Tinkertopia - Destination for Creative Reuse + Alternative Art Supplies

HEY KIDS, Meet Rerun the Tinker Crab!

N 47° 14' 40.4016" W 122° 26' 12.2238"

Alt. Art Supply + Creative Reuse Center 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1914 Pacific Ave. Tacoma Washington 98402 Magnets, how do they work? Half pencil capitol of the world Take and Make Junk Drawer Starter Mix Kit

A destination for teachers, students, artists, crafters, inventors, makers, hackers, and tinkerers (of any age) in search of unusual materials for any creative venture.


  • DIY Game Prototypes games
  • DIY Rube Goldberg Machines machines
  • DIY Science Experiments science experiments
  • DIY Puppet Theater puppets
  • DIY Inventions Sonic Bubble Gun?  Flux Capacitor?
  • DIY Costumes Cosumes, Cosplayer
  • DIY Spy Gear Secret Spy Gear
  • DIY Interior Design Interior Decorating
  • DIY Dioramas Dioramas
  • DIY Action Figures Action Figure Toys

How Our Creative Reuse Center Works

"TAKE and MAKE" Retail: Bulk Bag + Individually Priced

We collect surprising materials offering them for creative reuse as discount ALTERNATIVE arts and craft supplies! While Rare/Ancient items are individually priced, most materials are sorted and sold in... BULK BY BAG SIZE (plus sales tax)! Choose from 3 different bag girths:

  • HUMONGOUS $19.95

  • Large $9.95

  • Small $6.95

We also stock surplus art supplies for emergencies including: pencils, pens, erasers, ink, paint, paper, sidewalk chalk, charcoal, locally made sketchbooks and MS. DARCY'S WORLD FAMOUS™ knitted cupcakes.
* At this time we sell neither popcorn nor potbelly stoves.

For Tinker Craft Parties, Tinker Workshops & Open Tinker Art Studio
Usage Cost Launch Window Buy Time
Private Party Birthday
Over 5 people Group Rate
$150.00 (plus tax) Sat. 12:30-2:30 and 3:30-5:30
Sun. 12:30-2:30 and 3:30-5:30
2 hours
Individual Drop-In Tinker Time! $7.00 (plus tax) Session One 10am;
Session Two 12pm;
Session Three 2pm;
Session Four 4pm
Weekdays Depending on Availability
(check availability below | double-check availability)
90 min

People's Tinkertopia Activity Calendar

No individual drop-in Tinker Times available when private Tinker Party is in progress; To prevent unhappy Tinker Cadet visits, please check weekend TinkerSpace availability (like give us a call if any doubt)! "But we drove a long way" is not a carbon-neutral rebuttal for not checking the calendar ;-p

Upcoming Public Tinker Workshops:

Individual "Tinker Time" Drop-In
Tinker times are a creative process experimental building time where you can explore hands on "low tech" construction with scrap materials and basic tools. It's an hour and a half familiarizing yourself with all the "stuff" to activate your imagination. The workshop is designed for 5 y and up. This tinker time is only available when there is not a private event or other scheduled activity in the tinker space. Check the calendar for best times labeled as "tinkerspace open," "rainy day tinkering" or "open tinker"
Time Slots Available: Session: Cost: Ages:
Session One 10am;
Session Two 12pm;
Session Three 2pm;
Session Four 4pm
Weekdays Depending on Availability
(Check Availability | Double-Check Availability)
90 min $7.00 (plus tax) 5 and up
Tinkertots is a workshop designed for younger tinkerers who are just on the verge of thinking three dimensionally. The workshops are shorter in length than a normal tinker-session, lasting about an hour for shorter attention spans. Three age-appropriate hands-on activities will be presented for a guided experience and expose little hands to basic construction, texture combinations and fine motor skill practice.
Tuesdays and Fridays 10:30-11:30. 60 min $5.00/Tinkerer. Preschool (3-5)
SUMMER Tinker Camp: July 25th-29th & August 1st-5th
Join Tinkertopia's Creative Reuse Team during a week long adventure of building super contraptions, fantastical moving automata sculptures, and mystery bag design challenges. Kids use a variety of upcycled materials and learn basic engineering techniques as they explore creative process and the world of found art assemblage. ***CAMP Registration online HERE***
9:00am- 12:00pm 3 hrs $100.00/Tinkerer. 6-10
(Children are encouraged to bring a light snack)
Time:SUMMER TINKER CAMP Daily Schedule:
9:00 Drop off/welcome ice-breaker games
9:15-9:45 Morning warm up activity inspired by Keri Smith's, Pocket Scavenger. Kids will explore Tinkertopia (shop doesn't open to public until 10:00) to hunt for project specific treasures and then construct based on a given "challenge."
10:00 Outcomes from morning project. Introduction to engineering skill of the day and skill build. Begin main focus project (changes daily to fit interest and needs of the group, but will include a STEAM style activation of problem solving skills and cooperative challenges.)
10:30 Quick break for snack and hydration (bring a water bottle with name) During this break we will have the opportunity to take a walk for fresh air up through the UWT campus to the green space for some large motor work. We may even take some of our contraptions to try out.
10:50 Problem solving issues. Kids will present their progress and get feedback from others on how to finish.
11:40 Wrap up, clean up and share projects.
12:00 Pick up/Sign out

Schedule A Private Tinker Craft/Birthday Party:

Time Slots Available: Cost: Session: Ages:
Sat. 12:30-2:30 and 3:30-5:30
Sun. 12:30-2:30 and 3:30-5:30
$150.00 (plus tax)
Over 5 people Group Rate
2 hours 5 and up

What great way to celebrate the curious child who loves to create, explore unique materials and generally gets lost in the process of imaginative inspiration. Tinkertopia offers a safe environment for up to ten (10) “Junior Tinker-Cadets” to experience a hands on explosion of creative construction in our one of a kind "TINKERSPACE." Cadets are introduced to the workshop and the materials by one of our knowledgeable Creative Reuse Specialists (viz Shop Owner Ms. Darcy). If you are interested in an educational aspect, specialists can introduce the Cadets to the very green aspect of recycled materials and their role as reuse artists. Children are able to create, tinker and construct a multitude of amazing things using the repurposed materials provided in the Tinker-space. Before leaving each child is given a complimentary party-size tinker-bag to fill with their choice of creative bin materials to continue their creative explorations at home.
Contact Ms. Darcy | (253) 778-6539 | Looking for Tinker Party Invitations? DIY Tinker Party Invitations pdf!

Class Field Trips FAQ:

Does Tinkertopia host field trips?
Yes! We love groups visiting the Tinkerspace. Whether you are a troop of Girl or Boy scouts, youth group, home school association, day care, summer camp, school group incorporating S.T.E.A.M. skill building opportunities or just a group of happy tinkerers we love you all!
How many can we accommodate?
Maybe you only have 6 or perhaps a whole grade level of 80 school agers, we can make it work. Space wise, our workshop can only handle about 15 to 20 kids at one time, but we have learned how to rotate multiple groups through and to be flexible with timing. For very large groups, we suggest splitting building times with local activities such as touring the museum district (TAM, MOG, Washington State History Museum, Children’s Museum) or waterfront, into 90 minute sessions and then switch.
What is the age range?
All ages love to come and tinker, but our workshops work best for 5 and up.
How long is a workshop?
Typically, with introduction, material gathering, building and clean up, a session lasts between 90 minutes to 2 hours.
What is the cost?
$10.00 per tinkerer (adult helpers are free). This fee reserves the space, includes all materials, use of low-tech tools, and instruction by experienced Creative Reuse Specialist. Kids build and take what they make!
Are there programming/themes available?
We've got something for everyone, but our most popular theme of “OPEN TINKERING/CREATIVE PROCESS” fits nicely with eco-education and STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art, and Math) curriculum. However, we have a variety of specialized themes to choose from- bookmaking, puppet building, Rube Goldberg Machines, Wearable Art/Costumes/Masks, fairy houses, or special interest.
Where do we unload and load?
Buses have been known to pull up at the front of the shop, unload students and repark. There is a fire zone directly in front of the shop and we can help gather the kids inside quickly. Some groups have been known to park at the Tacoma Dome Park and Ride and then take the tram down to Union Station (our stop). THE KIDS LOVE THIS!!! NOTE: we do not provide bags or boxes to transport tinker creations home.
Space for eating lunch?
Tinkertopia is located alongside the University of Washington Tacoma campus. Many groups have enjoyed lunch sitting on the grand staircase there or have scouted out tables along the Prairie Line Trail.
Scholarships available?
Please ask us about reduced rate tinkering for large groups over 30. We have a limited amount of scholarships available.
How do we book?
Check out our online events calendar to see available workshop days and then contact Darcy, Educational Coordinator at darcy@tinkertopia.com

Flower Pots From a Famous Video Game Robot Head Space Armadillo Hedgehog Diner Set Love Bug Spycraft Party Diner Set Mask Makers husky squid occupy tacoma in a box doll house ball launcher space armadillo tinker crab see also: Tinkerspace Photostream!

IN SEARCH OF: Local Alternative Arts & Craft Supplies

TINKER PATROL CALL TO ACTION: Don't let these materials go to waste! Give 'em a home at Tinkertopia [pdf]...

  • Animals
  • Antlers
  • Axles
  • Bags
  • Baskets
  • Beads
  • Beakers
  • Beanbags
  • Bearings
  • Bells
  • Bendies
  • Biscuits
  • Blinkers
  • Blocks
  • Bobbins
  • Bowling Pins
  • Brackets
  • Bricks
  • Brushes
  • Bugs
  • Burlap Sacks
  • Buttons
  • Buzzers
  • Caps
  • Cards
  • Cars
  • Cast Offs
  • Chains
  • Chimes
  • Clamps
  • Clappers
  • Clips
  • Clocks
  • Corks
  • Crystals
  • Cubes
  • Dice
  • Dinosaurs
  • Doodads
  • Dowels
  • Erasers
  • Fabric
  • Fat Quarters
  • Feathers
  • Flaps
  • Flowers
  • Fossils
  • Funnels
  • Game Pieces
  • Gears
  • Googly Eyes
  • Holes
  • Hooks
  • Hoops
  • Horns
  • Hoses
  • How To Books
  • Keys
  • Knobs
  • Lenses
  • Letters
  • Lights
  • Logs
  • Magnets
  • Magnifiers
  • Mailboxes
  • Maps
  • Marbles
  • Medals
  • Mirrors
  • Models
  • Motors
  • Nicknacks
  • Nozzles
  • Numbers
  • Paints
  • Paper
  • Pellets
  • Pencils
  • Pianos
  • Photos
  • Pins
  • Pinwheels
  • Pipettes
  • Plugs
  • Poppers
  • Propellers
  • Punches
  • Puzzles
  • Pyramids
  • Rainbows
  • Reams
  • Reflectors
  • Ribbons
  • Ringers
  • Rings
  • Rolls
  • Rubber Bulbs
  • Samples
  • Scraps
  • Sewing Machines
  • Shapes
  • Shells
  • Spools
  • Spoons
  • Sprockets
  • Squirters
  • Stickers
  • Stones
  • Stoppers
  • Strings
  • Stuffing
  • Suction Cups
  • Swatches
  • Tacks
  • Tape
  • Test Tubes
  • Threads
  • Tidbits
  • Tiles
  • Tins
  • Tool Boxes
  • Tools
  • Tops
  • Trains
  • Traps
  • Trinkets
  • Trophies
  • Tubes
  • Washers
  • Weights
  • Wheels
  • Whistles
  • Windups
  • Wires
  • X-rays
  • Yarns
  • Zippers