On November 5th and 6th, makers are gathering at their local Barnes & Noble stores to share ideas, celebrate their creativity, and encourage each other to get weird and inventive with their hobbies. If that sounds dreamy, but you can’t make it to our Mini Maker Faire, why not host your own? Get to know your neighbors. Show your kids there’s still a little mad scientist in you. Surprise yourself and make something you’ve never made before! Or just have fun mingling with the coolest, most creative people you know. If you want to go big, you can use the official Maker Faire planning tools as a guide. Or just follow these 7 simple steps to host your own Mini but still totally Magnificent Maker Faire.
1. Grab a copy of Maker Lab from the Smithsonian.
The first question you might have about hosting a Maker Faire is what exactly to make. With over 20 projects that tackle everything from DNA to the solar system, this book is your first step to getting inspired. Full-color illustrations and photographs make it easy to follow along. There are also instructions for making sticky slime—an essential ingredient to any successful Maker Faire! If you still need more ideas on what to make, check out 101 Great Science Experiments. It’s perfect for parents and kids who want to work together. More than one of those 101 projects is sure to spark your interest!
2. Tell your friends.
Pick a date for your Maker Faire. Plan for your event to last a couple hours, as guests check out each other’s work, mingle, and try new techniques and tools. Send out invitations and include a list of what you want guests to bring. Contributions can include everything from LEGOs to a Steampunk guide to creating “modern artifacts.”
3. Encourage a sense of community.
In addition to creating an event where people can invent, build, and design new projects, invite guests to share prototypes, sketches, and blue-sky ideas. You can organize 5-minute TED-style presentations, or print a simple, introvert-friendly guide to who’s who and what they’re making.
4. Plan the menu.
party faire needs food. Science Experiments You Can Eat is packed with edible projects that will keep guests entertained, inspired, and fueled for more Maker Faire fun. Invite guests to learn about chemical reactions, make predictions, play with their food, and test the results. This book includes recipes for popcorn, muffins, and other crowd-friendly snacks. It’s all about putting your mouth where your hypothesis is!
5. Set up a workspace.
When it’s finally the big day, make your event as fun as possible by channeling your inner chef and setting up everything mise en place. Lay out tools, plug in the 3D printer, and set up all the experiments. Scatter pocket-sized notebooks on tables. They can serve as party favors and a place to record observations or sketch new ideas.
6. Take photos.
Go old school with a Polaroid camera, or just take pics on your phone. Either way, you’ll want to record all the action. You can take pictures of people with their inventions. Or use props to identify what kind of maker they are. Programmers and hackers can pose with a keyboard. Crafters will want to show off their glue guns. Scientists can throw on some goggles for their pics. Send guests home with a snapshot or email them a pic later to celebrate their bravery and creativity.
7. Tinker with glee.
Wander through the crowd. Admire what everyone is working on. And when you can’t stand it any longer, grab some tools and make something yourself! By hosting your own Mini Maker Faire, you’ve already created something incredible. Now it’s time to try something new! What will you make next?
We hope you’ll join us for our in-store faire, November 5th and 6th, but if you can’t make it, join in at home!