Maker Faire Detroit 2011

2 August, 2011

in Daily Life & Family Love

mask booth, maker faire detroit

Well, hello there! How’s your Tuesday going?

Luke the Duke, otherwise known as “honorary junior adult for the day” and I would like to take you on a wee tour of our trip to Maker Faire Detroit 2011….

Detroit's Finest unlock my car

It started off with me locking my keys and phone in the car as soon as we parked in the lot. Ugh.

I feared ruining the first hour of little Lukie’s time with me at the fair, but no fear – Detroit’s Finest is here!  As I was walking over to request help from the cop directing trafficking in front of the Faire I thought, “I’m in Car City and at a Maker Faire – surely someone can jimmy my car open without me having to spend $75? Maybe someone will plead from the speakers for me?”

No such hacker drama ensued as a cop showed up within ten minutes.  I immediately thanked him for his help, to which he replied, “Don’t thank me yet – I’ve never done one of these before.” Which reminded me that I was driving a Hyundai Santa Fe in serious Ford territory. But no worries.  He jimmied it open immediately and we were again on our way.

Whew! So nice when possible giant frustrations can be only a wee inconvenience!

maker faire detroit

Now to the Faire! We immediately saw this giant bicycle and the other one upon entry.  How cool is that?!  Can you tell that those wheels are about as tall as an adult?

maker faire

We saw many intriguing and strange sights.  This was about as close as we got to the car though.  I think Luke was a bit creeped out by the rows of dolls heads.

Maker Faire Detroit

These guys were demonstrating real old-fashioned farm work.  And it was So hot.  (You will hear this again.)

The steam engine that ran it was incredibly loud.  So loud that I thought, “this can’t get any louder” and it did.  I was backing towards the port-o-potties where Luke had ducked in, wondering how he was doing in there with the noise.  Just then he came flying, and I mean flying, out with eyes like saucers.

It really did sound like a train was going to run right over us!

Luke, Maker Faire Detroit

Then we checked out the kids’ museum area…

Giant weaving loom & Luke, Maker Faire Detroit

…and found an awesome giant loom featured by a local yarn shop.  Luke also wanted you to see his sucker.

At this point we’d only been there about an hour, but I was already wilting in the heat.

So thankful the Faire was at the Henry Ford Museum – we headed inside for some AC…

TV coat, Maker Faire Detroit

…and immediately ran into TV man. He’d made a screen with LED strips right on a lab coat and was showing a Simpson’s cartoon.  He taught me that the little dots that make up a TV screen are just rows of red, green, and blue.  Which I hadn’t realized before.  TV is just RGB? Wow!

Maker Faire be with you.

Then we found one of Luke’s favorite booths.  Makers who use their mad skills to replicate props from the Star Wars movies for fan, community, and charity events. As soon as I asked for a photo, the storm trooper dropped into shooting pose. So great!

Luke & R2D2, Maker Faire Detroit

Luke with the R2D2 replica-in-progress.

Handmade art dolls, Maker Faire Detroit

Right across from the Star Wars peeps was an incredible doll and paper/yarn artist. Those are the kids’ craft, soda pop bottle dolls seriously upgraded.  She also had some great woven basket which used paper rolls or plastic bags for the coil and yarn to weave it together.  Luke thought one of her wall hangings was Captain America’s shield.

Part of CraftSanity's booth, Maker Faire Detroit

This is just a partial photo of Jen’s CraftSanity booth.  I meant to take a full shot with her in it, but forgot.  It was really cute! She had her looms and the Craft Sanity Magazine for sale.  I was glad to see someone I knew and get a couple tips on where to find things at the Faire.

(The CRAFT: area should not be hard to find at a MAKE: event.  Or in the back of the action.  But I digress….)

my little dragon, maker faire detroit

Right beside Jennifer was a great booth where people couple model handmade costume masks/heads.

my little cupcake, maker faire detroit

Luke and I both loved it and I had to stop him from trying to take other people’s turns.

Luke at Etsy's whack-a-treasury game

His other fave was Etsy’s Whack-a-Treasury game. He had a little trouble with it, but we took home a robot softie kit to make for a prize anyway.  (I have so many crafts I need to catch up on making for my kids…I need to just set aside a day.)

maker faire 090

We strolled by the Needle Zone (where I was informed that the giant button to Luke’s right also looked like Captain America’s shield), a balloon animal maker, robotic Legos, other cute craft booths, and geeky gadgetry I did not always understand.

fire breathing dragon, maker faire detroit

Far and away the largest “gadget” was the fire-breathing dragon.  Even though it was incredibly hot, the air somehow got hotter  yards away when he breathed his flames.

maker faire detroit 2001. so. hot.

Wait, did I mention it was hot?  Yes, yes, it was.

I know it’s been even hotter down south, but we northern birds are just not used to this.  And walking out in it all. day. is. another. level.  In truth, I would have enjoyed the Faire a lot more, but I was so hot it was hard to give anything my attention for too long.  I felt like a real wimp, especially since it’s a 5 hour round trip from GR.

Luke by Tornado Alley tank, Maker Faire Detroit

So we went inside again and shelled out for the IMAX movie. Tornado Alley was about storm chasers and a guy who learned how to weld so he could build this tank in order to be able to literally drive right into a tornado. (!!!) It was a good documentary and wonderful to sit down in AC for 50 minutes.

Seriously, friends, I am not one to sit at the movies on a sunny day, especially when there’s a whole Faire to be seen, but it was that or have a Wicked Witch ending. Luke was fine with it since it was his first IMAX movie.

Eepy Bird, Coke & Mentos Guys at Maker Faire Detroit 2011

After more browsing inside and out, finding the CRAFT section so I could say “hi!” to Lish in person, and buying yet another drink, we headed out to the lawn for the Coke & Mentos finale.

blowing bubbles at maker faire detroit

While waiting for the show Luke entertained me by practicing his bubble-making and then we worked on trying to get a good dual shot.  It’s such a special thing to have one-on-one time with a kiddo, you know?

Eepy Bird, Coke & Mentos Guys at Maker Faire Detroit 2011

Did you know you get a better geyser with hot soda pop than a bottle you’ve pulled straight from the refrigerator?

All in all, a really great day.  I would have enjoyed it no matter what, but getting to have a special time with Luke made it all the sweeter.  When I asked him if he really wanted to go, making sure he understood the hours in the car and all the walking he said, “It’s okay, I like travel and art, Mom.  They’re two of my favorite things.” How can you resist when your kid says that?!

There was a ton I didn’t get pics of and some stuff we didn’t even see, but I hope you enjoyed this little tour!  I feel like this post should be funnier or more informative, but there was so much to see, I’m still processing it all.  I’ll try to add some more links later.


Off to make something….

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

MandyNo Gravatar

A fascinating day. How lovely that Luke enjoyed it all too. It is rather special spending time like this with your children.


ElizabethNo Gravatar

Very special, thank you.


FanieNo Gravatar

Yes, I really did enjoy your report on Detroit’s Maker Faire. :-) Looks like you both had lots of fun going over there. Makes me wish I had a kid to hang around with at to thoses kind of events! :-D
I really need to go to the next Maker Faire! :-D Wee!


ElizabethNo Gravatar

It’s worth the trip, I think!


Breeanna @ a brilliant meldoyNo Gravatar

That looks like so much fun! Good thing that cop was there to help you get your car unlocked!


ElizabethNo Gravatar

Yes, it was! And I was super glad for the fast help! :)


ElsieNo Gravatar

Looks like so much fun! Thank you for the sweet comment! Happy crafting!
xo, Elsie


ElizabethNo Gravatar



chantalNo Gravatar

Luke with the cupcake head is just about the cutest thing ever.

This post is making me look forward, even more, to doing these sorts of activities with the babies.


ElizabethNo Gravatar

Isn’t he though? And yes, good things to look forward to – it’s so fun to watch them grow. Enjoy the little cute stage though – we’re past that and I miss it. Every stage has it’s special pros. :)


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