What is a makerspace?
At their simplest, makerspaces, sometimes also known as FabLabs, techshops, or hackerspaces are collaborative work spaces. Though they may have certain specialties, they frequently offer the ability to explore and use technology and tools including 3D printers, laser cutters, industrial sewing machines, and other machining equipment. That said, not all makerspaces are tech-heavy. While some emphasize robotics and coding, others serve as creative workshops for low/no-tech crafting. The emphasis is on open source applications, DIY, and skill-sharing – all with the goal of learning, exploring, and creating!
How They Work
Makerspaces operate out of community/adult education centers, schools, libraries, or separately as a community-based projects or business start-ups. As such, they may be free to the public, serve a specific audience (like students at a university), or offer membership-based access. A cool feature offered by some makerspaces is the ability to get trained and certified on innovative software and equipment. Others provide in-house fabrication services for custom design projects. Besides building community resilience through skill-development, makerspaces allow us to reclaim a deeper sense of ownership and get greater value out of the goods we rely on. From crafting something uniquely you, to producing custom goods for your small business, to repairing broken parts for things you love, makerspaces are there to help!
Pictures from makerspaces around washington
Get to know washington's makerspaces
Established in 2011, Air Light Time and Space, or ALTSpace is a member-owned community workshop located in the Central District of Seattle. At ALTSpace members can share tools, knowledge, and materials in a friendly DIY atmosphere. With hundreds of tools and multiple shop areas ranging from sewing and electronics to metalsmithing and woodcraft, ALTSpace has everything you need to fix your broken gear or build a whole new set of gears from scratch!
Calling all artists, crafters, teachers, students, professionals, beginners… well, everyone!
Spokane’s first creative reuse center dedicated to sustainability, community, and creativity. Art Salvage offers a place to donate usable art materials, buy affordable art materials, and be creative. Most people have leftovers from projects or materials that have been saved but will never be used. Businesses have seconds, damaged goods, or out of season materials that are not needed anymore. By gathering all of these usable things together in one place we create an accessible and inspiring place to load up on art materials. Because Art Salvage is supported by donations the materials are affordable, always changing and more varied than what you might find in a traditional art or craft store.
BARN (Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network) is a non-profit community center for artisans and makers, BARN’s 25,000 square foot facility has studios for everything from Electronic & Technical Arts to Metal Fabrication and Woodworking. Take a class (online or in-person), work on a project, or come to share your knowledge with others. BARN is a unique place where well-equipped studios invite exploration and innovation.
• Everyone is welcome – you do not need to be a BARN member to participate. Taking a class is a great way to learn more about a studio and meet others who share your interests. All classes are open to ages 14 and up.
• Interested in joining a studio? Visit the studio pages on our website to learn more about each studio and see a complete schedule of upcoming events.
The Bellingham Makerspace is a non-profit community tool and skill sharing space whose mission is providing access to and support learning to use tools and technology to bring creativity to life. Our tools and capabilities include a variety of 3D printers, laser cutting and engraving for wood and acrylic, vinyl cutting for stencils and stickers, large format printers, electronics workbenches, sewing machines, CNC machining, ceramics, screen printing, and a full woodworking and metalworking shop.
Monthly membership provides access to our space, our online resources, and our computers, as well as discounts on classes. There is an additional small fee for machine usage which allows us to keep the machines in good working order for the community to use. At times we can provide design services, consultations, and limited production runs for individual projects. Our location offers space for artists and craftspeople to have designated micro studios of their own, with worktables, chairs, locking storage, as well as ample display space.
The Cogworks is a makerspace; a community workshop where we share tools, workspace, and knowledge. We are designing the Cogworks to be a community of Creative Makers with a more artistic bent. We are structured around a core of interactive, hands-on classes on a wide range of subjects from sewing, leatherwork and handmade books, to HAM radio, Arduino (Micro-computers) and robotics and all kinds of things in-between. In addition to workspace, we have a nice classroom and social space and hope to foster a ‘clubhouse’ feel. We also have private storage space built in–you can have a place to keep your own tools and supplies right next to the common workspaces with lots of room to work on your next project.
The Facility Makerspace opens the Engineering Technology Department at Edmonds College to the local community and provides a collaborative space where ordinary people with extraordinary ideas can come together. The 11,000sf innovation sandbox offers the state-of-the-art tools, training, and community you need to turn your thoughts into things.
The Facility Makerspace is based on a DIY philosophy and the launch of our Rapid Proto Lab gives you hands on access to the most essential, exciting, and versatile makerspace equipment: Laser Cutters, 3D Printers, a CNC Router, and 3D Scanners. This is a game changing opportunity for Makers of all kinds: artists, inventors, entrepreneurs, students, educators, hobbyists, side-giggers, and world changers.
Gorge MakerSpace is a community-based, school-affiliated facility located in White Salmon, on the banks of the Columbia river, about 60 miles east of Vancouver. Our 1500 square foot space supports woodworking, electronics, digital fabrication, robotics, and more. We’ve also been able to offer small classes, host an invention and robotics club, and stage pop-up events in local neighborhoods. Additionally, a fair number of individuals rent out our space to work on personal projects.
IsGood exists to help other people succeed with woodworking.
From beginner to woodworking expert, learn and build with confidence and skill. Since 2008, thousands of students and independent shop workers have come through our doors, and found expert mentoring, professional and well maintained equipment and valuable woodworking wisdom while saving time and money.
We provide the tools, resources, education, and shop use memberships along with one on one mentorship including equipment use certifications to enable you to build, for example, Cutting boards, Jewelry boxes, fine furniture, bookcases, wall shelves: something you will treasure.
The Lacey MakerSpace is an “Innovator’s Workshop” that’s open to the public. With high tech fabrication tools and education resources, become empowered as a maker, innovator or small business. We offer classes, mentoring, prototyping & fabrication services, event space, team building, and even offsite equipment training and assembly!
The NEW Creators’ Workshop is a member-supported, shared-use creative space providing access to equipment, workspace, expertise, & community. Our purpose is to amplify Chewelah’s innate creative energy, to make creative exploration accessible to everyone, and to grow a creative economy. We’ll do this by providing members affordable access to creative work space, equipment, and education.
OlyMEGA is a makerspace for technical-creative projects, located in downtown Olympia, Washington. We are a non-profit organization where people can gather to create, invent, and learn.
We a textile maker space.
Both desire and need exists for a space that fosters a sewing community, offers open studio time with mentors available to work through design and production of an outfit or piece, provide applicable skill building classes, and build a supportive environment to share skills and tricks, as well as stories. We created the Productivity Parlour for Artful Living to teach basic skills to those interested in extending the life of their wardrobe, altering or revising pieces that no longer work, and creating new pieces that express their own style and personality.
Already know how to sew? Learn more advanced skills, try a project that intimidates you, and find community here at the Productivity Parlour.
Our space is welcoming to those from all walks of life. To that end, we work hard to meet the needs of those that participate in drag or cosplay and desire to create a specific vision. We provide consultation and support in building what you are looking to achieve. Our space provides a safe and welcoming environment to our transgendered community to build a wardrobe that is expressive of their identity.
The ReMakery is a community maker space dedicated to reusing materials from Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District’s (LSWDD) recycle plaza and Take It Or Leave It (TIOLI) into new and usable items. The ReMakery is about system change, not just arts & crafts.
The goal of the ReMakery is to educate our community about the value of reduction, reuse, repair, and repurposing items locally to increase the local circular economy. It provides the Lopez community with space, tools and instruction to help transform materials that might otherwise be exported off the island to landfills or far away recycling centers across the globe.
The localization of reuse helps decrease green house gas emissions, creates potential revenue sources for local makers and entrepreneurs, and most importantly, continues to keep LSWDD’s Zero Waste Mission in the forefront of the minds of the community.
The ReMakery offers classes, workshops, Repair Cafes, Maker in Residence programs, and a host of other maker events. The ReMakery has industrial sewing machines, sergers, regular sewing machines, 3D printers, jewelry making, leather working tools, electronics repair and tools, and soon a laser cutter, along with host of other useful tools to upcycle and transform materials.
Located in the Heart of Lopez Village at 37 Weeks Point Way, Units #10 & #11 (or behind Holly B’s Bakery!)
A group of makers rather than a physical space, the San Juan Makers Guild hosts tours, conducts hands-on workshops to learn with Master Makers, and provides online connections that promote learning and discovery. The Youth Mentoring program links future makers and entrepreneurs with experienced master makers.
As a professional and business development organization, the Guild provides workshops, marketing services, community education programs, and special events that benefit emerging and established small business enterprises in San Juan County, WA.
Seattle Makers opened in 2017 with the mission to provide tools, technology, and community to an ever growing number of people to take on creative challenges that are of interest or importance to them. We have a 2000 square foot makerspace with sewing machines, laser cutters, 3D printers, a woodshop, electronics lab, and much more.
Seattle Recreative is a creative reuse center. We collect donated materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill and resell them. There are numerous facilities of this nature across the country; however, we are the only creative reuse facility of our kind in Seattle. We help reduce the amount of useable material entering the waste stream, provide communities with low-cost access to creative materials, and stimulate creative activity within the community.
The Sew Op + Maker Space offers accessible sewing, textile, and DIY workshops in order to stitch together materially and socially resourceful communities in Vancouver, WA.
SnoCo Makerspace is a non-profit interested primarily in helping others come together to make cool things. We have over 2000 square feet of space near Boeing in Everett where we house 3D printers, laser cutters, table saws, lathes, and so much more.
Tinkertopia, LLC. works with local businesses, capturing safe, reusable materials from the wastestream (aka Great Material Continuum), and reimagines these as unusual arts and craft supplies for kids, teachers, makers and tinkerers.
Founded by two Tacoma artists (one a preschool art teacher, the other a political cartoonist), Tinkertopia™ promotes an definitive sense of planetary resource conservation working with local industries to divert safe+clean remnants, seconds, scraps, off-cuts, discards, misprints and overstock from the waste stream, then redistributing these goods as low-cost arts & crafts supplies.
Right now we’re just a dream, monthly meetings and a mailing list. Several organizations and businesses on the island have been working on a makerspace project for Vashon. These include members of the Vashon Tool Library, the Vashon Library, Greentech, the school district, and a large group of volunteers. Want to be a part of it and/or learn more as we grow? Get in touch!
Yakima Maker Space started in 2013 with the goal of galvanizing our City’s creative potential with a shop where you could make almost anything. Since then we have hosted dozens of events from brainstorming sessions, to Maker Faires to Build-Your-Own Tool workshops. We host creative thinkers, artists, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and nerds of all kinds. If you can imagine it, you can make it here with us in the heart of downtown Yakima.
Starting & Maintaining a makerspace
Some recommended resources (vetted by Seattle Makers’ own Jeremy Hanson and more)