30 Best Moments in the DIY Movement in 2012

etharooni/CC BY 2.0

Do It Yourself. This has always been part of the human psyche but it has moved from a basic necessity in daily life to an optional tactic for getting something done. With the ease of replacing an object versus repairing it, and the overwhelming variety of items in the marketplace to suit every need and style, the idea of DIYing took a backseat for decades. However, over the last few years we have seen the beginnings of a mindshift, a resurgence in DIY culture that goes well beyond the craftiness of making one's own jewelry or party favors. Indeed, over the last few years and especially in 2012, we have seen a renewed interest in DIY from designing and making objects with the latest technology like 3D printing, to the growth of a repair culture and the popularity of hacking, modifying and fixing your own electronics.

The change has been exciting to watch, and before the year ends we want to take a moment to glance back over the best of the DIY movement from 2012, from articles to projects to events.

L. Marie/CC BY 2.0

All of July Dedicated to Celebrating DIY:


The DIY movement has been important in the electronics sphere, so important that we spent an entire month looking at the impacts of DIY culture in gadgets and the environment.

How DIY Electronics Benefit The Environment
"DIYing both directly and indirectly benefits the planet; not only are resources saved by reusing parts and rebuilding gadgets, but also tasks accomplished with the newly created devices can be of use for everyone from scientists to the average home owner." Explore the benefits from citized science to minimizing use of rare metals.

The DIY Ethic and Modern Technology: Why taking ownership of your electronics is essential
When it comes to fixing, building, hacking and modifying electronic devices and systems to our own advantage, we may have strayed; but a growing community of gadgeteers is helping to bring back not only the notion that we can indeed do our own thing but that we should.

© Jaymi Heimbuch
How The DIY Electronics Trend Is Empowering People, Communities, Businesses
Many DIYers are breaking through those "warranty voided" stickers, digging through boxes of components, coming up with plans and prototypes for imaginative ideas for solving problems, and we're seeing amazing results in empowering individuals, communities and businesses to pursue their concepts.

The DIY Ethic and Creating Technology Independence
The DIY trend equates to independence from manufacturers, equates to freedom of creativity, equates to environmental responsibility on a larger scale. Learning to build, repair, upgrade and modify gadgets is at the foundation of this independence.

Why Gadget Repairability Is So Damn Important
If you can't open it, you don't own it; and what's worse is that if you can't or won't open it, then you're not fully grasping the actual impact of and potential for that device. What is more, your creativity and inventiveness is tossed aside and you are told what you will want, when you will want it.

© Urban Prototyping Festival

DIY in All Areas of Life


Best stories showing the integration of the DIY ethic into cities, science labs, the art world, environmental science, and more.

Label It Yourself: GMO Labeling Goes DIY
If companies won't label it, you can yourself!

© Urban Prototyping Festival
Beyond Parklets: A DIY City for the Digital Age
Getting residents to engage in their city through technology.

How DIY Tech Is Making Science Cheaper
Labs that can 3D print their own tools and supplies

The DIY Art Movement Reshaping Russia's Streets
Changing how we think about the streets of our cities.

Brian Merchant/CC BY 2.0
High Tech DIY Sensors Could Help Keep Billions of Gallons of Raw Sewage Out of NYC Harbor
A new approach for using the DIY approach for technology that affects our daily lives.

© ooda55

Favorite Stories in DIY from the Year

Coolest Kid story of the year was definitely that of Caine who made his own working arcade out of cardboard boxes:
Nine-Year-Old Creates Entire Arcade From Cardboard Boxes and Tape
9-Year-Old's Cardboard Arcade Gets A Movie Sequel

Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo/Video screen capture

Most inspiring DIY endeavor is the guy who went all-open-source for a year:
Filmmaker Aims to Use Only Open Source Objects for a Year : TreeHugger

The coolest summer camp I've ever heard of goes to:
Spend the Summer at Maker Camp, Learning to Build, Hack, and DIY

And one of the craziest DIY builds I saw all year was Gon KiRin, a Fire-Breathing Dragon Made from Recycled Scraps:
© Jaymi Heimbuch

Top DIY Projects from the Year

While there are too many great DIY projects covered on TreeHugger to list, here are my favorites (and to view them all, click to our DIY tagpage):

In the woods: Build an Ultra-Efficient DIY Wood Stove for Backpacking

© Aaron Tanner
In the garden: How to Build a Solar-Powered Lawn Mower

In the bike lane: The $9 Cardboard DIY Bike (Video)

Jenna deBoisblanc/Video screen capture
On the bike: DIY Arduino-Powered Bike Lights, Turn Signals, and Odometer and DIY Wearable Turn Signals for Cyclists Turn On When You Lift Your Arm

In the home: Programmer Creates Mad Max-Style DIY Solar, Off-Grid Home

In the car: DIY Prototype Proves Cheap Solar Air Conditioning Is Possible

In the driveway: DIY Open Source Solar Concentrator Tutorials Now Available

jtmcdole / YouTube/Video screen capture
In politics: A DIY Gun Rack Proves Newt Gingrich Knows Nothing About Environmentalism

In your pocket: Build-Your-Own Cell Phone Kit Created by MIT Media Lab

And the most popular: Build a Tesla Coil in 9 Steps

You can also check out the most loved Instructables: 14 Most Wildly Popular Gadget Instructables

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Best DIY Resources We Covered This Year:


DIY Hardware Superstore Tindie is an Etsy for Gadget Geeks
10 Coolest DIY Technology Resources from Tools to Tutorials
PopFab 3D Printer Fits in a Briefcase
Don't forget our Maker Faire tagpage where all our stories from each year visiting the worldwide event can be found, including Maker Faire Bay Area in May 2012.
For your shopping reference: Green Gift Guide: The DIY'er

And finally, for a summary of our July DIY coverage, visit: Take Back Your Gadgets! 6 Reasons To Love DIY
"From questions about repairability and empowerment, to diving head first into projects, we wanted to zero in on the importance of DIY in electronics and what it means for people, business, community and the environment. Here's your chance to catch up on everything we covered."

Tags: Technology | year in review

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