5 Great Maker Projects for This Weekend

Fall is officially upon us here in Nebraska, and all of this cold weather means that many of us are starting to spend a little more time inside.

But instead of hopping on the computer, playing video games, or plopping down in front of the TV, we have a suggestion that’s sure to keep you from being bored.

That suggestion? Becoming a maker (if you aren’t one already) and taking some time to get hands-on with some maker projects. Maker projects are a great way to fill up empty time, work out your brain, and get you thinking hard about technical problems–which could be very helpful later on when you start looking for employment, or start applying for college.

To help get you started, here a 5 great maker projects for the weekend:

  1. Pedal Power Phone ChargerIt may be getting chilly outside, but we still have pretty good bike weather for another month or so. This project takes a little bit of skill with electronics (there’s some soldering involved) but is pretty simple otherwise. And really, the end result is just cool.
  2. Chemical WoodburningWood branding is a cool way to make, say, a custom sign, but custom branding irons are pretty expensive. So instead, take a look at this project, which uses chemicals to create a mix to burn etchings into wood.
  3. The Sublimator Dry Ice CannonBe sure not to do this one without your parents’ permission (it’s loud!). But if you can get a parent let you do it–or better yet, to help out–you can use PVC pipe to make a cannon that uses dry ice to shoot a t-shirt. How awesome is that?
  4. Lord Kelvin’s ThunderstormThis maker project uses simple household items (and a few things from the hardware store) to make “a high-voltage electric generator that uses nothing but dripping water as its source of energy.” Basically, it shoots sparks–and it’s very simple.
  5. Japanese ToolboxIf woodworking projects are more your speed than electronics or dry ice cannons, this simple toolbox is a great weekend project. It has a simple, but very unique, sliding top, and it’s a great way to get some woodworking experience over the weekend. Plus, the box is just a cool thing to have around.

Being a maker doesn’t take any sort of special training, and it doesn’t have a fee to join. All that you have to do to be a maker is start building things! Whether that means small building projects, messing with electronic experiments, or even just tinkering around the house, it’s easy to get started as a maker.

If you decide to dive in and try any of these projects, you should probably know that they aren’t all for just play–being a maker can have serious advantages when it comes to applying for college, or even seeking a job in manufacturing. The workouts you’ll give your brain doing projects like these are great practice for STEM education–the type of knowledge that everyone should have.

If you decide to give any of these maker projects a shot, let us know in the comments or on Twitter! We love the maker movement and we’d love to see the projects that you’re working on!

Photo credit: Young Makers