The Spartanburg County Public Library offers some really cool crafting resources you may not be aware of yet. one of which is the SPARK Space. This unbelievable resource offers tons of classes and machines any crafter out there is going to want to know about! With over 20 specialized crafting machines to use for FREE or super cheap, the SPARK Space is a valuable resource for all crafters and makers.
Have you ever wished you owned one of those cool home die-cutting machines you see used all over Pinterest? Or have you wished you had an embroidery machine, so you could monogram your entire wardrobe? Well, maybe not your entire wardrobe… just most of it.
Well, guess what? All those items and more can be yours to use for the low, low cost of a library card!
What is The SPARK Space?
Teenage and adult patrons of the Spartanburg library system are lucky because they have access to something called the SPARK Space. This unique program gives patrons the opportunity to learn about and use die-cutting machines, embroidery machines, sewing machines, a green screen studio, VHS transfer system, and more! Not to mention several 3D printers that are available to produce small items for only a small fee.
This program also offers arts and crafts classes that only cost a small registration fee or are completely free. A few of the classes offered include canvas painting, tile mosaic art, tie dye, knitting, and floral design, just to name a few. Most of these classes teach the same things that, away from the library a person would pay ten times more to learn, with the added benefit that the library always supplies the needed materials, so all you need to do is show up.
Christina Fuller-Gregory, former Makerspace Librarian at the headquarters library, had this to share with me about the facility – “The Spark Space specializes in both high-tech and low-tech making. We wanted to build a space where both the crafty DIY-er and the techie have equipment and tools that they can use to create. We support making by offering a monthly programs in a variety of interest areas (Photoshop, Illustrator, sewing classes, How-Tuesdays, etc.). While we are an age-restricted space (12 and older) we offer programs for our young makers … These programs have an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) but we use creativity to make learning fun.”
Take The SPARK Space home
If you don’t have the time to craft away from home, but would still like to give a new hobby a test drive, the make-away kits are just for you. These kits include different kinds of crafting sets that can be checked out for weeks at a time and used at home.
The kits include various things like a wood whittling kit, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, rainbow loom & more. Some make-away kits also include cake-baking sets with character pans. This is especially nice because purchasing these pans is usually pricey and most people do not use them more than once. Now you can just borrow one from the library. These kits can also be transferred for loan from your local branch library.
What does The SPARK Space offer?
Because your time may be limited, depending on which crafting equipment you want to use, it’s best to go in knowing what to expect. Any of the appropriate design files you find online at home can be loaded to a flash drive for use with the different machines once you get to the library.
There are 3 Makerbot replicator 3D printers in the maker space. These machines print from a design that you can choose from websites like www.thingverse.com or design your own on www.tinkercad.com. 3D printing fees are currently $1.50 an hour and that covers the plastic filament used. There is currently a limit of 4 hours of print time per item, which limits your project to a small figurine-size item.
Cricut cutting machine
With so many different things that can be made with the help of a die cutter, this is an exciting item that has been made available for the public to use free of charge. Patrons only need to supply their own cutting material.
There is a selection of designs available, but I suggest going in already having a plan, so that you can be sure to have all the vinyl or paper colors you’ll need when you get there. A search on Pinterest for “free SVG files” will turn up an infinite selection of compatible files.
One of my favorite sources of free SVG files can be found here. The library also has a selection of card stock for purchase ranging from .20 – .30 a sheet.
The cost of this type of machine can be cost prohibitive, keeping most people from having access to their own personal one. It is also a great test drive opportunity for someone who might be thinking about investing in one.
The sessions have a limit of 90 minutes, and for that reason, I suggest going in knowing what you want to make. With a design in hand, you can sit down at the machine and leave 90 minutes later with a completed monogram. Several things will determine how long it takes to complete a design, including the number of thread color changes. Keeping it simple for your first design, is preferable.
You’ll need a PES file to use; Boutique Fonts is my favorite source. Free PES files are less common, but some sites like Boutique Fonts post a new downloadable free file every week. Etsy is also a good source for this type file if you are looking for something specific. Aside from a plan, you’ll need to bring the item you wish to embroider on and patience. The session fee is currently $5.00 for 90 minutes.
Sewing classes are frequently available and include all the needed materials. If you want to use the machines on your own, there is no cost and you only need to supply the fabric and pattern. A limited supply of thread colors is available and you can purchase a bobbin for .10 if needed.
For those who have boxes of family home movies on VHS, this is a great way to convert them without spending a fortune. There is no fee, you just need to supply the flash drive or DVD to store the digital version on. If you forget to bring them, both are available for purchase in the SPARK Space. Flash Drive – $10 , DVD – $2
Check out The SPARK Space for yourself
There are so many more things to explore in The Spark Space than we mention here! A full list of the equipment in the SPARK Space can be found online. I hope this inspires you to take advantage of this truly unique resource we have at the Spartanburg libraries. Don’t worry if all of it sounds intimidating, there is a patient, knowledgeable team at the library just waiting to show you all of the crafting fun you’ve been missing.
151 South Church Street, Spartanburg
Monday – Thursday: 10 am- 8 pm
Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 1:30 pm – 6 pm
Have you taken advantage of The Spark Space?
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