With/for the love of makers: Let’s make a book!

* newsflash * I published the first chapter! * and * the second one too * newsflash *

I was planning to make a book. My second one, on tools. To go with my 50 tools poster. I started the work: did some research and designed my main characters, had some nice conversations with publishers; so far so good.

But it didn’t feel right

Last year I did a book too (together with the very nice and talented writer Dieuwertje Boeren). A lovely book that we are very proud of and kids love. It took us over a year to make it.

A year of isolation and secret work (if you share too much the secret is lost and that’s bad for sales, or so I was told). A year with no feedback or encouragement (or criticism!) from the maker-scene because of the share-policy. And that hurt. That’s not maker, that’s not me.

The idea that I would find myself in this strange isolation for over a year again, not sharing anything, only working and longing desperately for feedback… well, that freaked me out. Sleepless nights, the lot. And in one of those desperate-eyes-wide-open-cannot-sleep-monsters-too-much-to-think-about nights on the couch it hit me. I’ll choose a completely different approach. So here’s the plan.

With and for the love of makers
  1. Maker is all about sharing and learning and growing together.
  2. And my book will have 50 chapters.
  3. And each chapter will be about one tool.

1, 2 and 3 makes 50: I’ll make one chapter at a time, and work together with an expert maker on that particular tool for the chapter. I’ll share it when it’s done. Online, but at a print quality, for free. Everyone can print the chapters into their own book!

The main characters

The book will be hosted by two lovely main characters: Max and Ro. They are a sister (age 10) and brother (age 8) that go on a journey to find out about all 50 tools. They meet modern-day makers, but can also get on the phone to stone-age farmers and ancient hunters. No limits.

 The book

The book (Tool up with Ro&Max or The Big Fat Book of 50 Tools?) will be a book that explains about the beautiful origins of a lot of tools. It will tell about proper tool-use and give ideas for your own maker-activity with the tool. (In the chapter of drills we’ll be showing how to make your own drill!) The chapters will be fun to read, but also fun to use while making. In schools, maker-workplaces or at home in families.

The first two chapters

The chapters will be published like separate little booklets. On an bi-weekly basis maybe. We’ll use the good old fold-an-A3-into-a-booklet-with-no-stitching-or-stapling technique: the chapters will all fit an A3 and fold into a pretty A6.

Chapter one…

will be about the main characters: how did they become the people they are now?

Why are they on a quest to know everything about the 50 most common tools? Why is Max always so nervous about mess? And why is Ro always so super fast forward in his approach? In the coming weeks I’ll be polishing loads of ideas into a proper story and finalise the character design.

Chapter two…

will be about the drill. Just because. (Well, because I just really love drills.)

Chapter three and onwards will be decided upon by the maker-community.  (That’s you!)


I’ll be making the book both in Dutch and English simultaneously.

Join in!

With this approach the book will be a) sourced in the maker community and b) given back to the community at the same time. I love that thought.

So all ace makers: want to join in? I’d love that! Knitting grandfathers, tough welders, robotics inventors,  superb bakers and maker educators: if you like it too, please contact me at @astridpoot and we’ll make a cunning plan. For the love of makers!

And yes, a book

Of course I love a pretty book. And I will continue talking to publishers. But I’ll make the book in full view and share all the time. Like a maker. And hopefully after all that, the actual book will be the fireworks to celebrate it all. (And I need a proper book to give to my mum, so she can be proud.)