As we are approaching the 2023 Des Moines Mini Maker Faire, we wanted to learn more about Lee Adams and her passion for making as well as her interest in Dungeons and Dragons. We are excited for her to provide our participants with opportunities to explore the world of D&D and even participate in a mini campaign known as a One Shot.


Us: How would you define/ describe “making”?

Lee: I would say that “making” is the intentional act of creating something tangible. I think that making happens after inspiration and ideation, when someone has an idea that they can’t get out of their heads and has a plan to bring it to life. It’s the most active and hands-on part of the creative process.


Us: What were / are your areas of study?

Lee: I attended The University of Iowa and studied Studio Art, Psychology, and Writing because I was interested in so many things and couldn’t make up my mind. I’m glad that I learned and continue to learn about a variety of things– it helps you see the connections between everything. Those connections are what get me really excited!

Us: What got you interested in these fields?

Lee: I have always been a creative and a daydreamer, making up worlds and stories in my head when I didn’t have anything else to do (and sometimes when I did have other things to do– oops!) As a kid growing up with undiagnosed ADHD, I was forced to improvise when I missed something or wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. Strangely, I think that this actually increased my creative confidence and helped me utilize ingenuity as a secret weapon of sorts. I really relied on it academically, so it was only natural to go into something like art or writing. I think that my interest in psychology stemmed from my love of writing; I was constantly making characters and figuring out their motives, and I enjoy learning about how people’s brains work.


Us: What is your connection to The Science Center of Iowa?

Lee: I am a full-time employee and my position title is “Innovation Coordinator” which is exactly as fun as it sounds! I help with both the creation and the facilitation of our outreach events, working mainly with kids and teens to help them see how creativity can be useful in everything.


Us: What are some of your favorite maker activities?

Lee: I love it all. I love photography and painting and poetry and prose and gardening and journaling and cooking and– I think you get the point. My favorite activities are ones that weave together multiple disciplines. I think one of the best examples of this has to be Dungeons and Dragons (or D&D for short.) It may seem like just a silly little game, but it can overlap with almost any hobby or area of interest because, essentially, you are creating your own reality and there are no limitations to how far it can go.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the game, I would describe it as co-creating a story with your friends who can either be a character (player) or the narrator (dungeon master or DM.) The DM’s job is to create a plot– typically fantasy or sci-fi related– that will be engaging and fun for their players. It’s also their job to know the lore and mechanics of the game, which involves a

lot of storytelling and math calculations. They make a setting and a plot that will entice their players to interact with it, and set up fun role-play and combat encounters with non-player characters (NPCs) and monsters to fight or befriend. Players talk as their characters a

nd inhabit the world that the DM has crafted, driving the story forward by rolling dice to see how successful their character is in their actions, sort of like an RPG video game, but in real life. The actions of the players can completely change the outcome of the story, which is why it’s so fun.

You can contribute to this game with nearly any hobby: drawing characters with your artistic skills, creating cosplays using fashion design, making stat blocks for a new monster using math, or even turning your campaign into the next best-selling novel by documenting it in writing. It’s a bottomless pit of fun and creativity and I would recommend it to anyone!

Us: Why do you think “making” is important?

Lee: As I implied above, I have a hard time with linear thinking. I used to see this as a bad thing because it caused me to struggle in areas like math and chemistry which were deemed “more important” than creative pursuits by society when I was growing up. As I got older and acquired more experience, however, I realized that nothing is mutually exclusive and that you can draw connections between anything. Creativity is not only present in every discipline– it’s necessary. When you allow your thoughts to meander about through the scenic route of your brain, you see lots of cool new things and discover solutions that you wouldn’t have found if you had floored it and sped down the highway to the quickest answer. Innovative thinking takes time and effort and intentionality. “Making” is not only a way to tangibly express this style of thought as an exercise for your brain’s creativity muscles, but it’s also a way to help those around you. Whether your creation is something as simple as a D&D oneshot that helps your friends unwind and have fun, or as life-changing as a cure for a terminal disease, everything you make is impactful to someone– even if it’s only yourself.


The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is now accepting exhibitor applications!

This years theme is “Let’s Get Making”.

Whether you’re a first-time tinkerer or an experienced inventor, Maker Faire welcomes a variety of creative projects, including:

  • Crafts
  • Fine Arts
  • Robotics
  • Technology
  • Gaming
  • Fashion design
  • Woodworking
  • 3D printing
  • LEGO construction
  • And more!

Exhibitor applications are due Friday, September 1 for the 2023 Des Moines Mini Maker Faire which is being held Monday, September 4.

This Monday, September 5th, the Science Center of Iowa will be hosting the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire. Celeste Moreno, one of our Makers, will be welcoming creatives of all ages to a Mask Making Workshop, where they’ll have the chance to create a mask they can wear all day at the Maker Faire. There will be no additional cost for this workshop.

If you’d like to take your mask making skill to the next level, you can join our Advanced Mask Making Workshop. This activity, also hosted by Moreno, incorporates the use of LED lights and paper circuits.

“We’ll ‘level up’ and add some LED lights to our costume masks to create interesting visual effects,” said Moreno.

The Maker Faire is a great place for participants to design and manufacture their own inventive Halloween masks.

“Another possible outcome…is that they will make something that they can save and use for their Halloween costumes or develop the confidence to try making their own costume elements at home,” said Moreno about the possible take-aways from this event.

The advanced workshop charges an additional fee of $5 per person, a bargain compared to what you might pay for a Halloween costume this fall!

This activity is open to all ages. If you can easily use tools like scissors and tape, or have someone who can support you in the use of these tools, then you are a perfect fit for this activity. Children should be accompanied by an adult that can help facilitate their experience.

Mask Making Workshop:

Cost: $0

Open: 9:00 – 10:30 am

1:00 – 2:30 pm

Advanced Mask Making Workshop

Cost: $5


11:00 am – 12:00 pm   Register here

3:00 – 4:00 pm Register here

The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is now accepting exhibitor applications!

Whether you’re a first-time tinkerer or an experienced inventor, Maker Faire welcomes a variety of creative projects, including:

  • Crafts
  • Fine Arts
  • Robotics
  • Technology
  • Gaming
  • Fashion design
  • Woodworking
  • 3D printing
  • LEGO construction
  • And more!

Exhibitor applications are due Wednesday, August 31 for the 2022 Des Moines Mini Maker Faire which is being held Monday, September 5.

Do you see yourself as a maker? This year’s Des Moines Mini Maker Faire will feature Skills Stations, mini-workshops to help you develop the skills to design, build and test and on your own! Check out six hands-on Skills Stations to discover your inner maker. Take a few minutes to learn something new, and move on to the next station. All activites are included with admission – and everyone’s invited to participate!

Here are the skills you’ll learn:


Soldering is the process of joining electric parts together by melting “solder,” a metal alloy, around the connection. When solder cools, it makes a strong connection between the parts and circuits. This technique is used in electronics like circuit boards, which are found in everything from smartphones to game consoles. You don’t need a lot to get started with soldering – all it takes is a soldering iron, a spool of solder and a soldering tip.

Plastic Fusing

Make a durable fabric out of plastic bags. Layer, heat and pressurized plastic bags together to create your fabric. This fabric can be used to make wallets, decorations, clothing or anything you can imagine! All you need is an iron, a heat-resistant surface, parchment paper and (most importantly) bags!


Dive into the art of textiles with machine sewing. Button fell off? Sew it! Feeling cold? Sew a quilt! Get started with the basics with our expert Makers. All you need to get started is thread, scissors, a sewing needle and fabric.

Paper Circuits

Create a fully functioning electronic circuit out of paper. Not sure what that looks like? Think of a light up birthday card! Artists use paper circuits to add character and light to their projects – and it isn’t too difficult. All you need to get started is a sturdy piece of paper, copper tape, a light-emitting diode (LED), clear tape and a CR2032 battery!

Toy Take-Apart

This station is all about tinkering with things you already own! Take apart a toy and examine the inner workings. Use handheld tools to tear apart toys like Tickle Me Elmo, and examine the wiring and machinery on the inside. You can try this at home – just grab some old toys and household tools.

Color Mixing

Explore the color spectrum with the Des Moines Art Center. Mix your own colors, and learn about the art and science of color-mixing. You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate on a community art piece by creating your own window cling.

Mark your calendar for Monday, September 3, for the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire! This unique event gives Iowans an opportunity to display what makes them get creative and inspire others to make. Featuring 20+ exhibitors, Human Foosball, games, food trucks and more, the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire will truly be a day of excitement! Get the schedule.

Wondering what Maker Faire is all about?

Experience the magic of Maker Faire in this video recap from the 2016 event, and mark your calendar for Monday, September 4, 2017.

Plus, exhibitor applications are now open for the 2017 Maker Faire:

Whether you’re a crafter, tinkerer, artist or fashion designer (and more), Maker Faire invites you to share your innovative spirit with the community!

The 2017 Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is coming up Monday, September 4, and applications will be available starting Monday, May 15!

Stay tuned for the application link and more details on this family-friendly festival of innovation and creativity at the Science Center of Iowa.


The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is now accepting exhibitor applications for 2016!

Whether you’re a first-time tinkerer or an experienced inventor, Maker Faire welcomes a variety of creative projects, including…

  • Crafts and textiles
  • Robotics
  • Gaming
  • Fashion design
  • Art and sculpture
  • 3-D printing
  • LEGOs
  • And more!

Submit your application for the 2016 Des Moines Mini Maker Faire on Monday, September 5! Applications are due Friday, August 5.

Make innovation a Labor Day tradition at the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire! This family-friendly showcase is part science fair, part county fair, part food-truck festival, part something entirely new.

Join us on Monday, September 7, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm for an inspiring day featuring:

  • Exhibitors from across the state
  • Local food trucks
  • Live music
  • Hands-on workshops for all ages


From bicycle-mounted bottle openers and fashion designs to robots that can throw a ball and mine real Moon dirt, the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire showcases a variety of Iowa innovations. Though our exhibitors’ interests and skills vary dramatically, they’re all committed to developing Iowa’s innovation ecosystem:

  • Area 515: See electric cars, 3-D printed objects and a DIY piano, presented by Des Moines’ non-profit community of Makers, tinkerers, artists and hobbyists.
  • CLenz Designs: Learn about the fashion-design process from sketches to the runway with local designer Cody Ritz. See a variety of patterns, fabrics and finished designs.
  • Cloud9 Robotics: You’ll have the chance to control a robot with Roosevelt High School’s competition robotics team.
  • Code Iowa: This innovative program teaches children how to code through mentorship and hands-on learning.
  • Delta Cartesian Hybrid Printer: This homemade 3-D printer is built from scrap parts using a unique motion system. Learn how to build one yourself for under $50.
  • Des Moines Drone User Group: See DM DUG’s drones zip and zoom through the air in live flight demos, and learn about the important role aerial robotics plays in agriculture, entrepreneurship and recreation.
  • DICE Robotics: Bring LEGO to life with Ankeny High School’s competition robotics team. Discover engineering, programming and teamwork with LEGO Mindstorms robots.
  • DMACC STEM: Learn about the science, technology, engineering and math programs offered at Des Moines Area Community College.
  • Dog Hat Lab: Meet a local artist who creates custom hats for your furry friends. See a cute dog modeling a homemade spacesuit and more.
  • Dream Studios: Experience the galactic side of graffiti. This local artist creates space-inspired pieces using spray paint and other household materials.
  • Electric Dream Machine: Transform almost any car into an eco-friendly ride with Electric Dream Machine.
  • Elevate Iowa and Vermeer: See welders in action from Elevate Iowa and Vermeer, and learn how you can get involved with this growing STEM field.
  • Fontenelle Supply Co.: See handcrafted leather goods and fashions, including wallets, belts and more.
  • FRC Team 4646 ASAP: Meet The Duke, the 2015 robot created by Des Moines high school students. See The Duke stack cans, pool noodles and more.
  • FRC Team Neutrino: Play catch with a robot, thanks to Team Neutrino from Ames. These competition bots can toss a giant ball across SCI’s Founders Hall, and they’ll even throw it right to you. Learn more about First Robotics League and Team Neutrino’s competition bots in three presentations at 9:30 am, 12:00 pm and 2:30 pm.
  • Geodesic Balloon Dome: Help local balloon artist Brian Becicka build a giant geodesic balloon dome throughout the day, and see him assemble a 10-foot-tall balloon bucky ball.
  • Henna Tattoos: It’s the ultimate innovative accessory. Get a custom Henna tattoo from a local artist.
  • Home Automation: Learn how you can switch lights on and off with your iPhone or Android device.
  • Human Foosball: Take the beloved game to the next level with Human Foosball YOU can play! Grab a group of friends, and work together to win the big match. The Des Moines Velociraptors, a local co-ed soccer team, will show off their skills and demonstrate this fast-paced exhibit.
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources: These “stained-glass” displays catch light in an eco-friendly way! Made entirely from recycled bottles, each piece features a vibrant natural scene.
  • Iowa LEGO Users Group: Build iconic Iowa landmarks, and add them to an outline of the state built entirely with LEGOs.
  • ISU FLEx: Experience virtual-reality devices, 3-D printing, circuit bending and more at this interactive station. Rethink your world as you test head-mounted virtual-reality devices, see a 3-D printer in action, experiment with Little-Bits robotics kits and more.
  • ISU Lunabotics: Meet a real-life space rover! This robot was designed to mine Moon dirt, and a majority of its components were machined and manufactured by the ISU Lunabotics team.
  • Kemin: Learn how this biotechnology company isolates useful molecules from plants.
  • Laser Lightsabers: See master replicas of high-powered laser lightsabers from your favorite movies, and learn how they work.
  • Lead Resident Maker Laura Funk: Meet Laura, and see the wide variety of projects she’s made this summer at SCI, including sewable circuits and upcycled devices.
  • LT-1000 Trainer Board: Discover micro-controller programming with this circuit board and companion books developed by Maker Michael Landon. Use Raspberry Pi technology to light up eight LEDs.
  • Make to Innovate: Explore Making through hands-on projects and real-world challenges with Iowa State University’s Aerospace Engineering Department.
  • New World Steam: Meet a metal artist at this innnovative exhibit. Learn how basic welding techniques transform ordinary metal into whimsical sculptures.
  • NubNub: This local startup is reinventing riding with bicycle-mounted gadgets. Pop the top off a cold drink with the Pub-Nub bicycle-mounted bottle opener. Make a quick fix with the Tul-Nub bike-mounted multi-tool.
  • Portrait Studio: Have a custom portrait painted in just a few minutes at this exhibit. Gather your family or friends for a keepsake inspired by the Maker mindset. The artists will provide drawing supplies for participants to join the fun.
  • R2-D2: See a life-size, working replica of the beloved “Star Wars” robot.
  • String Revolution: Make your own string from almost anything. Watch local textile artist Laura Poresky spin everything from plastic bags to grass stems into a DIY cord at this roaming exhibit.
  • Team PrISUm: See a working solar car presented by Iowa State University’s Solar Car Team.
  • That Dragon, Cancer: This immersive video game about one man’s battle with cancer is part tribute and part spectacle of 3-D impressionism.

Food Trucks

Enjoy local fare from five food trucks:

  • Kona Ice
  • Pyro’s Pizza
  • Roadside Tacos
  • Say Cheese

IMAX Booth Tours

Experience the Blank IMAX Dome Theater in a whole new way with a behind-the-scenes tour led by SCI IMAX Projectionists. See the reels of film that bring your favorite movie to life, and get a glimpse of the high-tech systems that keep our state-of-the-art projectors running smoothly.

Live Music

See a variety of local bands, and experience flaming karaoke (literally!) around the SCI grounds:

Fire Karaoke: Visualize sound with this musical and pyrotechnic spectacle. Part science experiment and part one-of-a-kind performance, a singer’s voice is transformed into visible, flaming sound waves with a Rubens’ Tube built by a member of the SCI staff.

  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Dylan Boyle
  • 12:00-1:00 pm: In Rooms
  • 1:00-2:00 pm: Ira Grace and The Bible Belt Prophets


  • DIY Doodle Bots: Build a robot that can draw with a few simple items! Create one-of-a-kind artwork with SCI’s resident makers.
  • LEGOs Go Digital: Join the Iowa LEGO Users Group in designing innovative LEGO structures using app technology. Then, bring your dream design to life as you build your custom piece.
  • Reusapalooza: Transform an old CD into a cute fish decoration with the Iowa DNR and Iowa Waste Exchange. 
  • Transform Your T-Shirt: Turn an old t-shirt into a DIY drawstring bag with staff from the Des Moines Art Center.
  • Center.
  • Zip-Line Flyers: Build a customized zip-line racer, and watch your contraption fly down the high wire.


Working on your latest invention, gadget or gizmo? Show off your creative project at the 2015 Des Moines Mini Maker Faire!

From coders to tinkerers to crafters, this festival of all things innovation unites Makers from across interests and skill levels on Labor Day at the Science Center of Iowa!

More than 30 Makers exhibited their work at the inaugural Des Moines Mini Maker Faire in 2014. Highlights included a full-sized, functional replica of R2-D2, a geodesic balloon dome assembled by participants throughout the day and Oculus Rift technology from the Iowa State University Virtual Reality Program.

Don’t miss this video recap of the first-ever Des Moines Mini Maker Faire:

We need your innovative spirit to make it even bigger in 2015! Join us on Monday, September 7, for the second-annual Des Moines Mini Maker Faire. Whether you’re a first-time tinkerer or an experienced inventor, we welcome a wide variety of projects:

  • 3-D printing
  • Arduino
  • Carpentry
  • Chemistry
  • Crafting
  • DJing
  • Electronics
  • Filmmaking
  • Gaming
  • Glass-blowing
  • LEGO
  • Music
  • Robotics
  • Sculpture
  • Sewing
  • Stop-motion animation
  • Upcycling/DIY
  • Visual Arts
  • Welding

Don’t see your favorite Making activity on this list? Apply to be an exhibitor, and tell us about it!

Application deadline is August 3.