Make: Volume 59 — Home Hacks

A maker’s home is their DIY palace. From simple personalization to tricking out a custom connected home, Make: Volume 59 is all about adding maker flair to your abode. In this issue you’ll make a NeoPixel map to track the traffic for your morning commute, build a levitating planter straight from the future, and learn how to automatically water your garden.

Plus 13 projects inside, including:

  • Build a DIY thermal imaging camera
  • Prank your friends with a pint-sized, noise-making throwie
  • 3D print an articulated blooming flower night light
  • Learn to code with the BBC micro:bit and Make:Code

    And more!

ON THE COVER: One of the diminutive dwellings by Jay Shafer’s Four Lights Tiny House Company invites you to come in and get cozy.

Table of Contents


Reader Input

Thoughts, tips, and musings from readers like you.Page 06

Welcome: Future of Home

How a maker-made connected home is both a blessing and a curse.Page 08

Made on Earth

Backyard builds from around the globe.Page 10


Clever Couture

Expert cosplayers share their tips, tools, and ingenuity to inspire you to get started.Page 16

Heirloom Tech

The math and magic of muqarnas. Page 20

Maker ProFile: Diamond in the Rough

Rebel Nell’s upcycled graffiti jewelry offers women career opportunity and financial independence.Page 24

Story Tellers

Contribute your saga and collaborate on solutions in the Maker Share online community. Page 26


Home-Making and Houselives

Innovative projects from around the community show how we’re reinventing our living spaces. Page 30

Pondering a Prototype

Casa Jasmina in Turin, Italy explores the meaning of the maker home of the future.Page 36

Humanitarian Housing

Conceived as transitional emergency dwellings, anyone with hand router access can build a flat-pack Shelter 2.0. Page 38

Off-Grid Office

How I customized a Tuff Shed into a solar-powered workspace. Page 40

Voice Box

Speech recognition for Arduino has arrived — and it could change the meaning of a smart home.Page 44

Secret Cabinet Lock

A hidden capacitive touch switch allows only those in the know to open it. Page 46

Pirate Finder

Keep an eye on your network’s sign-ons to spot unwelcome intrusions with this oversized counter. Page 50

Travel Light

Put this light-up NeoPixel map on your wall to see if the traffic to your destination is green, yellow, or red.Page 52

Automated Tomato Garden

Build a smart waterer that fertilizes your plants and more with Puck.js. Page 54

DIY Hover Plant

Make your own magnetic levitating planter (or whatever floats your boat).Page 56


Heat Vision

The story behind building a low-cost, DIY thermal imager kit. Page 58


Prank your friends by hiding this cheap and easy chirping, blinking throwie.Page 66

Luck of the Draw

Make an art bot that’s mysteriously motivated by random numbers. Page 71

Light Before You Leap

Make this origami frog’s LED eyes glow and then launch it into the air.Page 80


Building Blocks

With the power of JavaScript and interaction with microcontrollers, coding app MakeCode is fast, easy, and flexible.Page 82

Helpful Hints for Linux

Save time and eliminate errors with these two command line tricks.Page 86



Check out reviews for the L-Cheapo Laser Engraver kit for 3D printers, the Kano Pixel Kit, the Maker Muscle linear actuator, and more. Page 88

Review: E3 CNC Router Kit

This low-cost, build-it-yourself machine doesn’t sacrifice features.Page 92


Show & Tell

Check out these custom cribs that let our furry friends live in style.Page 96