During the holiday season I find time to design my own cards and a few gifts, just because it’s a welcome break from the holiday grind and it really is a reminder of the magic of making. I’m sure a lot of you feel that way, so why not celebrate the artists and makers in your life with a gift that builds on their passion. I’ve gathered some more unusual kits and materials that will tempt everyone, including those that are nervous about drawing stick figures. Get ready to get everyone’s art on (with a little inspiration from ThePublicDomain).
This Dancing Light artwork is created through the magic of light painting. LEDs are wonderful tools for this experimental work and you can get started with our MiniPOV4 Kit. With a little soldering you can make a handheld unit which will have you flinging graphics or messages through the air for the camera. Create love notes, digital tapestries or holiday greetings. Working with a partner makes this gift even more fun.
The beautiful Madonna dello Spedalingo by Rosso Fiorentino is a reminder that musicians are cherubs, even when practicing heavy metal during late hours. Sometimes a full sized guitar just isn’t practical at your co-working space or on Amtrak, but there’s always room for this smart Gakken Mini Electric Guitar Kit. There’s nothing better than building something you can actually jam on and this guitar has a built-in speaker and amp, but you can always connect your big baby with the 1/4 jack. Ridiculously simple supplies needed for this kit—Phillips screwdriver, cellophane tape, pliers, and 2xAA batteries. Good luck getting time to play it as you’ll be fighting off friends.
Circuits are linear and make beautiful art, even on paper. Chibitronics is a cool soft circuit collection of copper tape and sticker style LEDs. You can build circuits on the included handy instruction book, or you can decorate binders and create your own holiday cards that light up. This is the starter kit, but there are also more Chibitronic items in our shop, including additional colored LEDs, sensors and a Holiday Card Kit. Remember I mentioned gifts that are good for people with a fear of stick figures? This is the quick and friendly way to get anyone started in electronics. It’s also a great way for writers to sidetrack their blocks. Go pictorial!
It’s hard to say whether the beautiful cherry trees of Asian art inspired this lamp, but it certainly has modern art appeal. The AKARI Origami LED Lamp from Gakken allows you to choose between a square folded shade or a polygonal shade. It also has RGB LEDs that allow you to color your lamp in creative ways, including fading patterns. This is like the DIY spirit of IKEA mashed with the beauty of design from two Japanese artists. Your bedside table is going to get glowing reviews. You may want to pair this with a kimono.
Agnolo Bronzino’s Cosimo I de’ Medici has a beautiful armor that LARP enthusiasts may find interesting. Some costume makers like layering craft foam and glue, but others are discovering the flexibility of Hand-Moldable Thermoplastic. Just toss the beads into some warm water and you’ll have a wax-like substance for your costume needs. Have fun sculpting metallic looking historical belts, Stormtrooper outfits or home-made LED buttons. This also makes a nice sculpting material for everyday repairs, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
The Mixed Media Artist
This abstract art just shouts blue light, and it just so happens that our EL Wire Starter Pack is the perfect solution for getting that look. With clear thread you can use it to trim your holiday pieces or even add it to you backpack for that Tron look. It comes with a 2.5 meter strand of EL wire, Pocket EL Inverter, and a bit of copper tape, heat shrink tubing and foam tape to finish things off. If blue isn’t your hue, no worries, we’ve got plenty of colors available in these kits. Make crazy hats with team names, put your initial on a jacket or just make your bike safe at night. You are going to love all the uses for this glowy wire.
The Jewelry Artist
This Portrait of a Woman by Rosalba Carriera shows details of jewelry that makes this time period stunning. Nature inspired curves of metal mixed with pearls and ribbons are perfect for this woman, but what about the women of today? Nature is still inspiring adornment and the brother and sister duo at Lumen have designed this Solar Powered Owl Blinky Pendant Kit that hits all the marks. Electronics are beautiful and their pieces of art take advantage of form and function, with the magic of solar power lighting up the LED eyes of this creature. This kit is best for people with previous soldering experience, but you can also volunteer to solder it for someone you love.
The Kinetic Artist
This Pacific Coast outlook reminds me of the beaches where Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures roam. His “new forms of life” are wind powered dinosaurs of PVC, making their own trails in the sand. Gakken designed a small replica of Jansen’s Strandbeest (Dutch for beach beast) as a kit you can assemble yourself. It’s a great lesson in physics and natural power, as well as a remarkable model. Build it with your kids and have fun with a fan on the kitchen table. If you like collecting models, there are two more Jansen designs available in our shop. March those beasts all over the house!
The Fashion Designer
If you are a rainbow lover, you are about to discover the best way to add vibrant colors to your projects using our GEMMA Sensor Starter Pack. GEMMA is our tiny stitchable microcontroller that allows you to program colorful NeoPixels, RGB LEDs that are also stitchable using conductive thread. You can create colorful circuits for wearables, or use solder/wire or conductive ink for other art projects. This kit really allows you to go interactive because it includes a variety of gadgets—sensors like vibration and light, a piezo buzzer and a tactile switch. Everything you need to get started is included, right down to the alligator clips. Get ready for a wild holiday of color!
Thanks for allowing me to get all gushy about art with you. I’ve been raised on hackerspaces and have seen so many amazing projects that combine recycled parts with shiny LEDs and sensors. The introduction of one new material or part can have huge implications, turning something beautiful into something interactive, or transforming a classic piece into new media. So, keep hacking and let the spirit of making take you down the holiday path of sharing, laughing and giving.
We’re excited for the Holiday Season here at Adafruit, and we can’t wait to share that excitement with you! Stay tuned into the blog where you will find new, handpicked gift guides five days a week from November 9th through December 24th, 2015 alongside holiday themed tutorials and builds!
Adafruit offers exciting deals and free items when you shop with us. As of October 13th, 2015 we are currently offering:
- Adafruit Perma-Proto Half-sized Breadboard PCB – Single for order $99 or more
- Adafruit Trinket – Mini Microcontroller – 5V Logic for orders $149 or more
- Adafruit Pro Trinket – 5V 16MHz for order $249 or more
Adafruit Holiday Deadlines 2015
Here are your 2015 shipping deadlines for ordering from Adafruit. Please review our shipping section if you have specific questions on how and where we ship worldwide for this holiday season.
The Adafruit Shipping Department works hard to get your orders out as quickly as we can, but once they’re in the hands of our carriers they’re out of our control.
Carriers have been struggling to keep up with the sharp rise in online orders. UPS, FedEX, and USPS all experienced delivery delays over the last few years.
So all the Adafruit Shippers say: Please be sure you get your gifts early! Order as soon as you can! Once you place your order we’ll ship like the wind!
UPS ground (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 11, 2015 – There is no guarantee that UPS Ground packages will arrive by December 24.
UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 17, 2015 – Arrive by 12/24/2015.
UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 18, 2015 – Arrive by 12/24/2015.
UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 21, 2015 – Arrive by 12/24/2015.
Please note: We do not offer Saturday or Sunday service for UPS or USPS.
Friday, Dec. 25, 2015, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, New Year’s Day, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
United States Postal Service, First Class and Priority (USA orders): Place orders by Friday– December 11, 2014 – Arrive by 12/24/2015 or sooner.
USPS First class mail international (International orders)): Place orders by Friday – November 20, 2015. Can take up to 30 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/25/2015 or sooner, but not a trackable service and cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/2015.
USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 5, 2015. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2014 or sooner.
Gift Certificates are always available at any time.
When in doubt contact us!