Step 1: Join the Mailing List/ Have an Idea
It all stars with this, what do you want to present? Whether you are a commercial builder distributing a line of plush reversible hats, or you’re a public representative of a robot builders group, you need to know what the underlying theme is of your potential booth. Don’t be concerned about what others might enjoy, just what hobbies/ interests do you have specifically have that you want to show off?
As described on the official MF application form "Participants can be individuals as well as from groups such as hobbyist clubs, schools and organizations." In my case, for instance, I instantly knew what I wanted to showcase as early as my first Maker Faire audition- PIXAR builds. Even though I don’t work for the company, I’ve been a huge fan of all of their films and have consequently built a ton of DIY related projects based on them in my free time. Thus was born DIY PIXAR.
Step 2: The Call for Makers (Audition)
Nowadays what most people do, especially for out of California exhibitors, is simply fill out the Call For Makers online application form. It usually goes up in the month of February as well, but if you get on their mailing list as soon as January you can get email updates about when it will go online.
Author’s Note: Whether you’re a new exhibitor or you’re a returning one, you must fill this out in order to be considered.
Call For Maker's 2011 Website
Step 3: Maker Faire Participation Agreement Letter
It will also ask you about any specific requests like number of members you have planned to help you and where you would like to be located. You should fill this out as soon as you receive it.
Step 4: Get Prepared, Essential Tools
A few things you definitely want to consider bringing with you to the Faire are:
- Tools (ie sewing kits, screw drivers, whatever your builds/ constructs might need in case of an emergency)
- Table Cloth (decorative and protective to your booth)
- Money (at least $50, for food or purchases)
- Large Water Bottle (definitely a must, if you're going to be at your booth the entire time)
- Poster Board (always a great way to display)
- Glue and Tape (very useful in any situation)
Cooperative Testing: If you're part of a group, you don't have to worry about this but working solo at the Maker Faire is extremely difficult and tiring. It will always be much better if you can get someone to help you manage your stand and enjoy the faire with you.
Step 5: Maker Faire Outreach Programs
These are optional events, but you can get updates about them each year from the MF mailing list. They're very fun, small, and much more relaxing than the actual Faire for the most part. In my personal experience, the sponsors are very nice and are ultimately glad to have anyone participate. Last last year I attended the 2010 Open Make Exhibition at the San Francisco Exploratorium and this year I had a great time participating at the Hillsdale Mall Mini Maker Faire.
Step 6: Maker Faire Set Up
I apologize I don't have that many pictures of this, I'm usually preoccupied with my own area.
Step 7: The Faire!
- Come As Early As Possible (at least by 8:00, seriously)
- Get your booth ready by Opening (10:00)
- Have food prepared (so you don't have to make routine trips to 30 minute long lines)
- Keep your projects behind your desk (or at least away from anyone who might grab or steal anything)
- If Indoors, especially in the Fiesta Hall, take at least a 1 hour break every two hours (the Tesla Coils....great fun but extremely mind inducing)
Oh, and theR2 D2 Builders are always a must.