Tips and Tricks for your Makerspace

How do I stock my Makerspace?

Favorite Frugal Finds

  • Wall paper sample books - cut out the pages and place in a bin

  • Magazines - use for collages and mixed media art

  • Old maps - let kids find interesting shapes to cut out

  • Wood scraps and fabric scraps - So many people have small pieces to donate, just ask!

  • Find a local no-waste group to donate all the paper towel rolls, empty containers and cardboard you will ever need!

We also love garage sales! There are endless miscellaneous supplies you can pick up for next to nothing.

How do I set up my Makerspace?

Create a kid-centered space, corner or cart with supplies accessible to students. This way you will not spend time pulling out materials and putting them back!


If you have many open shelves, use Velcro signs with "Help Yourself" or "Ask First" to note materials that require permission before use.

We store most materials in plastic bins. When we need specific materials for a project, we pull the bins and set them directly on the floor. This saves table and counter space to use as work space.


Our "Creation Station" features colored pencils, markers, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, paper punches, rulers, scratch paper, drawing paper, graph paper, tape, stencils, cardstock and stickers that kids can use anytime.

Can my students really use glue guns and hammers?

Yes! but you need to start by teaching skills.

Show students the skills they might need for a project (hammer, hot glue gun, cardboard cutting) without giving them specific examples of finished projects.

Set up one space for tools that need supervision. Watch over the glue guns in the corner while kids spread out around the room to work.

Always ask students if they are ready to try a new skill. They can watch you use the glue gun or hammer if they are not yet ready to tackle that skill.

How do I get funding for consumable supplies or equipment?

  • Just ask. Go to your local hardware store, explain that you are creating a Makerspace for your students and see if they would be willing to donate duct tape and paint brushes.

  • Shop your school building. Often other teachers are ready to pass on those boxes of popsicle sticks or paper plates they've had for ten years!

  • Create a Donors Choose Project. Setting up your project takes under 30 minutes and anyone can donate to your Makerspace.

  • Look for local grants like this one to fund specific materials and equipment.

What should I buy when I do have money?

Some Makerspace Favorites

  • Googly eyes - You can never have enough!

  • Glitter glue - All the excitement of glitter without the mess

  • Pom poms - All different colors and sizes

  • Pipe cleaners - Even the littlest kids can create with these

  • Oil pastels, Slick Stix - Make drawing feel sophisticated

  • Colored craft tape, duct tape - Often works better than glue

  • Cardstock - Easier to cut than cardboard

We had one class burn through eight rolls of colored duct tape in 40 minutes! Set limits on expensive materials to maximize your budget.

Check out all of our K-5 Makerspace units here.