#BackToSchool Accessories & Gear for Gearing Up to Go Back to School!

It’s nearly time to go back to school! Whether it’s in your backpack or on your maker-bench, below are my top choices for #BackToSchool accessories – and yes, I consider a book an accessory. (Technically I consider books a necessity!) Leave a comment below if you know an accessory you highly recommend!

The Art of Electronics 3rd Edition (HARDCOVER)

More than 25 years in the waiting since the 2nd edition, this 3rd edition of The Art of Electronics was worth the wait — at 1,220 pages it is a beast of a hardcover book that you could likely spend the next 25 years referencing for insight in all thing electronics.

We absolutely love The Art of Electronics by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill. So much so, our Ladyada (Limor Fried, founder and engineer of Adafruit) scored a review copy and even gives her commendation on the back cover! Here’s what she had to say:

“Who among us has not kept a cherished copy of AoE on our workbench throughout our careers? Engineers, hackers and makers of all stripes, rejoice for the third edition … has been worth the wait! Packed with tons of delicious knowledge to navigate electronics in both work and hobby. An encyclopedia of electronics knowledge, [The Art of Electronics] is a pleasure to read through for tips and tricks and is a unbeatable resource! Take a day out to read a chapter – you will learn things you didn’t even know you didn’t know. Or, refer to the pinouts, diagrams, and techniques as necessary to guide you through a difficult project. If you think electrical engineering is magical then you must pick up this tome!”

Limor ‘Ladyada’ Fried, Adafruit Industries

AdaBot LunchBox

What’s a #BackToSchool adventure without a back-to-school lunchbox?! Suitable for bananas and breadboards alike, this is the empty, standalone version of the same lunchbox packed with Circuit Playground goodies from our CPX Advanced Pack. The image of AdaBot is slightly embossed making for a nice tactile feel, and the sides of the ‘box are also decorated making it pleasant to look at no matter which orientation it is stowed away in your kitchen or makerspace! 🙂

Check out the lunchbox specs here!

Circuit board necktie “Resistor”

Whether you’re a fan of the Kelvin, Murrell, or classic Half Windsor, make the tie you tie a circuit board necktie!

Resistor. Super detailed resistors and capacitors oh my! How can you resist? Impress any nerdy guy or girl: computer scientist, programmer, electrician, engineer or maker. Is dad, grandpa, boyfriend or husband a tinkerer with solder and blinky things? Perfect for groomsmen and brides boys of the geeky persuasion. Nerd power!

Circuit board necktie “Resistor” – Black with silver ink, narrow. 100% Polyester microfiber necktie.

Lock-sport Earrings

Fashionable and functional, each of these earring sets include 1x of the following: small hook pick, small half diamond pick, single ball rake, C-rake, S-rake, and a tension wrench.

An elegant accessory perfect for quick escapes, late nights, and lost keys. These acid etched stainless steel earrings are lightweight and feature a selection of picks, rakes, and a tension bar. Not only are these earrings functional, they also look great. They’re decked out with silver plated rings and ear hooks – a perfect companion for Maker Faires, impressing the folks down at the local hacker/maker space, and impromptu lock-sport competitions.

Plastic Pop Rivets for Cardboard Crafts (100-pack)

A true accessory, these are a great addition to any maker’s tacklebox of loose parts: simple plastic rivets for joining cardboard! Quickly prototype joints or join two sheets of cardboard together with a basic plastic pop rivet. (Also available in a pack of 20 if you’re looking to tinker before buying a bigger pack of parts.)

Enter the world of cardboard construction and build playful robot friends!

Instead of slapping on tape or waiting for your hot glue to warm up, you can use these Plastic Pop Rivets! So easy to install. Just poke them through the cardboard and fasten with the back piece. This will ensure clean, movable joints and attachments. You can even remove them with some effort (but they’ll hold as long as you don’t pry them apart)

Black Miniature Metal Webcam Cover

These extremely low-profile webcam covers fit over your laptop’s webcam and still allow the lid to close – they’re made of metal and yet are only 0.8mm thick for discreet protection 😉

Let’s just say, hypothetically, that someone wanted to take over your webcam and observe your every move. And let’s just say you didn’t want them to – because, hypothetically, you were building an open-source white hat firewall, or an CircuitPython chaos inciter, or you can only do one pull-up and just ate a whole bag of Bugles. Then maybe spending a couple bucks on a webcam blocking sticker wouldn’t seem so ridiculous.

Super Scissors – PH-57

IMHO good scissors are an under-appreciated tool or accessory in any maker’s toolkit. Yes, you need a good knife or blade, but a good pair of good scissors will make good (and fast) work of whatever task is at hand.

38 Piece Screwdriver Set

This screwdriver set is great for having a good range of all the basic bits – flat & phillips – for your projects, while also providing a range of other bits including hex & torx, and also pentalobe, tri-wing, triangle, and more. The neck detaches to stow away to take up minimal space and the handle is really comfortable to grip — in all nerd-honesty the sound of the lid snapping open or shut is also really rewarding!

Motion Control Screwdriver

Of course if the ol’ analog human-hand-powered motor control is too bothersome for your needs you can pick up one of these motion control screwdrivers — all you do is flick your wrist one direction or the other and the driver intuitively knows which way to drive the motor. Brilliant!

Unlike most screwdrivers where you have to twist your wrist like a uncultured barbarian, this screwdriver has an IMU (inertial measurement unit) that can detect when you twist the tool left or right. Hold down the power button, and with the flick of your wrist, the screwdriver will automatically rotate in the direction you twisted! It’s completely amazing, and we use ours every day now.

NumWorks Graphing Calculator

A good calculator is another under-appreciated #BackToSchool tool, but an open-source calculator? There is only one, this NumWorks graphing calculator! (You can even try out the calculator’s simulator before you buy!)


EL Wire, tapes, and panels are a great way to make your project light up – whether you’re making a Tron Messenger Bag or a Glowing Hoodie. These easy to use wires and panels come in a variety of colors and shapes. Check out ourEL Wire or EL Panel Starter Packs to get a good idea of the variety Adafruit offers or go straight to the EL Wire/Tape/Panel Section of the Learn System if you can’t wait to get started!

OK last but not least, this is a personal opinion on my part: there aren’t enough EL tape or wire projects on backpacks! C’mon people, you carry that thing with you everyday! Make it glow, blink, or strobe! We also have enough color options now to match some school color patterns, if that’s your kind of thing 🙂


August is Back to School Month here at Adafruit! Each week we’ll be bringing you a two #BackToSchool posts on the blog! Stay tuned for product and gift guides, tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System, and inspiration from around the web! Get started by checking out Adafruit’s educational resources, such as our kits and project packs, suggested products for young engineers, blog posts for educators and an extensive selection of books to help you learn!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

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