Introduction: MakeKit: a Boredom Kit for Makers

Picture of MakeKit: a Boredom Kit for Makers

This is an on-the-go kit of general making and fixing supplies.

Occasionally I find myself away from home and looking to pass the time in the way I prefer most: Making and fixing stuff!

If you're like me and are inherently driven to tinker, fix, and create, you ought to put together a MakeKit for yourself, customized to match your interests. Throw it in your car or bag, and always have something to do!

Read on to see how I made mine and what I included. Hope you enjoy this!

Step 1: Items Not Included

Picture of Items Not Included

For me, a decent multi-tool (like a Leatherman) and a lighter are essential tools to have in conjunction with a kit like this.

However, I did not physically include them in my kit since I tend to use these items on a daily basis. Having them stuck in a box like this just wasn't practical.

The intention was to include supplies I would want in order to create things with "found materials" . . . like sticks, paper, cardboard, soda cans, etc. Conveniently, the basic supplies in this kit are incredibly useful for general fixing of existing objects as well.

Note that this is definitely not airport-friendly, nor was it intended to be.

Step 2: Choose a Case

Picture of Choose a Case

I have several of these two-sided plastic Plano brand cases that I use for a variety of things. They're great.

I get them for $4 at Walmart in the fishing section, although they are surely found at a variety of stores.

There are any number of cases you could use for a maker's kit like this. You should choose a case that fits whatever you want to put in your kit. (Knitting supplies? You're probably gonna need a bigger case than this, for example.)

For the case I used, it comes with removable compartment dividers and each little bay has protruding lips that hold the dividers in place. I found these divider lips to be in the way, so they were carefully scraped out and removed with a sharp 1/4" chisel.

Step 3: Side One

Picture of Side One

The following steps cover the details of what is included in the first side of my case.

Step 4: Compartment 1: Wire

Picture of Compartment 1: Wire

This compartment holds a small pile of large paper clips, as well as 10 feet of rebar tie wire.

Large paper clips are infinitely useful, as they provide small, ready-to-go bits of strong, fairly stiff wire.

Rebar tie wire is perfect for general making and fastening because it is fairly soft and flexible, and easy to manipulate by hand. With a Leatherman for cutting as well as more intricate bending and crimping, you're good to go.

Step 5: Compartment 2: Cordage

Picture of Compartment 2: Cordage

In this compartment I have 10 feet of paracord, 20 feet of thin cotton string, and a simple homemade sewing kit.

The sewing kit was made by wrapping about 15 feet of a variety of threads around a piece of thin cardboard. Four of the threads are common light-duty thread, and two of them are thicker upholstery thread. I included a couple of regular hand-sewing needles, as well as a couple of heavier duty needles for the upholstery thread.

(If you're thinking "Only 10 feet of paracord??", keep in mind that this is a kit for simple making and fixing, and not intended for wilderness survival.)

Step 6: Compartment 3: Heat Shrink Tubing and Rubber Bands

Picture of Compartment 3: Heat Shrink Tubing and Rubber Bands

Rubber bands and heat-shrink tubing come in handy for a variety for fixing and making situations.

Step 7: Compartment 4: Little Tools

Picture of Compartment 4: Little Tools

I'll be honest, this is the compartment I'm most proud of!

In this compartment I have sandpaper in a variety of grits, a modified x-acto handle with blades, a modified paint brush, a piece of a hacksaw blade, toothpicks, and a bit of paraffin wax.

For the sandpaper, I used an old pair of scissors to cut up quarter-sheets of 60, 150, and 220 grits into 8 sections each.

I used a cut-off disc in my rotary tool and cut down a metal x-acto handle so it would fit in the case, and made a small pouch out of paper and duct tape to hold six new blades. (The handle was covered with black heat shrink tubing to add a rubbery grip.)

I cut the handle of an older (but still good) paint brush so it would fit in the case, and sanded the end to a point so it could double as a sculpting tool.

A piece of a metal-cutting hacksaw blade was trimmed to fit the x-acto handle as well. (This was a brilliant idea from user K.hall86--thank you!) I think this will be especially useful for actually cutting small pieces of wood, rather than metal. Either way, it's a good thing to include as it takes up practically no space.

Toothpicks are great for a variety of uses, from sculpting clay to intricate painting, so I included a few.

And I added a small chunk of paraffin wax. You never know when a bit of wax will come in handy.

Step 8: Compartments 5 & 6: Paint

Picture of Compartments 5 & 6: Paint

I wanted to include some small tubs of water-based craft paint.

However in order to make them fit, I actually had to modify the case further. I carefully scored the plastic separating two end compartments with a hobby knife, popped the piece out, and then trimmed away any remaining bits of plastic.

Six little tubs of paint now fit in this double compartment, although I had to first trim off the little tabs and hinges from each tub. I had room for six, so I went with the primaries plus green, black, and white.

Step 9: Side Two

Picture of Side Two

The following steps cover the details of what is included in the second side of my case.

Step 10: Compartment 7: Glues

Picture of Compartment 7: Glues

In this compartment I included two tubes of basic super glue, and three straw packets filled with wood glue.

To use the straw packets, I will just nip off a corner and then seal it back up when I'm done.

Step 11: Compartment 8: Gorilla Tape

Picture of Compartment 8: Gorilla Tape

I love Gorilla Tape. It's like duct tape on steroids . . . thicker, stickier, and more durable.

I bought a narrow roll of it (the width of which happens to fit perfectly in the case compartments!), and carefully wrapped a bunch of it onto a piece of a paint stir stick.

Step 12: Compartment 9: Epoxy Putty and Some Oil

Picture of Compartment 9: Epoxy Putty and Some Oil

I also love two-part epoxy putty.

It has some uniquely beneficial qualities and is incredibly useful for all kinds of applications. For that reason, I didn't fee bad dedicating an entire compartment to hold a whole roll of the stuff.

Since there was room on top of the putty and I was looking to include some basic lubricating oil in the kit somewhere, I added it here.

A bit of oil was sealed into a straw packet just as was done earlier with the wood glue.

There's actually room in this compartment for a few more straw packets if I think of any other types of liquid I want to include. Ideas?

Step 13: Compartment 10: Clay

Picture of Compartment 10: Clay

In the final compartment I included some oil-based clay, which will never dry out.

This is great for making non-permanent, time-passing sculptures. The colors will likely all get mixed when my kids get ahold of them, but that's okay.

Step 14: That's It!

Picture of That's It!

Well, that's it! I'm all set for on-the-go making and fixing.

If you were to make a similar kit, what would you include in yours?

If you make one, I'd love to see and hear about it in the comments!

Thanks for taking a look.


kattthhy made it! (author)2017-01-11

Great kit with loads of ideas. I made a variation using a business card box

seamster (author)kattthhy2017-01-11

Hey, very cool! Glad you found this and made your own version. Thanks for taking the time to comment - I appreciate it! :)

bsm1379 (author)2016-09-17

I added five zip ties (as has been suggested in the comments) and I found that folding them into thirds and securing them with a rubber band allows them to fit perfectly into the compartments (and gives you an extra rubber band).

manuelmasc made it! (author)2016-05-06

hi seamster! this is my version! I keep it in my car as emergency DIY/fixing kit.

I like these kits because they kinda reflect our interests and nature!

I removed some of your stuff, I changed some of them with similar objects, and I added: 2 disposable thin gloves (the free ones that you can find at fuel distributors or in the fruit section of supermarkets), some matches, a pen, a pencil, a small bottle of wd-40 (instead of the drinking straws I recycled a small spray bottle of test perfume), medical scotch tape (useful for injuries but also as normal scotch), a couple of sticks of hot glue (not in picture), a paper measuring tape (the free one that you can find at IKEA for example), zip ties of different dimension, 2m of electric wire, 6m of sewing thread (3 different colors), and I was also able to put a butane lighter and a mini multitool inside of it! (and I still have more space under the butane lighter!!

P.S. if you insert the heat-shrink tubing of small diameters inside the bigger ones, you can save lot of space! ;)

seamster (author)manuelmasc2016-05-06

This a fantastic looking kit!

Having a butane lighter available will be a great asset, same as all of the other items you included. Nicely put together! :)

manuelmasc (author)seamster2016-05-06

thanks for the inspiration!!

Cliffsidegirl (author)2016-02-16

I love it! I have been trying to get a good box for my own kit because all I have are Altoids tins

Stealth_invader (author)2016-01-13

awesome!! This could easily be a survival kit if u added a firestarter

SophiesFoodieFiles (author)2015-11-25

This is so cool! :)

sophsterm (author)2015-11-21

Cool, I think. I'm not sure what you use this kit for? Just to have something to occupy yourself when you're bored or to fix stuff?

seamster (author)sophsterm2015-11-21

Both! :)

For example, this coming week I'll be heading to a relative's house for a few days over Thanksgiving. I'm going to take this along so I can still putter and make stuff, despite being away from my own little workshop.

seamster (author)2015-11-09

Very nicely done!

Thanks for sharing your little kit. I'm glad you were inspired to make one! :)

Jennafir (author)2015-11-06

that looks awsmazing

JonB53 (author)2015-10-30

I just wanted to say thanks for this. I've been putting together my own version now and just the process of doing so has been incredibly fun. I've taken to calling it my "MacGyver" box for reasons obvious to any fan of the old show. Some of my additions/ideas:

- Small binder clips. You can fit 5 or 6 in one of the sections with the divider in. Endlessly useful as a small glue clamp, chip clip, phone stand, etc.

- Small magnifying glass. You can find little plastic ones on-line with 1 inch or less lenses for around a dollar. Haven't done this yet but should fit. Useful for those of us with aging eyes.

- a Sharpie Mini fits perfectly

- Zebra SL-F2 Mini Ballpoint pen from Jet Pens. These are $5 and fit right in.

- Folding Utility Saw and/or Knife by Dermasafe.

I believe these were made for the military. In any case they are small and inexpensive enough to be almost disposable.

Thanks again for the great guide and to everyone who has contributed their own ideas.

seamster (author)JonB532015-10-30

Most excellent!

Great ideas and comment, thank you so much. I actually wanted to call it a MacGyver Kit, but I recalled a past project where the owners of the show contacted the site and made the author change the name of his post... so I went with MakeKit just to be safe! Kinda silly, but you nailed it. This is a MacGyver Kit :)

Glad to hear you were inspired to make your own! I sent you a little bit of pro membership to say thanks for the great comment.

stephenmack (author)2015-10-08

You have found the answer to all my problems!!! This is amazing!!! Do you have a link for the Walmart box you used?

seamster (author)stephenmack2015-10-09

Yep! The case is Plano brand, model 3449-22. They are about 4 dollars at Walmart, but you can get them online too:

Dominic Bender (author)2015-09-28

I love such kits, and I need to get myself a box for this. One idea I had was to use something else as "core" for the gorilla tape instead of the piece of wood. I was thinking razor blades, or maybe you could fit the pouch for the craft knives in a sleeve inside there.

Other things to add might be - depending on your predisposition - a card scraper; a stick of hot glue (for use with the lighter, but I think this has been mentioned before); a ball pen refill (with a piece of clay on the tip); a small permanent marker (there are those that are only long enough to hold when you put the cap on the bottom, something like that - sometimes necessary to draw the X for where the problem lies - engineers will understand); salt (to spice things up, but in this case to make wood glue-ups easier - a pinch of salt keeps the pieces from slipping); baloons and/or rubber gloves (the later for use as, well, gloves, but also, like the balloons, to entertain kids - inflate them, seal with a knot, loosely tie two fingers each to make legs, and the thumb will be the trunk - add face, and get a cute rubber elephant toy. Learned that trick from a paramedic). Hope I did not mention anything that is already in there, or has been mentioned!

Again, great idea, and very inspiring! And so versatile...

seamster (author)Dominic Bender2015-09-28

Great ideas Dominic!

Thanks for the thoughtful comment and ideas. If you make a little kit for yourself, be sure to share a photo, or even a full instructable on it :)

martineschen (author)2015-09-26

The problem with solvents is that they normally tear down all plastic containers, so maybe a thin allu or iron tube would do the thing? One end of it could be soldered/hammered so that there are no leaks, but the other end should have some sort of cap or be pinched with pliers or something when you're done using the solvent (although laying the tube in horizontal position could make the solvent leak). A tiny glass bottle - like those for perfume samples - could also do the trick, but you should test the resistance of its plastic cap too. Or other bigger (but still small :)) perfume/bath cream glass bottles could also be good solvent containers, like those with rubber or metal caps.

kylew11 (author)2015-09-23

A good pair of tweezers and a good set of nail clippers. Must have carries all the time that you might not need everyday.

ShouM (author)2015-09-21

Great idea for the boredom/repair kit.

Might I suggest:

1) Thera-Bands (exercise bands) in lieu of rubber bands. They are much stronger than standard rubber bands. You can size them to fit your application and they come in a variety of thicknesses/strengths.

2) Also, I use surgical scalpels in my X-acto Handles-they're sharper and stronger. 3) Toothpaste in a straw tube makes for a simple buffing compound. U can buff the bottom of a soda can into a concave solar mirror that will start fires.

4) Finally, I would include a small packet of Baking Soda. Mixed with SuperGlue (Cyanoacrylate), it makes a filler/patch cheaper and stronger than SUGRU.

seamster (author)ShouM2015-09-21

Excellent ideas and tips. Thank you!

I've never used CA + baking soda as a filler, but I'll give that a shot sometime when I find the need.

Syncubus (author)seamster2015-09-22

Excellent suggestions, ShouM! "Ranger bands" are cut from bicycle inner tube and also useful for a variety of purposes. They're also much stronger than rubber bands and are width customizable. I keep a section of bicycle inner tube in my pack and cut bands from it as needed.

Greenman2 (author)2015-09-22

This is awesome!

lovethebackwoods (author)2015-09-21

I made a similar container which is now well-used-looking but still completely functional. It's fascinating how these reflect personal hobbies and interests. Mine has three colors of beading thread on small bobbins, two each of a few sizes of beading needles, and a small tube of assorted beads. One can do innumerable beading projects! Starting young children on large or smaller-sized plastic pony beads is a good beginning, making beadie babies, small toys, and especially gifts for others. My self-rescue container also includes a couple sticks of my favorite bubble gum (regularly re-supplied!), a small container of TicTacs, a couple of personal-interest items, a small compass, and some bookmark-making supplies. I've made up individual kits for my kids and grandkids over the years - they love 'em! A separate small kit has colored pencils, a sharpener, and drawing paper. Thanks for this great 'ible!

Awesome! It's nice to hear the details of your kit, and what you included. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

CorgiCritter (author)2015-09-21

Nice! But you should add some paper and a pencil stub. That could come in handy a lot. But I like the instructable, and gorilla tape rocks!

seamster (author)CorgiCritter2015-09-21

That's a good idea, and I think I could still fit a bit of paper and a small pencil. Nice thinking!

CorgiCritter (author)seamster2015-09-21

Glad to help! What will your next instructable be?

seamster (author)CorgiCritter2015-09-21

I'm not sure, to be honest! I've got dozens of projects in the works at any given time . . . :)

CorgiCritter (author)seamster2015-09-21


mestep (author)2015-09-21

I took jig saw blades and thinned down just the thickness on the connection end on my belt sander (use a course grain and make sure you apply it in small amounts to keep it cool or use water). The width fit into an xacto handle. I have both metal and wood blades I keep in mine. Love the kit ideas. Nice work seamster.

seamster (author)mestep2015-09-21

Those are brilliant ideas. I will definitely add some jig saw blades!

Thank you!

Moonman0922 (author)2015-09-18

If you can, put some duct tape on like a pocket on the inside of the lid. Then you can put a credit card multi tool in! Also if you carry a Zippo, extra fuel in a straw container. Also they have very flat flashlights out there so if you want to put one in the duct tape pocket too? (I know everybody has a phone w/ a flashlight but hey there is only so much battery life! You can take the flashlight apart too for electrical applications. Also a small thing of Tabasco (why not?!). Magnets too. I love this Instructable!

srilyk (author)Moonman09222015-09-20

A couple of button batteries and LEDs would actually give you the flash light ability without requiring nearly as much space. Plus, button batteries and LEDs!

seamster (author)Moonman09222015-09-18

Very good ideas, thank you!

Glad you found this interesting. Thanks for the great comment!

CynthiaH9 (author)2015-09-20

WD-40? Light machine oil? GooGone?

seamster (author)CynthiaH92015-09-20

The oil I included was actually sewing machine oil (ie, light machine oil), as I tend to use that for much more than just sewing machines.

I wanted to include a couple kinds of solvents, but was wary of heat-sealing them in straw packets as I did for the glue and oil. Any ideas on how I could store a small bit of solvent? Do you think straw packets would work?

Because WD-40 and GooGone would be terrific additions. Excellent suggestions!

srilyk (author)seamster2015-09-20

If the solvent doesn't have issues with heat (or dissolving plastic) then you should be OK.

Might want to run a few test batches and just leave them hanging over a container so they don't mess up your kit if they leak.

I'd also probably make sure they don't interact with anything else (e.g. cyanoacrylate glue) to do things like make fires or toxic fumes.

I think WD-40 would be fine. It *is* flammable but at least in my experience it's much less so than say, spray paint. No clue about GooGone, but if it's naphtha I suspect that would burn more than you want.

I could swear there used to be a WD-40 pen-sized applicator with a metal tube but I can't seem to find it anywhere. However it does appear there's a WD-40 pen product that looks roughly like a felt-tipped pen filled with WD-40 rather than ink.

Ah, look up "precision oiler" on amazon and you'll find examples of what I was thinking about.

JohnM242 (author)2015-09-20

Great post. If you want to add a soldering iron, mini glue gun, larger cable ties and other such unwieldy items, you can always pack all of these items that you have listed and some less than easy to store items into a tool roll like this.

I found that a tool roll allows a bunch of pointy and messy items to be jammed into a laptop bag or similar without being an organizational disaster, but allowing a bit more flexibility than these plastic parts boxes.

anthony.peterson.9275 (author)2015-09-20

You're kind of an awful person for saying that. Don't use autistic people as a disparaging term. You're a terrible person for that, and you need to stop.

Alex 2Q (author)2015-09-20

Excellent Kit, if you find the space you could add:

- Exchange the BIC Lighter with a jet lighter (The additional heat output should make it more versatile)

- a length of soldering wire (to be used with the pliers from your tool & the jet lighter)

- a folded piece of tin foil (use as mixing plate for the colors, work surface etc.)

- safety pins

Cheers Alex

seamster (author)Alex 2Q2015-09-20

Very good suggestions!

I'm definitely due to upgrade to a jet lighter. Great thoughts, thank you!

threeoutside (author)2015-09-20

Great ideas! Is the box actually 12" long? I love making kits, and my son's an avid gamer who does a lot of painting etc. of the game figures...this gives me ideas for a special Christmas present...

seamster (author)threeoutside2015-09-20

The case I used is actually only 6" long. If you're looking at cases, be sure to check out the beading/jewelry supply section as well as the fishing section; both of these places have a good variety of plastic organizing cases.

threeoutside (author)seamster2015-09-20

OK, thanks, 12" would be a mite oversized for my idea. But they doo have smaller ones of all configurations in the hobby stores, I've noticed.

Johann Badenhorst (author)2015-09-20

There one thing missing from this kit. Cable-ties. The rest is briliant

Thanks! I may have to slip a few cable ties in there. Good idea!

The Green Gentleman (author)2015-09-18

Hey Seamster! I like this greatly! I was just given a plastic box that's very similar to yours, and I was wondering what to put in it. Now I know!

Side note on paperclips: they're stiff wire because they're *really* work hardened. Heat 'em til they glow and they become very soft and flexible. Found this out by accident.

About This Instructable




Bio: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is ... More »
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