Yes – budget friendly and makerspace can happen in the same sentence. A common misconception about makerspaces is that you have to spend a lot of money to give your students creative, hands-on learning. But you can absolutely do a lot of makerspace projects with little to no money. It might not be as easy as buying some fancy ready made kit, but it’s definitely rewarding.You can absolutely do a lot of awesome #makerspace projects with little to no money. Click To Tweet
Budget Friendly Projects for Your Makerspace
Here’s some of my favorite budget friendly projects for makerspaces. Note that while I am in a middle school, I’ve seen all four of these projects done at both the elementary and high school levels. It might take some scaffolding and adjustment, but they can definitely be done at any level.
Recycled Book Crafts
Books get worn out all the time – I’m constantly weeding books with the spines falling apart and ripped out pages. And you can find cheap books at thrift stores as well. These books can easily be given new life by turning them into makerspace projects such as:
- DIY bookmarks
- Blackout poetry
Here’s some great resources to check out:
- Book Art: Creative ideas to transform your books – decorations, stationery, display scenes, and more
- Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book
- The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life
Tech take apart
This is a classic and with good reason. It can be super fun to break out the screwdrivers and open up technology to see how it works. I recommend some supervision for this activity – I left my students alone during this once while I was helping a couple of others across the room. The next thing I knew, they were going at an alarm clock with a hammer.
All you need for this is some old, non-working technology like clocks, stereos or old computers. I recommend cutting the power cable so that students don’t try to plug it in halfway through.
Places to look for free tech to take apart:
- Appliance and stereo stores
- Computer recycling companies
- Your storage room!
- Parent donations
Another variation that’s super budget friendly: toy take apart!
Yes, I blog a lot about cardboard in our makerspace. There’s a reason for that – when my students are asked what their favorite makerspace supply or project is, cardboard comes up over and over again. While I have spent money on some supplies like hot glue guns and Skil cutters, overall the amount spent is really low. I save up cardboard throughout the year as well as recycled materials. Super cheap, and my students absolutely coming up with amazing, creative ideas for things to create with it.
These aren’t free, but require a pretty small investment. If you buy non-brand name beads (hello IKEA Pyslla!) you can easily set up a Perler bead station for under $20. Even if you get the brand name version, there’s still a lot of bang for your buck. See this post for more tips on using Perler beads in your makerspace.
What’s your favorite budget friendly makerspace project?