See How She's Making Jewelry and Gifts at the Maker Space
September 16, 2021 — Tammy Flowers downplays her skills in the Library’s Maker Space, admitting casually, “I have a creative streak… If I see something I like and I don’t want to spend the money for it, I think, ‘I can do that.’”
So far, her creative streak has produced one laser-engraved charcuterie board and about 30 pairs of earrings. And she has her next project picked out -- a Christmas gift for her sisters, but we won’t spoil the surprise.
Tammy, who also brings creativity to her job as principal of Campbell Elementary School, discovered her “maker” outlet at the facility inside the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library. It’s in the basement-level Edge Community Technology Center.
There, Tammy quickly took to the laser engraver, a Glowforge Pro Laser Printer, which can etch designs on wood, acrylic, paper or cardboard. Her first project, the charcuterie board, was engraved with a personal message for her sister. She used a piece of butcher block left over from an RV project and placed it in the laser engraver cradle. She had loaded the personalized message onto a flash drive, which she then loaded into the laser engraver computer. Once complete, she sanded the edges along the rough cut.
With that success, she was on to jewelry. Tammy bought small plywood sheets at a local crafts store, and downloaded SVG earring files available for about $1-$2 on Etsy. She loaded those files to the laser engraver computer, which cut out intricate patterns of swirls, angles, chevrons, teardrops and even mountain ranges into the thin plywood. She can fit four or five pairs of earrings on a single sheet, and it takes five to 10 minutes to engrave a single sheet.
At home, Tammy paints or stains the designs and finishes them by attaching the earring hardware that she buys. She’s given some of the earrings as gifts and sold a few.
“I’m anxious to try the other things there. I’ve only done the laser engraver,” Tammy says. Next, she adds, “I want to try the 3D printer.”
Other DIYers and Master Fix-its have found the Maker Space a great and inexpensive way to make signs, preserve photos, make toy replacement parts, and more. Learn more about the Maker Space equipment and see demos at thelibrary.org/edge.
Here are examples of what you can do there:
- Use the laser engraver to make a sign or designs on wood, acrylic, paper and cardboard. Make your own puzzles, too.
- Program the vinyl cutter to make iron-on transfers for T-shirts, plaques or flags
- Use the 3D printer to make replacement parts for toys, shelving, cabinets and board game pieces – or just art.
- Convert and save your old negatives, slides, VHS and DVD movies to a USB drive or SD card using the video transfer equipment.
- Repair electronic components, make or fix jewelry at the soldering station.
Use of the equipment is free; fees apply for 3D printer filament, vinyl or solder.
Adults can tour the Maker Space, learn or use the equipment by making an appointment. Call The Edge at 417-837-5011.