5 Tips for Starting a Makerspace on a Budget


5 Tips for Starting a Makerspace on a Budget | This post links to my article for the ISTE Scanner.  In the article, I talk about my five tips for starting a makerspace on a budget, including cultivating a vision, organizing a supply drive, connecting with local businesses and utilizing DonorsChoose and grants.

When I talk to other librarians and educators about starting a school Makerspace, one of the most common things I hear is: “I’d love to do (insert cool Maker activity) at my school, but we don’t have a budget for that”.  What many people don’t realize is that the idea that you need a lot of money to start a Makerspace is a myth. All you need is to have vision, ingenuity, and resourcefulness. A lack of funds is no longer an excuse for keeping your students from experiencing the empowerment of bringing the Maker Education Movement into your program.

Makerspaces on a Budget

This quote is from the introduction to my article in  The Scanner, the ISTE Librarian’s Network Newsletter (Volume 6, Number 1).  In this article, I go over some of my best advice on ways to kickstart a Makerspace without spending a ton of money.  These are just a sampling of ways that you can get started without spending a ton of money.

In the article, I talk about how to…

  • Cultivate a Makerspace Vision
  • Host a supply drive
  • Get help from local businesses
  • Utilize DonorsChoose and
  • Apply for Grants

Check out the The Scanner to read the rest.  Also, check out the ISTE Librarian’s Network page for links to previous newsletters.

Edited to add: Months after writing this original article, I revisited this topic again in my AASL Knowledge Quest post, How To Start a Makerspace When You’re Broke.  Go check it out for even more tips and advice.

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com. She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. I agree and that is how we got the one we have today. We repainted and started collecting all kinds of cardboard, pipe cleaners, duct tape, feathers, bottle caps, sewing supplies, cans, discarded furniture and legos. We bought some peg boards, painted table tops with white board marker and asked for donations of any kind. We started with a rolling cart….and a dream…just do it!

  2. Scholastic Bookfairs and Makerspaces | Renovated Learning : February 18, 2015 at 6:04 am

    […] of the most frequent questions I get about Makerspaces is how to fund them.  There’s a lot of creative ways to do this, including DonorsChoose projects, writing grants and asking for donations.  Another great option […]

  3. What are those snappy things called in the picture?

  4. […] to revisit and revamp a popular article that I wrote for the ISTE Librarians Network Scanner about starting a makerspace on a budget.  Since writing that article in November 2014, I’ve talked to many more educators and […]

Comments are closed.