Des Moines Mini Maker Faire showcases Iowans’ creativity

Des Moines Mini Maker Faire showcases Iowans’ creativity

It’s the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth. It’s a family-friendly showcase of invention. It’s part science fair, part county fair, part something entirely new. It’s the inaugural Des Moines Mini Maker Faire!

What’s in store for you on Monday, September 1, at the Science Center of Iowa? A whole lot of showing and telling, courtesy of inventors and makers from across the state!

As you wander the exhibitor booths, tinker in the LEGO area, witness the zinging lights of a Star Theater laser show and experiment in STEM workshops, we encourage you to wonder, “Why?”

The Faire will feature a wide variety of Iowans dedicated to advancing the state’s rich STEM culture. 



  • HiFi Speakers: Experience the highest quality sound!
  • R2-D2: Yeah, you read that right — the beloved “Star Wars” character will make an appearance at the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire. The robot boasts high-tech engineering, with RC control and Arduino automation.
  • FRC Team 4646 ASAP: This Des Moines-based robotics team unites 15 high school students and seven mentors to design and build a robot to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition.
  • Iowa LEGO Users Group: The Iowa LUG will present interactive LEGO activities for Maker Faire attendees, including LEGO Marble Mazes and LEGO/Duplo construction.
  • Balloon Geodesic Dome: This exhibit needs your help! Attendees will inflate and attach 165 balloons throughout the day to build a geodesic dome reaching five feet in height and 10 feet in diameter.
  • CoderDojo: In today’s tech-savvy world, coding is an ever-expanding industry. CoderDojo will present information about its coding education programs.
  • Forward Learning Experience: Industrial engineering encompasses a wide variety of exciting, cutting-edge work. Industrial design graduate students will teach attendees about the growing fields of CNC programming, computer-aided drafting, 3D scanning, 3D printing and more!  
  • Jewels Academy-Young Emerging Scientists: Fashion and 3D design unite in this exhibit. The Jewels Academy will teach girls how to design in 3D (and create custom tote bags for their tech projects).  
  • Drop Spinning: This exhibit has only two requirements: fingers and fiber (and creativity, of course). A drop-spinning expert will demonstrate how to twist fibers, plastic and more into yarn or cord.
  • Dream: Space telescopes aren’t the only way to capture atmospheric art. This exhibit uses simple materials like spray paint to create vivid representations of the universe.
  • Safety Cane: This fiber-optic cane is visible from over a mile away, improving user safety.
  • Beer Crazy: Iowa has an ever-growing DIY industry, and Beer Crazy will showcase its contributions at the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire.
  • Electric Vehicle Conversions: These three electric cars don’t emit any fumes, benefiting the environment.
  • The Canine Cabana: Invented by 14-year-old Marc Trepanier, this patent-pending pet shelter can be assembled in a snap — no tools, nails, nuts or bolts needed!
  • DICE FTC: Techies, don’t miss this exhibitor! The DICE FTC team will exhibit computers, a competition-ready robot and a 3D printer.
  • Sports Car Club of America (Des Moines Valley Region): Experience the scientific side of racing with this outdoor exhibitor. The DMVR SCCA will present DIY racing projects and a photo gallery of the racecar-building process!
  • Portrait Studio: Watch as an artist draws you, and try your hand at drawing someone else’s portrait.
  • Traveling TARDIS: Calling all Whovians! Step inside a hand-crafted replica of the “Dr. Who” trademark police phone box.
  • Iowa Brewers Union: Always wanted to brew your own beer but weren’t sure where to start? Visit the Iowa Brewers Union exhibitor booth for tips and information on the brewing process.
  • Elevate Iowa: An Iowa campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing. Representatives from Vermeer will join with a small virtual reality welding simulator, American Welding Society comic books and careers in welding booklets. Learn more at
  • Iowa State University Virtual Reality Program: The cutting-edge program will bring a 16-foot trailer packed with high-tech gear, including a 3D printer, augmented reality activities, Oculus Rift goggles and a virtual reality module.


  • Britches & Hose Ukulele Club: Britches & Hose Ukulele Club is about more than breezy island tunes. The group, which performs exclusively with voice and ukuleles, will perform a set that spans pop to folk to arena rock.
  • Scientists in Comics: This acrylic artist specializes in comic book characters.

Workshops (free with admission):

  • Area 515 will lead MaKey MaKey workshops, where attendees can turn almost anything — bananas, Play-Doh, high-fives and more — into a piano key!
  • The Des Moines Art Center will help attendees transform trash into treasure in this innovative workshop.
  • At the "Roach Motel: Make-a-Zine" make-and-take booth, Faire attendees will gain inspiration from a variety of zines on display. Zines from the Roach Motel Zine Distro will be pre-printed and provided free of charge to attendees to bind and take. Roach Motel owner and Craft Leftovers writer Kristin Roach will provide hands-on instructions for all three zine-binding techniques: stapler saddle stitched, waxed floss saddle stitched and single-page slit fold.
  • Create a slim, versatile case for your iPad or other tablet device using bookbinding materials and rare-Earth magnets. The end result is a book-like case that protects your tablet when closed but provides a wide range of holding/viewing positions.
  • Blow your own glass ornaments under the guidance of artist Rachel Sims! She will teach Faire attendees how to create unique glass art with a torch.

Food and Beverage Area:

Taste the food-truck flair of Des Moines staple "Melts without Borders" and sip on Iowa craft beer at the Maker Faire Food and Beverage Area. As you enjoy Iowa flavors and brews, tap your feet to local bands.


The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is free with general admission and free for SCI Members. Buy your ticket today!

Category: Make@SCI