Related Blog Posts


Paper Circuit Cards Video

After running the paper circuit cards workshop for donors last December, I've been interested in exploring other types of LEDs. Here is a video compilation of a variety of types of LEDs including a range of sizes, colors, and styles. Enjoy!


Scratch@MIT 2016

Last week, Nicole and I traveled to MIT for the biannual scratch conference and spent a few extra days sharing ideas and prototyping with our friends at the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Media Lab.


Developing Scratchpaper Workshop

Nicole and I will be leading a tinkering workshop at this year's Scratch Conference at the MIT Media Lab. We've been experimenting with different ways of incorporating scratch programming and computational thinking into some of our tinkering workshops. As we've been preparing for the workshop, we've focused on paper circuitry as a interesting way to investigate some of these topics.


Scratch Paper Sound Experiments

Over the past couple of weeks, Nicole and I have been preparing for a workshop for the upcoming Scratch Conference at MIT Media Lab around programming paper circuits. We started to experiment with these ideas a few months ago when we hosted a BAME meetup for a half-baked smorgasbord of programming provocations.


A New Makerspace at Fabrica Ciencia Viva

Last month, after the Ecsite conference in Graz, I had the chance to visit Fabrica Centro de Ciencia Viva, a science museum in northern Portugal where they are just getting going with a dedicated space for making and tinkering.


Tiny Theaters at Lighthouse ASP

Many of the activities we host in the Tinkering Studio are inspired by artist residencies and collaborations. This year's visit by tinkerer-in-residence Tim Hunkin was not only a great time to work together, but also prompted a new activity for us to try with students in the after school program at Lighthouse Community Charter School. Continuing on the idea of Tim Hunkin's "peep shows," we spent several weeks making Tiny Theaters.


Paper Circuits in After School at Lighthouse

For the past several weeks we've been heading to Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland to collaborate with their After School Program to host tinkering activities (you can read more about the history of the partnership here).


Programming and Paper Circuits Workshop

Lately we've been thinking a lot about how to provide an introduction to programming through visual languages like scratch with visitors on the museum floor.


Paper Circuit Programming Inspirations

There are many different ways that we've been thinking about creating experiences that incorporate programming and computation into existing tinkering activities. One of the things that we've been interested in is the possibilities of adapting paper circuits workshops to include more elements of programming and storytelling.


Paper Circuits with Magazine Collages!

Last weekend, the Tinkering Studio participated in Barnes & Nobles Mini MakerFaire. The event was held in nationwide local Barnes & Nobles stores, and we joined the one at the El Cerrito store.


Build Your Own Bling at the Gala

Last week was our annual Gala. For an activity for the after party we thought it would be fun to revisit creating digital bling like we did for our Opening Gala two years ago, but with a new twist.


Prototyping Light Up Coasters

This Friday will be the annual Science of Cocktails event here at the Exploratorium. In past years the Tinkering Studio has hosted the Bling Bar, where visitors can make festive light up accessories. It's a take on the Digital Bling activity we've done in the past, but with some added flair to fit the theme of the night.


EU Workshop - Paper Circuits

For us, one common practice for developing activities for the Tinkering Studio  is to take things that we've tried in professional development workshops and figure out how to make them run smoothly on the sometimes chaotic museum floor. However, in our last EU Tinkering workshop in Milan we had the opposite experience of taking our paper circuit activity developed for the floor of the Tinkering Studio to a more structured workshop environment with interesting results.


Copper Tape & Conductive Thread

One of my favorite parts of working in the Tinkering Studio is the challenge of hunting down all the quirky, weird, and sometimes hard-to-find materials we use for activities and prototyping. As Materials-Nerd-in-Chief I often try to find several different sources for materials since items from different vendors will have varying strengths and weaknesses. Two materials we frequently get questions about are copper tape and conductive thread. Here's a quick summary of a few types we've tried and their pros and cons.


Copper Tape


Circuit Sticker Video Tutorials

This weekend at Maker Faire, be sure to visit our friend and collaborator Jie Qi who will be showing her new circuit stickers. These are an easy way to get started with paper electronics by adding sticky lights and sensors to creative circuits.


Tinkering at Home: visitor-created paper circuit

This bright-eyed Batman card was created by a visitor who made a paper circuit with us in the Tinkering Studio and was inspired to keep tinkering with the materials at home with her son.


Thanks Kamala for sending in the photo! We love seeing and hearing about what people continue to try after spending some time in the Tinkering Studio.


Choose Your Own Adventure Circuit

I wanted to share a great paper circuit made by a young visitor to the tinkering studio last week that reminds me of a choose-your-own-adventure book. There's two sheets taped together with a press switch that makes the creepy green eyes light up. I really like how these materials can be used to tell a story and that the choose-your-own adventure franchise can still survive (though maybe with electronic additions).