Maker lust list: 5 things for 2018

When taking some enforced rest (I had flu last week), then the only thing to cheer you up is your imagination. I tried Netflix, but I’d watched all the good stuff and, in any case, my eyes wouldn’t stay open what with the strict curfew of sickness on my body.  Off to dreams… maker dreams.

Aside from my ambition to own my own home houseboat, execute a successful yoga headstand, and add a dog to the Reid family, most of my dreams are about my projects including some nifty tools I’d love to get my hands on. Read on for my maker lust list for 2018.

Side note: No company has paid me or given me any benefits for writing this…but I wish they would….(Cricut, if you’re reading). All enthusiasm is my own. 

Cricut Maker, smart cutting machine: £380 (Hobbycraft)

Cricut really didn’t do it for me in the past…it all seems a bit, well, Pinterest-y. Ok, I love Pinterest, but do you know what I mean? Twee. Blue tac and bubble gum. Mason jar labels and manicured nails. Gettit? No, maybe not.

Anyway, the Maker changes EVERYTHING. I forgive Cricut their problematic shit design software and ‘mumsy’ marketing, because this thing cuts wood. Yes, WOOD. Read on, my friends.

The Maker has this ‘adaptive’ tool system which basically means the machine is compatible with bunch of different tools, as well as forthcoming tools (obvs, exclusively sold by Cricut…a la Apple design school). This includes a rotary blade for “precision-cutting of fabrics including cotton, fleece, denim and more”, and a knife blade (available end of Feb) “to cut through materials up to 2.4mm thick…. ideal for thicker materials such as balsa wood, matboard and heavy leather”. LEATHER. Woop.

ReMarkable, e-ink tablet: 629

I admit, I’ve only just got into Kindle because a lot of my books tend to be visual and the tiny grey display doesn’t cut it. ReMarkable takes e-ink technology that crucial step further, providing a responsible paper-like sketchbook.

So the marketing spiel goes, the ReMarkable tablet reads, writes and sketches likes paper and even makes a paper sound when scribing with its stylus. What’s more, the handy little thing can automatically share your rambles / doodles directly with your other devices, i.e. saving on your laptop. It looks pretty delish too.

My various maker spaces are littered with my notes and sketches, so while this bad boy is pretty pricey, if I cash in on some money making luck, then this is high on my hit list. My only reservation….if only it did colour. As far as I understand it, in order to make it responsive, like paper, that tech upgrade is a while off.

Black 2.0, most pigmented, mattest, acrylic paint in the world: £11.99

Do you remember the viral video about the blackest black in the word, Vantablack? Resembling the appearance of a blackhole, it is in actual fact an artificial chemical substance made of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays absorbing up to 99.965% of radiation in the visible spectrum. Anyway, impossible to use for arts and crafts unless you’re prepared to work in a lab and fork out a ton of cash.

However, Black 2.0 by artist Stuart Semple is a close compromise. It’s a new highly pigmented acrylic paint with “state of the art mattifyers to reduce light reflection”. The videos are convincing. With just one or two coats, even shiny materials become super black, transforming textured objects into mind boggling shadows. Weirdly, it’s black cherry scented. Less weirdly, it can be applied as usual with a brush or thinned to spray paint.

I’m not sure what I’ll use it for, but I’m certain I want it in my supplies stash. Also, I love that the creator gives directions on using it for body paint.

Form 2 – desktop stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer: €3299

3D printers have had huge appeal to my husband who bought our first, a tiny budget-end spec, more than a year ago, however my interest has been dampened by the choice of materials – plastic-y filaments just don’t do it for me. However, the Form 2 has an impressive array of resins, printing in even more impressive detail. This includes a specialist resin for casting, as well as a ceramic-blend coming soon this year which I am trés excited about. The thing is pretty beautiful as far as 3D printers go too. My lust for the Glowforge laser cutting has now official been replaced…just about.

Liquid crystal and thermochromatic ink – from £12 (SFXC)

‘OK, so this one isn’t actually new. ‘Smart’ inks have been around for a while (anyone remember the 90s…there was a thing and it wasn’t that cool), but I recently rediscovered them after going down a rabbit hole researching new technical fabrics. And, I think they’re worth a second look.  I’m determined to find a way of crowbarring in heat-reactive ink into one of my projects without it looking like a throwback from Saved By The Bell. Specifically, liquid crystal ink changes colour with a beautiful metallic rainbow effect from colourless, to red, to green and finally blue within a range of 5°C.  Rightly or wrongly, I’m feeling inspired….watch this space.

Have I missed anything? If you’re fawning over a maker material or tool for 2018, let me know in the comments. 



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