Extending the Art Room: Making a Makerspace

Makerspaces seem to be popping up everywhere right now- regular education classrooms, libraries, even mobile makerspace carts are roaming down school hallways. No matter what the physical space may be, makerspaces all have one essential goal- to empower students to collaboratively create,  innovate, and learn through choice, experimentation, and play.

Makerspaces are a natural extension of the art room.

As the “maker movement” gains momentum, makerspaces seem to incorporate more and more technology-based tools and materials. 3D printers, Spheros, and Snap Circuits are currently popular but can be spendy choices when servicing a large number of students. The beauty of the “maker movement” is that it doesn’t have to be an expensive mission for your school or department to take on. Tactile activities are just as important as the tech options, and diversity in your makerspace materials leads to more authentic tinkering and exploration.

If collecting and organizing a new batch of supplies overwhelms you, start simply. Think about concentrating on one or two kinds of materials and stock up on the tools and materials you’d need for your students to engage authentically. The simplest of materials can sometimes be the best of choices!

makerspace supplies

On the other hand, as art teachers, we are savvy when saving, collecting and possibly, even hoarding supplies as usable materials in art class. Do the same for makerspace supply options. Accept recycled and cast-off materials from staff and community members. A simple email to parents asking for donations will typically drive in hoards of usable materials.

To help you get started on developing a makerspace in your art room or school, we’ve compiled a list of various media and tool options. Since supply lists can be as diverse as the spaces and makers themselves, it’s impossible to create an all-inclusive inventory of what you might need, but this list is a well-rounded start. Take a peek and download your copy below.


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Want to discover more about makerspaces, design thinking, STEAM curriculum and all aspects of Project-Based Learning? Join us for our new course, Project Based Art Room. Find out more about this exciting and innovative course here.

What would you consider adding to a makerspace?

What is the most unusual supply your students have had success with when tinkering?

Tracy Hare

Learning Team

Tracy is a middle school art teacher from central MN who strives to create rich, meaningful content and resources through her Art Ed PRO Director role at AOE.


  • Tracy Mathys

    I also do a set up with little maker space prompts at home with my kiddos! Little people love new things to experiment with too!

  • Tina Lojacono

    Can someone explain the concept of a marker space and how it’s to be used

    • Jeremy Schwanebeck

      The Maker movement grows out of the DIY movement. There’s quite a bit of overlap between the two and I’m sure, like art, people define it in different ways. It’s ultimately about producing instead of consuming. A great Maker Space is equal parts workshop and art studio to inspire and empower. To really understand it, you could browse makemagazine.com, Instructables.com,or better yet, find a Maker Faire in your area and see what people in your community are up to!

      • Jeremy Schwanebeck

        Grrr…. the link should be makezine.com

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