulk makes it easier to have the perfect shade of your favorite colors on hand when you need them.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

String art is a retro craft (popular initially in the late 1960s) that’s making quite a comeback. This kit by Strings And Strokes Art makes the process of stringing colored thread from nails hammered onto a wooden canvas look easy. The board included in this kit has already been sanded and stained, and the holes for the design are pre-drilled. Just hammer the provided nails onto your board and then fill in the design by wrapping the string around the nails. In this kit, we get designs for three different cocktails. But if that doesn’t suit your fancy, this Etsy store has string art kits for other designs for Christmas themes, various animals, rockets, and more.

Recommended by Bonnie Burton

Make: Contributing Writer

"I really think this is the easiest introduction to electronics that has ever been written," says author Charles Platt. He should know. His Make: Electronics is our best-selling book ever, one regularly taught in high schools and colleges. "Easy" is Charles' effort at making electronics dead-simple for everyone, even providing all of the materials needed to immediately succeed. Pre-order yours now; it will definitely sell out this holiday season.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

This book is more than a primer on how to use author and inventor Zach Kaplan's Carvey digi-fab unit. It's a call to community. Hailing the DIT (do it together) ethos of the Maker Movement, Zach exhorts readers to join each other on social media to swap and share and learn from one another. That's a call to action we can get behind.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

Written by a co-founder of the Arduino, the third edition of this seminal book is fully updated for the latest Arduino hardware and software. Learn to harness the powerful but inexpensive opportunities of the Arduino and have fun interacting with your environment and connecting your devices through projects that will help you sense, measure, and yes — talk to the world around you. Highly recommended!

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

With an emphasis on fun Steampunk projects, this terrific hands-on book will help you achieve spectacular effects in leather using CNC mills and 3D printers as well as more traditional hand-hewn techniques. Super fun and OK, a little weird. (In a good way.)

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

A full-color hand-drawn graphic how-to, this delightful book is a dead-simple way to learn two skills at once. This is a great holiday starter gift for the curious kids in your life.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

Designed by the BBC to introduce computer literacy to teenagers across the U.K.. the micro:bit has made its way to the U.S. A great way to learn about sensors, Bluetooth communications, and embedded operating systems, the micro:bit is inexpensive and small and lavishly supported across the web. This is a rare chance to impress the kids. Take it!

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

What if Minecraft were metaphor? If the builds and the world it contains merely pointed to something beyond its own imaginative borders? That's what this book does, promising a whiff of critical thinking with its suggested IRL projects. Use wood and nails and paint and Legos but think and plan and dream above the mere work of your hands.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

Was losing his job the best thing that ever happened to David Lang? Possibly. It prompted him to evaluate a life in which he couldn't do anything with his hands except type. So he set out to learn to be a maker, someone who creates. Today, he is the co-founder of an underwater open ROV company and an advocate and visionary for aspiring makers everywhere. And, as David would be the first to tell you: If he can do it, so can you.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

This is less a book than it is a manifesto for designing globally and manufacturing locally. Written by a pair of architects whose flat-fold furniture is a design phenomenon, Design for CNC makes for a ripping good read even if you never get near a mill. The revolution will not be shipped from China!

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

The fourth in Kathy's series of "Inventions" books, this is absolutely my favorite. Learn to knit, sew, and crochet while learning about circuits, electronics, and audio design. The projects are cool in and of themselves but the additional sneaky learning makes this a winner.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

Whether he's making a battery out of a penny or explaining the subtleties of surface-mount soldering, author and professor Marc de Vinck has a way of making learning fun. Soldering is an essential maker skill and Marc guides beginners through their first efforts while having great tips for advanced practitioners. Every makerspace should have this on its bookshelf!

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

We have a huge pre-order list for this title, one that builds off Mike's first book, Make: Rockets, and literally takes readers out into space. Where the first book deals with stomp rockets and other low fliers, the rockets in this book can touch the edge of the atmosphere. And you can make them yourself! Pretty cool.

Recommended by Gretchen Giles

Make: books publicist

Circuit Scribe Ultimate Kit dives deep into circuitry, electronics and coding! Create your own circuits filled with light, sound and motion using the Circuit Scribe conductive ink pen and magnetic modules. The included connector cables will integrate with an Arduino (not included) or other micro processor, even a Makey Makey!

Sponsored by Circuit Scribe

Circuit Scribe creates hands-on experiences in a world of screens.

Circuit Scribe Basic kit includes everything you need to start exploring the world of electronics. Use the included conductive ink pen to doodle circuits, add magnetic modules to bring light to your art or make inventions like a high-5 detector.

Sponsored by Circuit Scribe

Circuit Scribe creates hands-on experiences in a world of screens.

MESH is a kit of app-enabled blocks that makes it easy to program wireless electronics. Each MESH block has built-in functions to add sensors, internet connectivity, web services, and other devices to your project in an instant. With this kit, you can add remote control, orientation detection, shaking detection, flipping detection, tapping detection, an LED indicator, or a 10-pin, digital and analog, general purpose input/output to your project without any soldering or programming. Better yet, MESH GPIO can be used with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, sensors, and actuators.

Sponsored by MESH

MESH empowers makers with tools to build wireless electronics.

GoBox is a complete GoPiGo robot kit with a new coding Mission delivered monthly. GoBox Missions are step-by-step instructions in the form of a story that make it fun to learn how to code your robot and the 9 different sensors you’ll get throughout the program. GoBox is sequential, and every Mission builds on the next to keep kids engaged and learning month after month. Sensors includes distance, light and color, button, buzzer and more. Ages 8 & up.

Sponsored by Dexter Industries

Dexter Industries builds robots that make it fun to learn coding & robotics.

Thimble’s educational monthly subscription boxes help tinkerers build electronics from start to finish while learning the fundamentals of how hardware and software come together. Each box contains a fun new project. Advanced users can hack and add on to the kits to their liking! An open-source learning platform with tutorials is also included.

12 month subscription - $59 a month (SAVE $360)
6 month subscription - $69 a month (SAVE $120)
3 month subscription - $79 a month (SAVE $30)
1 month subscription - $89 a month
All subscriptions include Uno Board & FREE US Shipping

Sponsored by Thimble

Thimble’s mission is to make electronics accessible, inspiring, & fun!

This Jetson TX1 Developer Kit SE features the Jetson TX1 module with an NVIDIA Maxwell GPU powered by 256 NVIDIA CUDA cores. Plus, it comes installed on a carrier board with USB, Wi-Fi/Ethernet, SD, PCI-E, and HDMI connectivity, so you can get up and developing right away.
This is more than just a speaker — it's a journey. Before assembling and personalizing a Bluetooth speaker, kids discover how speakers work by completing a series of app-guided, hands-on activities. When they are done, they have a finished speaker that combines Bose sound with a sense of satisfaction.

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