Crafting is the act of making something in a skillful way by using your hands. (Merriam-Webster, 2016). Many people craft as a hobby, and millions of children craft in school throughout K-12. You usually don’t associate crafting with electronics, but I soon found some interesting projects that incorporate electronics with crafting.
E-waste is a new term associated with old electronics that would be put in a landfill, but in some cases, people use to craft. Shown above in order from left to right are
- Floppy disk planter
- E-waste jewelry
- Toys from old electronics
- Toaster night light
- Circuit board pendant lamps
- Door sign from circuit board and keys
- Mother board clock
- Washing machine ottoman
- Keyboard rings
- Telephone bookends
People dedicated to recycling and keeping e-waste out of landfills are finding new ways to use these old electronics in innovative ways. They call themselves green crafters. The jewelry is made from wires, cables, and plugs. The third photo on the first row is a keyboard piano. There is no limit to your imagination.
Chibitronics is a new company that specializes in crafting with electronics. Their website is packed with information on learning the basics of using electronics to make paper circuits, cards, textiles, home decor, and many other projects. The basic materials are copper tape, conductive fabric, stickers, LEDs, batteries, sensors, and microcontrollers. They sell most of the basic electronics to use in crafting.
Another innovative idea using electronics and crafting is interactive art. Jie Qi gets inspired from Zachory K. Berta and Jessie W. Thompson from MIT to make an Interactive Light Painting. (Scroll over images for caption)
Here are Jie’s different phases of her painting.
Some of the dandelions have sensors that when you blow on it, the seeds scatter! Or it can cycle through the different phases automatically. Here you see her circuitry behind the painting. She used LEDs, copper tape, and sensors.
Adafruit is another company that specializes in electronics and crafting. They sell a Arduino-compatible microcontroller called the FLORA and it is round, sewable, and is used for a wide variety of wearable electronics.
Here are some examples.
The unbrella’s LEDs are color changing, and can even be programmed to replicate colors you come across with a photo sensor! The skateboard has flashing lights under the board. The last item is a chameleon scarf. It has 12 color changing LEDs to match any outfit you have.
Lastly, there is squishy circuits. PlayDoh or homemade dough can be used to create sculptures that conduct electricity so you can use LEDs and other components. You can also teach about electronic circuits safely and without a soldering iron or breadboard.
All these ideas, and infinitely more are creations that incorporate electronics and crafting. It puts another dimension in crafting that gives flare, glitz, and uniqueness. Some of these projects require programming, but all require electronic components and the basic knowledge of electronic circuits. There are many web sites dedicated to these types of crafts, and tutorials are available and created everyday. I believe it is a viable addition to crafting that people can enjoy and showcase.
Buechley, L. (2012). How to “sketch” with electronics. Ted Talk. . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI
Qi, J. (2012). Interactive Light Painting: Pu Gong Ying Tu. . Vimeo. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/40904471
Qi, J. (2012). What Makes a Weed Not Be a Flower. . YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KODlmvQMmtw&feature=youtu.be
Chibitronics. (2016). Retrieved from https://chibitronics.com/
Adafruit. (2016). FLORA – Wearable electronic platform. Retrieved from https://www.adafruit.com/products/659
Squishy Circuits – Sylvia’s Mini Maker Show.(2012) Makezine. . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDZo51k2BWQ
Striepe, B. (2014). 10 Beautiful E-Waste Craft Ideas. Welcome to the Ecycle Best Blog. Retrieved from https://www.ecyclebest.com/blog/expert-insights/10-beautiful-e-waste-craft-ideas-becky-striepe