Building a community space for Art, Tech, and Crafting in DE


Hello Community,

We have the opportunity to take over the top floor of a skinny brick building at 105 W 9th St in Wilmington, for 3 months, rent-free, through Project Pop-Up.  It’s about 1,000 sq feet, and all up to code.  We have no obligation to renew the lease after this.  In fact, we will probably be looking for a larger space by then!


The first floor at 105 W. Ninth St will be a company called “Fit Body” along with shared reception space at the front.  

The second floor is all ours, except that the bathroom is shared.

Here is a pic of the front conference room.  It has lots of outlets.  This room is small, maybe 12 by 10:


The first open space is a little smaller than this, with no outlets.  So I think this will serve as our gallery space:


The larger open space in the back is like the conference room, but maybe 1.5 times the size.  It also has two sky lights, 2 windows, and lots of outlets. 

One drawback.  All of this space is covered in carpet squares.

However, there is a basement with a microwave and sink, and an unfinished floor:


We need everyone in the group to pitch in, so that we will be able to say yes to this offer.  Here’s what we need:

1.  We are aiming to have the space open at least every Wednesday and Friday, from 5-9 PM, and every Sunday from 1-6PM.  If you can contribute a few hours to staff the space (greeting people, checking them in for a class, etc), any time over the next 3 months, please contact Aaron at  He will get you on the calendar.  

2.  Is there a Meetup or class you would like to lead in the space? Responding to this will not result in a commitment, but please contact Kathleen if you are interested in developing curriculum with us, or being trained to teach one of our regular classes:

3.  We need to borrow, get, and/or make some big community tables for classes and for working on small projects. We will also need chairs and shelves, possibly lockers, and a projector.  There are small needs, too, such as white boards, extension cords and surge protectors.  If there is anything you would like to donate to the space, or just loan us for a few months, please contact Jeanne: .

4.  What could you have on display/for sale in our gallery?  We would like to have art, tech, and craft projects.  We would specifically like to have items in the gallery which can be linked to a class (if you like this item you can buy it OR learn to make it).  If you would like to have your work in our gallery, send a jpeg image, along with the dimensions of the work, and a description of how your work would be displayed, to Bailey: . 

  • This opportunity came to us on Monday.  The city would like us to be staffing the space starting Oct 1st!  So, I apologize for the rush, and would appreciate your quick responses.  The Board will need to decide on this issue on Saturday night, and we need to know we’ll have your help.  If you have any other input or questions, please contact me at

Thank you for your support,


President of the Board

Barrel of Makers, Inc.


We’ve spent many hours over the last several months, planning and building this large-scale collaborative piece.  Our GIANT Lite-Brite is composed of tons of 8 inch by 8 inch squares of peg board, that we drilled double the holes in (because we are crazy).  This weekend, we finally got to see our creation in action, watching it grow by one individual square at a time.

Our first contribution was this heart, made by a volunteer from the Brandywine Festival of the Arts:

By Sunday afternoon, we had a full board of unique designs:

We learned a lot things we can do to make this even better for next time, which meant we did a lot of quick problem solving.

For example, it was difficult to get our homemade Lite-Brite pegs into the pegboard holes.  However, one of our volunteers, Jeanne, saved the day by bringing wooden blocks the kids could use to hammer those pegs in, and and some pliers they could use to force the holes to be bigger. “You are the boss of these holes! Make it happen!” I said.  Hammering in the pegs became of lot of the kids’ favorite part. 

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  • Friday, Oct 3rd, 2014.  6PM
    Chris White Gallery

    701 N. Shipley Street, Wilmington , DE

  • WIRED: An Exhibition on the Intersection of ART AND TECHNOLOGY 

    Presented by NWAA and Barrel of Makers


    WIRED is a juried show open to artists interested in the intersection of the visual, auditory, and technological.  Artists may submit up to three (3) works for consideration.  Works ranging from traditional media to sound, light, installation, and performance are accepted.  The top level of the gallery is lit high-key, and lighting is dimmed in the lower level.  Collaboration is encouraged—find potential collaborators here on Meetup!  

    By Friday, Sept 5th, 2014, please submit the following to
    JPEG images: Attachments may be no greater than 300dpi. For video, embed files or links.   Please label ALL files as follows: LASTNAME.TITLE.JPG.  Please include an image list detailing artist name, title, date, medium, dimensions, insurance value, and sale price (or NFS). Please specify whether your work is meant to be shown in full or dimmed light (upstairs and downstairs, respectively).Proposals for site-specific installation/performance pieces:  

    We encourage proposals in non-traditional media.  Please submit a brief description of proposed installation/performance, including space requirements, and up to 3 images of comparable works.

    Cost, for up to 3 works: By submitting your work you certify that, if selected, you will include a $15 check made out to New Wilmington Art Association with your artwork at the time of drop-off.


    Deadline for Submissions: Friday 5
    Selections announced: Monday September 15 
    Delivery and Installation: Tuesday September 30 (and October 1 as needed)
    Opening Reception: Friday October 3
    Exhibition Closes: Friday October 31
    Strike: Saturday November 1 (and 2 as needed)

    **While the NWAA does not take a commission of sale, we recommend the artist make a donation to NWAA of up to 20% of the price of a work sold from an NWAA-sponsored exhibition.

    **Artists are responsible for all costs of transportation to and from the exhibition space.  Delivery details will be arranged following notification of selection.  By submitting work, the artist acknowledges that all work will be exhibited at the artist’s own risk.** 


  • Brandywine Park

    1001 North Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19802, Wilmington,DE (edit map

    Barrel of Makers is bringing our GIANT Lite Brite out for the first time!
    Come out and help us show off our new creation at the Brandywine Festival of the Arts.  This will be the first time that we will show the public our amazing new creation! 

    We need you to help us man our booth: 

Saturday, September 6th, 2014 
10 am - 6:30 pm

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 
10 am - 4 pm

If you are able to contribute a few hours, let us know.  If you are one of the first to volunteer, we can offer you a free ticket or two. 

Even if you can’t help, come by and find us under the Children’s Tent.

Learn more:

See you there!



    “With each of my children, I’ve notice that at a certain age (maybe 3 or 4), they figure out the basic structure of a knock-knock joke, but don’t really understand how or why the joke works.  This means that you get a long period of time where they gleefully fill in whatever nonsense floats into their head. This Joke Machine is an attempt to simulate this style of chaotic joke telling, just in case you don’t have a 4 year old around.

    The machine is powered by an Arduino Uno. All the electronics will be housed in an old beige desktop phone. While not finished, the machine is currently functional. The Arduino detects when the user picks up the handset via the cradle switch and plays the opening of the knock-knock joke, “Knock, Knock,” through the earpiece, in a robotic voice. All sounds are generated by an AdaFruit Wave Shield and play pre-recorded WAV files from an SD card. When the user responds, the Arduino detects the sound via the mouthpiece and a SparkFun Sound Detector board, then plays the first element of the joke, “Badger”, for example. The words are chosen at random from a directory full of interesting words. Once the user responds again, the Arduino finishes the joke by choosing another word at random. So the end result is something like, “Badger mailbox.” It will then, just like a 4 year old, laugh at its own nonsensical joke.”

The kids at Delaware’s “Robotics Day” had a lot of fun with this creation.  Thanks, Brian!


It’s been a while since we last talked about our 3D printer.  When we first built it, we were super excited about all the possibilities.  As it sat in my office, I started to print as may things that I could.  Unfortunately, each print seemed to increase my frustrations.  The more I printed, the worse they got.  I was being to get frustrated.  Things were not looking good.  I worked hard to try to get everything calibrated, but each fix brought on more problems. For a while, I didn’t give up.  I wanted better prints.  I wanted the investment of Barrel of Makers to mean something. 

Eventually, the frustration got to be a too much. I gave up on the printer.  It just sat in my office, mocking me.  After a few months of having an expensive paperweight in my room, I was given a challenge.  I was told, not asked, to bring the printer to a Make Along in December.  I was told to have it up and running and that I would be printing out ornaments for everyone who came.  After a full weekend of work, I finally got it printing.  It was happiest day of my life.  I had successfully printed several snowflake ornaments and everything was running smoothly.  Then, I brought it with me.  After setting everything up, the first prints were a disaster.  I spent the entire two and a half hour Make Along trying to figure out why, again, it wasn’t printing correctly.  It was embarrassing and the end of my journey with the 3D printer.  I had had enough.  It was time for someone else give it a try.

I reached out to another member of Barrel of Makers, Greg Cheng.  I told him about my struggles with the 3D printer and he agreed to help.  It was in his hands now.  I could breathe freely now that every time I walked into my office it was no longer mocking me.  Shortly after giving the printer to him, I started receiving text messages about what he had done with the printer.  It was almost embarrassing all of things that he had to fix or align during his calibration.

Have a look at what Greg has done:

  • Replaced power supply
  • Tightened all bolts
  • Lined up 3 endstops
  • Printed New Endstop to replace broken ones
  • Realigned y axis belt
  • Realigned Z-axis on both sides
  • Changed Baud rate to 115200 in configure.h and reflashed firmware
  • Changed Slic3r option to have 0.1 mm layers and reprinted endstops (better result)
  • Tighten y Axis Belt
  • Tighten x Axis Belt
  • Printed Spool Holder

I can’t even tell you what I did, but it wasn’t all that (obviously). While it was a little embarrassing, my frustration did not fully manifest itself because I was just happy that someone was able to get the infernal machine to work.  Things are far from being perfect (we are still having problems printing with abs plastic), but right now we are moving in the right direction.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at the differences in our prints:


As you can tell we have come a long way, or at least Greg has.

I will try my best to keep everyone up to date on the progress with the printer, but finally things seem to be coming along quite nicely.

-Brad J. Glassco


Barrel of Makers has been wanting to do a soldering workshop for a long time.  We received a microgrant from the fabulous Wilmington STIR dinner to put toward the materials, but it just wasn’t enough.

After over a year of running various Make-Alongs, on January 12th, we held an Intro to Soldering Make-Along!  Brian Givens taught the class with help from Greg Cheng, and I was….there.  ; )

It was so great!  Everyone created a Trippy RGB waves kit.  By the time they’d soldered it, they were ready to take on any kit out there!  Some of the soldering was super difficult–very close through holes which needed to be soldered so that none of the solder would touch!  Only 2 out of the 7 attendees has ever soldered, and everyone accomplished it.  All the kits lit up right away, and no one burned themselves!  Amazing, since my boyfriend still burns himself every time he solders.

At first, all the kits, are running through their own cycle of colors, but when you wave your hand over them, their light sensors cause them to all reset in unison:


We learned a few things from teaching the class: 

1. despite having “third hands” to hold the circuit boards, it’s also good to have some play dough to stick them in and hold them steady.

2. Metal sponges are way better than wet ones.  So, we’ve got to order some.

These are mportant discoveries because we will soon be teaching this class again to 50 kids through the FAME program!  We’re ready!

We’ll also be teaching a second session to the kids at FAME.  If you’d like to be a guinea pig for that 2nd class, join us at the Creative Vision Factory on March 9th.  We’ll be doing a run through with 10 of you.  If you’ve soldered before, this is the class where you take your skills to the next level!  Find out more on Meetup.


Last night we held our monthly Critique Night.  Steph and Jeff brought business cards back with lots of improvements that were suggested by the group at last month’s gathering.  Look at how much they improved:

These are going to be Barrel of Makers, Inc’s new business cards. They are a little craft project as well!

We also talked about how to take the books we made at October’s Make A-long, to the next level.  Here they are so far:

It was a fun night.  Thanks for bringing cookies Bailey, and thank you to everyone for sharing your works in progress.  See you next time!



Barrel of Makers’ volunteers had an awesome time this past weekend, at the Brandywine Festival of the Arts!  
We learned so much from the individuals and families who tried out our drawbots.  They helped us figure out how we can improve them, and how we could use them in the future.

We spent a lot of the day adjusting the way the marker fit into the old clock face we used as a weight for our “person operated drawing machine”:


One of our volunteers, Stephanie, taught us something we were missing at our last public event:  If you hand the pulleys to a child and say, in a calm voice, that they should “pull gently,” they won’t pull on the machine all super-hard and flip the clock face!  

Jason, Karen, and Jessi took the show on the road with the sandwich board version:


And under the tent, our drawbots burned through lots of batteries, but not very much paper:


We learned that pushing the red button “just once” to lower the marker to the paper isn’t going to cut it, because you just keep wanting to press it!  We also learned the drawbots have a tough time on that flimsy a surface, and we’ll be trying out our newly constructed “dry erase arena” at the Taste of the Riverfront Event this Saturday, Sept 14th.

Here’s a few action shots– I especially love the look on the little boy’s face in the bottom right (Philly’s shirt):


Lots of people who work with kids who have some disability told us that all of these bots would be really fun for kids who can’t draw in traditional ways.  We built these bots because it was fun, and we wanted to learn by doing.  If they can end up helping people, we are super excited about that!

Most importantly, we learned that we have awesome volunteers. : )  We gave out 70 of our 75 brochures on Saturday, and I was all tuckered out.  I figured one day was good enough, but a lot of them wanted to come back.  Wow.  You just couldn’t stop these guys.  Not only were they there to help, they were creating the whole time.  For example: It was Candice’s idea to try out dry erase boards for all this stuff.  Later on, she noticed we were piling up a lot of empty water bottles, so she started figuring out what she could make with them!  Meanwhile, Steph was working on a design for our future business cards.

  Thank you all so much.  It was a great time.  Tom, Karen, Greg, Candice, Jason, Steph, Jeff, and Evan, you guys are awesome!



It was hot!

I thought so many things would go wrong. "what if it’s terrible?" "what if we came all the way here and nothing works?" "what if they hate us?"

I started to feel better when I saw the library in a mall complex and tents were set up…plus breakfast was ready for us.

The day got progressively better from that point on.

Between our two drawing apparatuses and our winning personalities, Jessi and I said NAY to the heat and our doubts! Everyone was more than willing to participate, help, share ideas and collaborate.

The kids had a ball drawing in a way that challenged their skills and abilities.

her face paint was amazing!! Good job guys, really!

…although, some of them “cheated”

but all of them were happy to take home what they had made that day!

They were proud to overcome a somewhat daunting challenge and even more proud to ask their parents to hang it on the frige.

The “grown-ups” were a little harder to convince, but the brave ones got pretty into it.

This guy showed up too!

However it wasn’t all about us. There were plenty of other things for people to explore:


robot wars, awesome!

and what would a makerfaire be without a 3D printer?

So all and all, the day was great. A little sweaty, but great. We empowered our youth and even a few of our more adventurous adults. If we have learned anything from the Huxtables it’s that the more of us there are and the more positive we can be, the greater our chances are for success.

these are not the Huxtables, but you get it.

I leave you with this, happy making:

blog by Brian Scatasti