4 tips for DIY makers

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4 tips for DIY makers

Christian Jann, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

I started learning stencil printing and hand lettering this year, and became quite enthralled with it. These age old techniques really add something special to postcards, which I usually send to myself, my wife, and my friends while traveling.

Of course, I started considering how I could make the artwork from these postcards open to others.

First, I take a picture of the postcard and upload it to Wikimedia Commons under a free license, usually Creative Commons Share-Alike 4.0 or CC BY-SA 4.0 International. These two licenses allow anyone to use the image of my artwork for both non-commercial and commercial purposes, modify and remix them. And uploading to Wikimedia Commons puts my artwork in a place where many people will see it.

Sometimes, I capture the postcard-making process as well, and upload those images to Wikimedia Commons.

If you're considering making your DIY project open, here are four main considerations:

1. To share or not to share?

Deciding whether to share your craft project or image might be an easy "sure, why not?" but you may be wondering "but, is it useful to others?"

My opinion is that yes, everything you make could be interesting to others, so why not make it open? There is certainly something in every maker activity that is worth sharing publicly. When I was making a stamp that was quite special and personal, and I did not want the whole world to see it because it was personal, but I did capture the stamp carving process for others to see. You might want to ask around friends and other people in any maker community you are part of. Also, try asking yourself what really would matter to other people so that you can share only useful outcomes and tips rather than sharing everything.

2. Choosing a license

I wrote about three tips for sharing your work online. And there are many other resources out there, including Creative Commons and GitHub.

A simple rule of thumb is: Except content that clearly indicates the work is released under a free license, or that the copyright has lapsed and the work is in the Public Domain, you can assume content is not freely/liberally licensed.

3. Where to share

There is almost a platform to share anything these days. Most popular multimedia platforms support Creative Commons-licensed works, like YouTube and Vimeo for video, Flickr for images, Medium for writing, Jamendo for music, and many more. Wikimedia Commons, mentioned above, is a sister project of Wikipedia and the world's largest multimedia repository; it allows original works to be uploaded and shared by Copyright holders and others of works like images (.jpg, .png, .gif), presentations (.pdf), videos (.webm and .ogv), and audio files (.ogg).

Know of more places to share works? Let us know in the comments.

4. Meet birds of feather and exchange ideas

There are tons of global and local events that bring people of all maker interests under a single roof.

An event that I love is Mozilla's Maker Party. I have been to one in my city of Bengaluru, India and can guarantee it is lots of fun!

Events like this help connect you with other makers who live nearby.

Tell us about your experience

I hope these tips have helped. Do you have other tips to share? Leave us a comment.

Somewhere in Mumbai in a moving local train.
Subhashish Panigrahi (@subhapa) is the founder of OpenSpeaks, an award winning project that helps grow open resources to digitally-document marginalized languages. He co-founded O Foundation (OFDN), a nonprofit that works towards addressing issues that lie in the cusp of people, culture, and technology with Openness in its core.

1 Comment

Great article! I'm sharing it with lots of maker friends.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.