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Maker & DIY

T-Shirts: Breathe New Life into a Fashion Staple

Posted by Caroline Fong May 28, 2014 03:00 PM

Back in the 90s, graphic tees were all the rage. From your favorite band to your favorite cartoon, there was a t-shirt for that. We’ve since stepped away from the cheesy t-shirts, but the t-shirt has never really gone out of style. It’s our favorite pair of jeans’ laidback best friend.

Now, a few folks are marrying the retail trend of customization with t-shirts, bringing personality and your sense of style into this time-tested wardrobe piece. I’ve rounded up a few (fun!) ways you can inject some color into your t-shirts.

If you live in Japan and love Uniqlo:


Product Pitch Spotlight: A Boy's Dream to Create Great Products

Posted by Caroline Fong March 7, 2014 05:00 PM

The 2014 Product Pitch is only two weeks away! I can’t wait until the day I’m standing at Fenway Park, watching the eight finalists pitch for the ultimate product launch prize against the backdrop of this iconic baseball park.

In this week’s Product Pitch Spotlight as part of the pre-game coverage on, I am catching up with Max Ash, last year’s Product Pitch winner for community favorite.

So far in this blog series, we’ve heard from innovators who are helping maker businesses; from innovators who are giving us better maker tools; and also from makers themselves. Max is a maker, who happens to be nine years old. He’s learning the ropes to getting a product off the ground with his amazingly supportive family -- brother Sam, mom Jennifer, and dad Ronald.


Product Pitch Spotlight: Storytime Toys Combines the Old and New in Product Design

Posted by Caroline Fong February 28, 2014 05:00 PM

When mechanical engineer and mom Kara Dyer starting looking at dollhouses for her daughter, she felt like Goldilocks as she examined the existing dollhouses on the market -- they were either too expensive and elaborate or cheap and uninteresting. There was no “just right.”

Combining her product design skills and her friend Sara Argue’s artistic talents, Kara founded Storytime Toys, whose line of classic fairy tale toy houses have enjoyed a successful initial production run on Kickstarter and a product launch on The Grommet.

We are excited to invite Storytime Toys as a speaker at the 2014 Product Pitch at Fenway Park. Dollhouse-making sounds classic and quaint, but their Maker story is one of the coming together of traditional skills and new technology in software and hardware for design innovation.


Product Pitch Spotlight: Makes 3D Printing Accessible to the Everyday Joe

Posted by Caroline Fong February 7, 2014 02:30 PM

Did you hear? The Maker Movement has caught the eye of the White House. This week, the White House announced plans to host the first-ever White House Maker Faire, citing inspiration from the millions of citizen-makers driving the next era of American innovation.

And it’s true: making something is no longer reserved for the big league companies. There is a whole movement of folks coming up with brilliant ideas and making things on their own.

At this year's Product Pitch, The Grommet is excited to recognize the Maker community for the inspiration and perspiration that go into making a product. Product innovation is happening right in our neighbor or friend’s garages and basements. Many of these hacks, or creative solutions to everyday problems, come from one-man or woman-run garage operations, and we are helping to bring the best to market.


Beyond Legos, Building with littleBits

Posted by Caroline Fong December 13, 2013 12:30 PM

What is littleBits? littleBits makes an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.

How does it work? These tiny circuit-boards with specific functions work like LEGO™ in that kids or adults can put them together to create all sorts of fun things like robots, night lights, spinning wheels, and more -- no soldering, no wiring, and no programming required!

How do you join in the fun? littleBits is built on a community of sharing templates and plans for the creations. Members upload photos & videos of final products. You can build your own thing that lights, twists, bends, or blinks, and post your own creation template, videos, or photos!

For some of our favorites at The Grommet, here is a roundup of four creations shared in the littleBits community:

1. Light-up Celtics Sign

littlebits celtics sign.JPG

Klan and his son Zach designed the sign in TinkerCAD and 3D printed it. Then they built the light-up stand out of Legos and and littleBits.

Difficulty: Easy
Parts Used: 1 bargraph, 1 dimmer, 1 LED, 1 power, 1 RGB LED, 1 wire
Tools & Materials: Legos, MakerBot


About The Grommet

We launch undiscovered products and help them succeed; we call them Grommets. Grommets aren't just things. Grommets are products with a purpose invented by people with stories. More »
Buy Differently is a sponsored blog powered by The Grommet, and part of Finds, a site you can count on to bring you the best discoveries around Boston and beyond. This blog is not written or edited by or Finds. The author is solely responsible for the content.
Caroline Fong
Caroline hails from a tiny tropical island originally, but calls Boston home. A curious bird, she spent a spring trekking all over Ireland, has been an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet, and worked at Disney World as a merchandising intern. With a love for all things interesting, she found herself at The Grommet, where she gets to eat, sleep, and breathe innovative undiscovered products. Say hello to her on Twitter.