Arts and Crafts

Creating an Arts and Crafts Makerspace at Camp

Last Updated on

I learned about makerspaces on the GoCampPro membership forum. YMCA Camp Kitaki was putting one together, and it sounded like a great idea. So I did some research on makerspaces.


MAKERSPACE – Also referred to as a hackspace (or hackerspace) or DIY space. It’s a place where people gather together to create, invent, learn and share. Often times these spaces have 3D printers, computers with creation software, electronic components and tools, and art and craft supplies. Some have woodworking tools, sewing machines and random supplies for creating a variety of projects. Makerspaces come in all different sizes and set-ups. They are becoming very popular with libraries.


CAMP MAKERSPACE – Camp Kitaki defines it as a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. Simply put, a makerspace is an area with the tools and supplies needed to create.


With the typical arts and crafts program at camp you have an arts and crafts leader who runs campers through a specific craft. Imagine having a makerspace full of arts and craft supplies, examples of crafts, and binders full of step-by-step instructions and ideas. Imagine a place where campers can be as creative as they want.


Here is a list of supplies I would like to see in a camp makerspace:

  • acorns
  • acrylic paint
  • air dry clay
  • aluminum foil
  • aprons or large shirts
  • baggie twist ties
  • beads
  • bells
  • blocks
  • board game pieces
  • bottle caps
  • brown paper bags
  • bubble wrap
  • burlap
  • buttons
  • cardboard
  • catalogs/junk mail
  • clear contact paper
  • clear plastic storage tubs
  • clothes pins
  • coffee filters
  • colored chalk
  • colored pencils
  • cookie cutters
  • corks
  • cotton balls
  • craft foam
  • crayons
  • crepe paper
  • Dixie cups
  • dried beans
  • duct tape
  • egg cartons
  • elastic
  • embroidery floss
  • empty boxes
  • fabric glue
  • fabric scraps
  • feathers
  • felt
  • fishing line
  • foam brushes
  • freezer paper
  • glitter
  • glue stick
  • googley eyes
  • hole punches with different shapes
  • index cards
  • ink pads
  • jars
  • leather working supplies
  • Legos
  • liquid starch
  • magazines
  • magnet strips
  • marbles
  • markers
  • mason jars
  • milk cartons
  • Mod Podge
  • muslin
  • newspaper
  • “nuts, bolts and nails”
  • oil pastels
  • old belts
  • old sheets
  • packing peanuts
  • paintbrushes
  • painter’s tape
  • paper clips
  • paper (all kinds)
  • paper towel and toilet paper tubes
  • paper towels
  • paper-cutters
  • pasta
  • pencil sharpeners
  • pine cones
  • pipe cleaners
  • plastic bottles
  • plastic lacing
  • plastic lids
  • polymer clay
  • Popsicle/craft sticks
  • printing ink
  • puff balls
  • pvc pipe
  • q-tips
  • ribbon (all colors and styles)
  • roll of butcher paper
  • rubber stamps
  • ruler
  • sandpaper
  • scissors
  • seeds and seed pods
  • sequins
  • sewing supplies
  • small clay pots
  • small rocks
  • socks
  • stapler and staples
  • stencils
  • stickers
  • sticks
  • straws
  • string
  • styrofoam trays
  • tempera paint
  • tin cans
  • tissue paper
  • toothpicks
  • watercolors
  • wax paper
  • white glue
  • wire
  • wire clippers
  • wood glue
  • wood scraps
  • wool felt
  • wrapping paper
  • yarn
  • zip-loc bags

3dprintIf I had the funds I would definitely get a few 3d printers as well. Is there anything I missed that you would like to see in your arts and crafts makerspace at camp?

Of course, purchasing all these supplies can break a camp’s budget. I suggest following Camp Kitaki’s lead and asking parents, alumni, and other friends of camp for donations of these supplies.


With all those supplies you’ll need a system of organization. Here is a great example of an organized craft space. These photos are from


makerspace4  makerspace3  makerspace2

 What I like most about this space is the use of jars, magazine holders, drawers, island tables, shelving and the cubby hole paper trays.


bndrsThe first thing I’d do is put together some binders of craft tutorials. You can do it by theme (Pirates, Fairies, Animals, Around the World), by main craft supply (Mason Jar, Wood, Paper, Felt), by  experience level (Beginner, Intermediate, Difficult), and/or by skill (Weaving, Sewing, Beading, Scrapbooking).

A great place to find ideas and tutorials is Pinterest.


Next you’ll want to decorate the space with examples of craft projects, wall art made by staff or campers, etc. Make sure there are plenty of spaces to create. You could divide the room into different areas (painting area, Lego and blocks area, sewing area, leather working area, etc.) or you could have one long table where everyone works together. Each space will be different depending on the layout. Just allow the arts and crafts leader to make it theirs.


craftshack-smallRunning a makerspace is different from running a camp craft shack. Instead of leading a group through a project, the arts and crafts leader will need to let the campers choose their own project (even if that is just playing with Legos). This is their time to explore the space and supplies, and create whatever they want. However, I would have a couple of suggested crafts that staff can show campers how to make. I would also have some craft kits prepared in Ziploc bags for projects that may be popular. That way, if a camper wants to do a particular project, they aren’t spending their time trying to find all the supplies needed.

I would also set some guidelines (as well as posting them for everyone to see):

  • Explore the makerspace and what it has to offer, but only take the supplies you will use.
  • Create one project at a time. Only if you finish the first project can you move on to another.
  • If you need help with your project, raise your hand.
  • If you need inspiration, take a look at the binders and the examples that are all around the room.
  • There will be 10 minute, 5 minute and 2 minute warnings. At the 2 minute warning please clean up your area and return unused supplies to the proper place.

So there you have it, my ideal camp makerspace. Have I missed anything?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.