Category Archives: Community Outreach

Countdown to Heartland Maker Fest

Only days left until Heartland Maker Fest 2014!

The Heartland Maker Fest is Makerspace Urbana‘s annual event celebrating the amazing makers in Urbana-Champaign and the surrounding communities.

Come learn to spin your own yarn, create art from math, or perhaps design and print a 3D object. This year’s fest will be full of family friendly maker fun and showcase all kinds of local maker talent.

You will also have a chance to hear many speakers discussing the maker movement and DIY phenomena.

And thanks to River City Labs Makerspace we’re also planning a Quadcopter Obstacle Course with prizes! If you have a small quadcopter that can be flown safely indoors, bring it!

This year’s Fest will be be held on Saturday, October 18 from 10am to 4pm at the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana, Illinois.

Interested in volunteering at the fest? Sign up here. We need you!

For more information, check out our
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No Saturday open hours – we’ll be rockin’ CU Pride Fest instead

Just a heads-up, we won’t have the space open tomorrow morning for our regular Open Hours.

Instead, we’re super excited to participate in this year’s CU Pride Festival taking place in downtown Champaign!

Stop by our table in the parking lot by Kofusion, in front of the Orpheum kids museum.  We’re hoping to repeat the awesomeness that was last year:

We’ll be there 3-9pm.  We’d love to see you!

Unity Community Center Workshop

Last year we the Children’s Discovery Museum’s education coordinator (Bethany Thomas) invited us to do a workshop with their Maker Camp. This year we were invited back to have more maker related fun with the wonderful kids at the Unity Community Center. Seven of our Makerspace Urbana volunteers were able to attend and we set up 3 different maker activity  stations for the kids.  One station was our classic soldering workshop!

Soldering is Easy! And kids pick it up really quick.

Unity Community Center Workshop

This girl quickly became an excellent soldering teacher after finishing her own blinky badge.

Another was Led/Throwy/Origami.

Unity Community Center Workshop

Light up origami time!

The new workshop station we were able to provide this time was sewing custom plush dolls! Huge thanks to Judy Lee from the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab for helping teach and put this workshop station together.

Unity Community Center Workshop

The kids got to cut out the patterns they created.

Unity Community Center Workshop

Learned to sew and stitch their pieces together.

Unity Community Center Workshop

And ended up with some amazing creations!

Thanks to the all the awesome kids who made this event a memorable one for all of us.

Full photo album here.

T-shirts into Tote bags @ the Urbana Market

Makerspace Urbana is super excited to be invited back to the Art @ the Market booth this summer!  While we encountered a semi-tropical storm last weekend:

we will not be stopped!

Visit us this Saturday, July 19, 8am-noon at the Urbana Farmer’s Market; we’ll be right up front.

The t-shirts beckon:

T-shirts into Tote bags @ the Urbana Market

Did I mention this is a free workshop?

Makerspace Urbana represents at Tandem

If you don’t know what Tandem is, here’s a short description from the website:

Tandem: Champaign-Urbana’s Bicycle-Themed Poster Event allows the bicycle and design communities to combine their efforts in a way that will be mutually beneficial for both groups, and for the C-U community as a whole.  [...] We’re inviting local and regional artists and designers to submit original pieces to be sold at reasonable prices ($20-40 suggested.)

The artists will keep 50% of the proceeds, and the remaining 50% [...] will be donated to The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign to help establish a cooperative bicycle shop in North Champaign.

Of course Makerspace Urbana had to enter.  A quick video of our submission is below: a mix of cross stitching, electronics, and touch sensitive thread. And it’s for sale.  Half the proceeds go toward the Bike Project and the other half will be donated to Makerspace Urbana! SO BUY OUR ART! It’s for two great causes.

Come check it out in action at Indi Go Gallery (9 E University Ave in Downtown Champaign).

Grand Opening is Friday, August 16th at 6pm.  The show will run until August 25th.

MU Tandem art entry.

MU Tandem art entry.

Makerspace Urbana meets a Children’s Maker Summer Camp

Yesterday ten Makerspace Urbana members made the trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal, Illinois to host a Maker Disco Tech for their  Design It, Create It, Make It camp! And just in case you are wondering, Disco Tech stands for Discovering Technology. Which instead of a dance party is more like a maker party where we set up different maker learning stations hosted by our Makerspace members that the kids could wander between.

Barry, Emily, Brian, Colten, and Jeff worked one-on-one with each child to teach them the tricks and safety tips of working with the soldering iron. Above we have a maker summer camp kid showing off that fashionable blinkie badge that she made!

Did you know that you can make a speaker just using some paper, magnets, magnet wire, and hot glue? And that anyone can do it? We certainly didn’t until Jeff attended the Allied Media Conference just last month and brought back this awesome workshop idea (Thanks to Jeff Sturges from the Mt.Elliott Makerspace). We had a blast with the kids making these and testing out each one to make sure they worked.



Gergana and George taught the kids some origami to create these LED magnetic throwies. And then some of the kids got pretty creative with the supplies…


And a few of these creations ended up on the metallic ceiling vent! (Some of us may have been enablers of this “extracurricular” activity).

When I asked some of the Children which workshop they enjoyed the most, a few responded with the t-shirt bag project. We are teaching a whole new generation of kids how to upcyle starting with this project, with which just a few snips and knots turns old unwanted t-shirts into bags the kids could take their creations home in!

Special thanks to Children’s Discovery Museum Education Coordinator Bethany Thomas for reaching out to Makerspace Urbana, and making this happen! And especially thanks to the 19 kids who made this event a memorable one for all of us.

Full photo album here.

Art at the Market!

365 (115 of 1)After last years successful “T-Shirt to Tote Bag” workshop at Urbana’s Market at the Square  we were lucky enough to be invited back to do it again. And it was a huge success, we started with a massive pile of shirts and actually ran out. That means their are now more reusable bags in the world and less old T-shirts. It’s really a win-win for everyone. And the extra T-shirt scraps were even donated to The Bike Project to be used as rags. Here is a brief description of the workshop be did:

 T-Shirt to Tote Bag
Expand your collection of re-usable shopping bags by converting an old t-shirt into a tote.  No sewing skills required, pick a shirt and we will show you how to make the adjustments. Then, fill it with a harvest of Market goodies!


And a huge thanks to the Urbana Public Arts Program for sponsoring this event.