Bay Area Maker Faire

Exhausted and exhalted, and the Maker Faire hasn’t even started yet!

Most of us on the OC Mini Maker Faire Exploratory Committee are here at the Bay Area Maker Faire for the weekend.   We arrived Thursday and met with the Maker Corp Team for a pre-MF walk-through of the San Mateo fairgrounds as part of our volunteer training.    Sherry led us around the exhibits and gave us bits of trivia, history and info we’d need, like the fact that there will be over 900 Makers this year.

On Friday we arrived on-site at 9:30 for our first set of Maker Corp Volunteer hours.   We worked with Spring to hang signage, which helped us become better acquainted with where things are so later this weekend we can direct people to where they want to go.

In the afternoon, our team attended the Mini Maker Faire Producers workshop led by Sabrina Merlo, it was very inspiring and informative.  They broadcast it live on the web for all those who couldn’t make it.   MMF Producers from all over the globe were there, including Japan and France.  This year there are about 60 Minis being produced around the world!

Finally, at the end of the day was the Maker Mixer where all the Maker Corp Volunteers, Maker Faire Crew and Makers got to meet and greet over Sierra Nevada beer and the best Paella I’ve ever had.    The OC Mini Maker Faire Exploratory Committee met many awesome people who are excited about our event.    Michael Conn of Mobile Muffins in L.A. said that he’d love to have a drivable cupcake at our event and Lindsay from San Diego is hoping to bring his 17′ tall Electric Giraffe!

We also met Mike Hatalski who wants to bring his 3D printers; Randy from EarthLCD in Costa Mesa; Steve from Scary Tinker Labs, also in Costa Mesa and several other Orange County area people who want to support the OC Mini Maker Faire.

Today is the first day of Maker Faire 2012, James and Amanda are already at the fairgrounds helping out with the Maker Corp and I’ll be following shortly.   I expect today to be a typical Maker Faire, amazing and inspiring a blow-your-mind experience.

Tips on How to Design Your Maker Booth

So, you want to be a Maker?  Great!  You’ve got a terrific project that you want to show off to the world and we’ve got the space for you to do just that!   The tricky part is creating a great exhibit for people to enjoy and interact with, here we hope to give you some ideas to help make your booth a memorable experience.

First, it needs to be said that filling out the Call for Makers application is crucial.  We need to know that you intend to be there and in order to meet your needs we must know what they are.   So, please, fill out the Call for Makers app so that we can accommodate you and your project.

Below are a few videos from a workshop that our friends over at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire put on for their potential Makers.    The beginning of the first video deals with introductions but starting around 4:30 they start discussing ideas for creating a booth.

Some of the highlights from the first video are:

  • Set up your booth at home and invite friends and family to try it out.   This way you can work out many of the kinks ahead of time.
  • You will be provided with a table (if you want or need one) but they will not be covered so plan on a table cloth and or table skirt.  The table skirt is great for hiding all the stuff you will be storing under the table.

Part Two of the Seattle Mini Maker Faire Maker Booth Workshop digs deeper into how to make your booth fun and appealing to people.

Some of the highlights from this video are:

  • Give the public something to do!  Whether they’re invited to make something, play with something or watch a fascinating demonstration give them a reason to be there and, even more, to stay there for a while.
  • Show your process.  Share what you’ve learned through mistakes, do-overs, partially finished projects, all of it!  You don’t have to just show the final product, people are interested to know what it took to get to where you are now.
  • What is your tool set?  What materials did you or do you use? Show off how you made it and maybe invite them to engage in trying it themselves at home.
  • Christin says it best about creating a booth that is dynamic and interactive: “…because that’s exactly what we’re advertising, that’s exactly what people will come expecting and what they will do.”

Kickstarter Campaign

Would you like to be a supporter of the OC Mini Maker Faire but you can’t make it to the event? Perhaps you love the idea so much you want to be a Super Supporter? Or, perhaps, you’d like a T-shirt or sticker with our Madly Making Orange on it? There’s a place where you can accomplish all of the above!

With the Kickstarter program if we don’t meet our pledge goal, you pay nothing. If we do meet, or exceed, our pledge then your card will be charged on May 31st, 2012 and we’ll send you your perks in June.

Visit our Kickstarter page to learn more!

However, if you are in the area and you are going to the OC Mini Maker Faire you can also support us by buying tickets from Eventbrite, here!  All proceeds from both the Kickstarter campaign and the ticket sales will go into making this the best First Annual OC Mini Maker Faire that we can.

Thanks to everyone for all your generous and enthusiastic support!!

Call for Makers Poster

The Wonder, Why? and WHOA!

“This is how kids should be learning! With all the wonder, the why and the WHOA!”  This was the sentiment of Michelle from Class Act Builders  after her 16 year old daughter made and launched her own paper rocket at the HB Mercado on Saturday.








We discussed the concept of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) that is rising in our educational system today.   She had never heard of it but was excited to learn of it’s exisitence and growing prevelence.    Michelle is looking forward to the OC Mini Maker Faire and all the things it will have to offer for everyone, not just kids.

Our rocket launcher has always been a big hit wherever we take it but, today James pulled out The Big Guns or, to put it more accurately, The Double Gun.

The double rocket attachment!


Lots of questions were asked and answered like, “Which one will go higher and why?”   There are many factors that go into the height and speed of a paper rocket including what kind of tape you use, how many layers you put on, how many fins you use, etc.  Kids, teens and adults alike explored the ins and outs of rocketry.

You don’t have to catch us at an event in order to make and launch a rocket, you can do-it-yourself at home!  Make Magazine vol 15 has all the details, even better you can find them online in this Makezine Blog.   OC Mini Maker Faire team member James and his son Miles made this launcher one weekend last summer and it cost less than $40 but has given hundreds of people hours of fun.

People really enjoy our Paper Rocket Build and Launch activity but, we’re thinking about changing it up a bit and going for something new, what kind of traveling activity would you like to see us do?

3, 2, 1… blast off!

You know what’s really cool about paper rockets?  Everybody gets involved!

Parents, grandparents teens and kids alike all jumped in to make a rocket and in the rare cases where the kids lost interest the adults were happy to take over and create their own paper rocket.



But, that rarely happened and I delighted in seeing so many adults and kids huddled together paying great attention to the details of their creation.



When the count down started people all across the event stopped to watch the launching and cheers went up every time that fragile paper wonder covered in crayons and feathers and foil shot like an arrow straight into the sky.   More cheers erupted when it did NOT land on the roof of a nearby building.

This is what I look forward to seeing at the OC Mini Maker Faire, not just kids and families being involved and fascinated but all generations and people from all kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles finding inspiration and creativity.

Producing a Mini Maker Faire isn’t all fun and thrills, there’s a lot of sweat, nail-biting and energy that goes into it but, moments like these, when I get a little taste of what the final outcome of all our hard work will be, those moments rejuvenate my soul and rekindle the fire that got me started on this journey in the first place.


Rockets at the Beall

Rockets at the Beall.

Rockets at the Beall

“WOW!!  That was so awesome!!”
Last November we heard this sentiment all day as kids (and adults!) made their own paper rockets and launched them from our homemade rocket launcher at the Beall Center for Art + Technology Family Day event.    The recipe for this easy to make launcher can be found in Make Magazine vol. 15.
On Saturday, aka tomorrow April 21st, at the Beall Center for Art + Technology we’ll be doing it again!
All the supplies will be there for making your own paper rocket so, start the count down and watch it launch high into the air.
Come on down and join us, there will be many other things to see and do at the Beall’s Family Day event.
Through Family Day activities, the Beall Center seeks to stir the imagination and motivate young people to delve into the basics of science, computer programming, and visual literacy—skills that will be critical to the next generation’s success in the workplace and in life.
Beall Center for Art + Technology
712 Arts Plaza, UC Irvine
Free event!
Family Day – Where Art plus Technology equals a whole lot of Fun!
Saturday, April 21, 2012
11am to 4pm


OC Mini Maker Faire team member James has been learning how to make cheese, here he talks about some of his successes and failures.

Originally posted on Its Tuesday and my Head Hurts:

Saturday April 7th Joe and I made cheese all day long.  Some of the cheese worked and some did not.

Batch 1: Farmer Cheese from buttermilk.  This came out fantastic! The curds came out soft and tasty.  I made the buttermilk from a half gallon of milk and about a 1 1/2 of butter milk with cultures and 12 hours for the cultures to work their magic.

Batch 2: Mozzarella from Home Dairy with Ashley English.  This batch turned out to be a failure.  I know now that the curds never set.  Its in the trash now.

Batch 3: Again the Mozzarella recipe, with a critical eye to details of time, temperatures and measurements to no avail.  Heating up these little tiny curds did not result in Mozzarella.  It tasted like disappointment.

Batch 4: Cheddar Cheese curds from the Cheese Making website.  This cheese will not be rushed!  When…

View original 81 more words

Why a Mini Maker Faire?

Why do I want to produce a Mini Maker Faire?  Because Makers inspire me.   Seeing people who are excited about something they made, hearing people talk animatedly about their project makes me want to go create my own.    Anyone with a passion knows that being around other like-minded people is inspiring and energizing .

Maker Faire inspires people.  Making things inspires people.

In November 2011 I got a small taste of what it will be like to bring a Mini Maker Faire to Orange County.   My family and I hosted a paper rocket making and launching booth at the Beall Center’s Family Day event.   The table was packed with adults, teens and younger kids all intensely focused on creating and building their own paper rockets.

 Shouts of wonder and thrill as the rockets shot up into the air filled the plaza and many people around the event paused to look up and see where the rocket would finally fall to earth.   It was glorious!

As for the big Maker Faire, this will be the 5th year that my family and I have traveled up to San Mateo, Calif. for the Bay Area Maker Faire and I can’t wait.   The energy and commaraderie felt is amazing and to now bring that wonderful feeling to my home community makes me happy.    Already I’ve met some great people and seen some fantastic projects that I can’t wait to show off at the OC Mini Maker Faire.

It will be a great day for people to discover the Maker in themselves!