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2018 Maker Camp Projects

We had a blast at this year's Maker Camp!  Camps were held at all three Rutherford County Library System locations and over 25 kids ages 8-12 participated.  If you were not able to attend this year (or if you did and would just like to re-visit some of your favorite projects), below are instructions and links to help you recreate the projects on your own.  Some of the left-over material from our Maker Camp might still be available in the DBU Makerspace located at the main County Library on Callahan-Koon Road in Spindale.  Ask Kenneth for assistance if you have any questions.

Day 1

Visualization Bottles (also called calming jars or meditation bottles)
The basic formula for these gorgeous creations is water, clear glue, food coloring, and mica powder (you can also use glitter).  The inspiration for this project came from a project on the Instrucables website, which you can see by clicking here.  Not only are these bottles pretty to look at, but they also demonstrate some serious science!  The liquid in the bottle is called rheoscopic fluid, which is basically any liquid that makes water currents visible.


  1. Find and clean a small, clear bottle with a lid that can be closed tightly.  8oz Coke bottles worked great for us!
  2. Add warm water and clear glue.  A good ratio we found was about 80% water to 20% glue.  For the 8oz Coke bottle that would be approximately 6.5 oz of water and 1.5 oz of glue.
  3. Shake the bottle for a minute to mix the water and glue.
  4. Add a little food coloring and shake again.  It's best to start with small amounts of the coloring, adding more until you get the shade of color you are happy with.
  5. Add the mica/glitter.  Again, it's best to start with very small amounts (especially if using mica powder) and add more until you are happy with the results.
  6. Shake and watch the magic!

 Day 2

Wind Chimes
You can find lots of ideas for wind chimes on the Instrucables website or by just doing a Google search.  We kept ours simple by using bottle caps, string, and Mason jar bands.  We used old bottle caps which we sprayed with primer so they could be painted or decorated with markers.


  1. Use a punch and hammer to put a hole in each bottle cap and a series of holes in the Mason jar band.  Our design was simple with just three holes in the band and five bottle caps per string.
  2. Cut the string to the desired length, thread the string through the holes in the bottle caps, and tie the bottle cap onto the string.
  3. Leave the end of your string long enough to thread through the hole in the Mason jar band and tie a knot to secure it.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each hole you punched in the Mason jar band.
  5. Decorate your bottle caps, hang, and enjoy!

 Day 3

Fire and alcohol are not usually a good mix but used in the right way (and with plenty of adult supervision) they can make beautiful art.  One of the great things about this project is no two coasters will ever be exactly the same.  You get unique and amazing creations every time.  For this project, you will need glossy white 4"x4" bathroom tiles, markers (we used Sharpie's and washable markers and both worked really well), alcohol (91%), a disposable foil pan, a lighter, and polyurethane spray.  The It's Always Autumn blog has two great posts with plenty of details and pictures here and here.


  1. Color your tile using as many different colored markers as you like.  Don't worry about drawing a picture because when we add the alcohol in the next step it will dissolve the ink and make it run together.  Think of this as doing tie-dye on a tile.
  2. Place the tile in the foil pan and drip a small amount of alcohol over it.  When the ink starts to run, tilt the tile around to mix the colors together.  Tip: To keep your hands clean, you can tilt the foil pan instead!
  3. When you are happy with the color mixture, carefully light the alcohol with a lighter and let it burn until the flames go out.  Caution: If you are using a foil pan with ridges in the bottom some of the alcohol may run off your tile into the ridges.  It may be difficult to see flames from alcohol burning under the tile and the tile itself may become very warm or hot to the touch.  To keep little fingers safe, try lifting the tile out of the pan using tongs or oven-safe silicone mitts.
  4. To seal your creations so they will last for years without fading or smudging, spray the tile with a polyurethane sealant.

This project has lots of possible additions and variations!  Try using a spray bottle to lightly spritz the ink with alcohol for an entirely different effect.  Use a paper towel dipped in alcohol to dab or smear the ink.  Combine two or more of these techniques or think of other ways to personalize your creations!

Day 4

Cereal Box Monster Jaws
We got the idea for this project from the blog It's Always Autumn.  Click here for her complete description and helpful pictures.

Day 5

Salt Water Etching
This project was adapted from one on the blog Upstate Ramblings.  Click here to read the original project.  For our version, we decided to have our campers etch their initials into large serving spoons.  The supplies we used included a 9-volt battery, alligator clips (like these from Amazon), Q-tips, letter stencils, a spoon, and salt water.


  1. Make a strong salt water solution in a small cup.  We used approximately one teaspoon of salt and a small dixie cup.
  2. Stand a few Q-tips in the cup to let one end soak in the salt water for a few minutes while you prepare the next two steps.
  3. Place a waterproof stencil on a smooth surface of the spoon.  We used the Over 'N' Over brand reusable glass etching letter stencils (found here on Amazon), but feel free to use any stencil so long as water cannot soak through it.
  4. Attach one end of an alligator clip to the spoon and the other end to the positive (+) post on the 9-volt battery.
  5. Attach one end of a second alligator clip to the negative (-) post of the 9-volt battery and the other end to the wet end of one of your Q-tips.  It is important that the clip make good contact with the wet cotton.
  6. Gently rub the wet end of the Q-tip over your stencil.  The Q-tip should start to discolor as the metal is etched.  We used two Q-tips per stencil to get a good etching.
  7. Remove the stencil and wipe the spoon clean and enjoy your new personalized spoon!

If you enjoyed these projects, we hope to see you at Maker Camp next year!

Makerspace Services

The DBU Makerspace is the place to Dream It, Build It, Use It!  Our makerspace is full of equipment and supplies to help you learn a new skill, explore your creative side, and preserve your memories from the past.  The makerspace is part of the main Rutherford County Library located on Callahan Koon Road in Spindale and is open during regular library hours.  We invite individuals and groups (families, school and homeschool groups, Girl Scout groups, Boy Scout groups, etc.) to come learn something new or explore your passion!  For information on booking a group activity, call Kenneth at 828.287.6327.

3D Design/Printing

3D Printer
Computer workstation with 3D design software

Media Conversion

LP to CD


Tabletop Loom
Circle Looms

Building Sets

Tumble Tree Timbers
Erector Set


Meccanoid G15 & G15KS


Snap Circuits

Art Sets

Acrylic and Oil Painting
Charcoal and Colored Pencils

Digital Imaging

Digital Photography
Digital Video
Green Screen & Lighting