Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder45 posts

Mark Frauenfelder is an American journalist, blogger, author, illustrator, and maker. He started the independent ‘zine bOING bOING in the 1980s with his wife, Carla Sinclair. The ‘zine became a website in the 1990s and then became the popular Boing Boing blog. Frauenfelder helped develop of cyberpunk culture in the 1980s and 90s, and worked with Billy Idol on the Cyberpunk album. Frauenfelder has published several books, and created the magazines Make: and Craft:

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15 Aug, 2014

Forbes interview


Frauenfelder talks about the populaurity of the maker movement and how he thinks it will create new entrepreneurs, how the crowdfunding movement helps identify which ideas are good early on, as bad ideas won’t get funded, and the coolest projects he has worked on:

Instead of accepting off-the-shelf solutions from institutions and corporations, makers would like to make, modify, and repair  their own tools, clothing, food, toys, furniture, and other physical objects.

11 Jul, 2014

How to make giant bubbles

Frauenfelder and his daughter demonstrate how to make giant bubbles using a cotton T-shirt, dowels, and washers.

Bubbles are fun, but the problem with [regular] bubbles is, they are really small

How to Make Giant Bubbles with Mark Frauenfelder

23 Jun, 2014

DIY projects for dads and kids

Frauenfelder and his daughter Jane talk on the CreativeLive podcast about the bonding opportunities of DIY projects. Jane:

A maker is somebody who wants to try everything and when they do, they make it their own unique style.

DIY Projects for Dads and Kids with Mark Frauenfelder

20 Jun, 2014

Edmonton Public Library talk

Frauenfelder gives a talk titled Making Makers: The new tools and ideas driving the maker movement. He discusses the history of making and how the early 2000’s were the start of a rebirth of making culture. In the last five years, people have created tools and technologies that enable anyone to be a maker, and collaboration with other makers is essential to the experience.

Mark Frauenfelder – EPL 2014 Leader in Residence

Jun 2014

Rule The Web

mark-frauenfelder-rule-the-webFrauenfelder publishes the guide, subtitled How to Do Anything and Everything on the Internet—Better, Faster, Easier, which helps internet users do things like find affordable music online, and create a wiki.

23 May, 2014

Tim Ferriss interview


Frauenfelder interviews Ferriss for Make: at the Bay Area Maker Faire 2014 Center Stage. They discuss Ferriss’s data-centric approach to everything from dancing to learning languages and finding love. Ferriss:

For anything, if you want to take the path less traveled, the shortcut from point A to point B, you have to ask very different questions and sometimes very ridiculous questions

He says he is going to walk around the Maker Faire event for the next couple of hours talking to makers about things they believe that other people think are really crazy, and other unusual questions. He says the framework he uses for learning is something called D.S.S.S. – Deconstruction, Selection, Sequencing, and Stakes, which allows a different approach to learning new things. For instance for somebody learning English, they may find that as small an amount as 1.5% of available vocabulary covers a large percentage of common language interactions, and could therefore safely focus on learning that small vocabulary set first before moving on to other parts of the language. Ferriss:

The material beats the method…People ask what method they should be using to learn Spanish but the question they should be asking is, What material should I focus on?

Timothy Ferriss: Experiments in Lifestyle Design – Timothy Ferriss with Mark Frauenfelder

6 May, 2014

Reasons to become a maker

Frauenfelder gives five reasons to become a maker:

You get to use your hands

You become more observant about the world around you

You get to make things that are unique

You get to have a hand in creating the world around you

The most important thing, I think, about making is that you get a sense of self-reliance

Mark Frauenfelder's 5 Reasons to Become a Maker


Publishes Maker Dad

mark-frauenfelder-maker-dad-cover-3003Frauenfelder publishes the book of 24 father-daughter projects that include Drawbot, which draws abstract patterns by itself, an ice cream sandwich necklace, antigravity jar, retro arcade video game, silk-screened T-shirt, lunchbox guitar, kite video camera, and a project to host a podcast.

The books is focused on teaching girls lifelong skills — like computer programming, musicality, and how to use basic hand tools — as well as how to be creative problem solvers.

10 Nov, 2013

Industrial Revolution Starts at Home

Frauenfelder joins Heck, a console modder and visual prototyper, and Bdeir, the CEO of littleBits which makes electronic micro-gadgets that snap together using magnets to form buildable larger gadgets, to talk for Engadget about how making has become popular in the tech world.

The Industrial Revolution Starts at Home | Engadget Expand 2013

14 Sep, 2013

Art Of Manliness interview


Frauenfelder talks on the podcast about how shucking coconuts in the South Pacific led to his do-it-yourself passion, how making things with your hands helps bring meaning to your life and why more people don’t do it, how mistakes lead to success, and how becoming more ‘handy’ can improve other areas of life.


16 Jun, 2013

Daughter humiliated by TSA

mark-frauenfelder-daughter-outfit-tsaFrauenfelder sends a tweet (now deleted) about alleged humiliation of his 15-year-old daughter, who was traveling on a high school trip without her parents, and blogs about the incident at Boing Boing. He says she was told to ‘cover [her]self’ by the agent at LAX, who was glaring at her and mumbling. He includes a photo of the outfit showing she was apparently wearing black leggings, a red checkered shirt and a low-cut white tank top or T-shirt. Frauenfelder:

It doesn’t matter what she was wearing, though, because it’s none of his business to tell girls what they should or should not wear. His creepy thoughts are his own problem, and he shouldn’t use his position of authority as an excuse to humiliate a girl and blame her for his sick attitude.

19 May, 2013

Ben Krasnow Q-and-A at Maker Faire

Frauenfelder talks about learning to make freeze-dried astronaut icecream, making the world’s most lightweight material, Aerogel or ‘liquid smoke’, at home, and using a Rapiscan-style airport body scanner on a grocery store chicken. Krasnow:

For some reason selling chemicals to individuals, especially in this country, is like, completely off the table

Maker Faire 2013 – Ben Krasnow Q&A discussion with Mark Frauenfelder of MAKE Magazine

30 Apr, 2013

Cool Tools third podcast

On the third edition of Show And Tell Frauenfelder talks with Heater, the senior editor and media director for Engadget, and Ragan, the technical editor for Make:. They talk about products that include a solid titanium Soviet surplus crowbar, vintage Dymo tapewriter, vintage Easydriver ratcheting scewdriver, Cable Stable organizer kit, and Duolingo, a language learning website.

Show and Tell 003

16 Apr, 2013

Cool Tools Show And Tell 002

Frauenfelder talks with Cloutier-Hartsell, the research librarian for Cool Tools and Kevin Kelly, Glenn, a writer and semiotics analyst and editor of, science writer and environmental activist, and former Cool Tools editor-in-chief Oliver Hulland, who also was an activist in China and is attending medical school, on the podcast created via Google+ Hangout. They discuss the Toggl time-tracking web app, Small Demons reference finder to characters and places from books, an aluminum tackle box, Coleman lantern, and other tools.

Cool Tools Show & Tell #002

20 Feb, 2013

Cool Tools podcast

Frauenfelder talks with Kelly, Glenn, and Pusateri for the Show and Tell podcast, and they show off some inventions including the Munchkin Snack Catcher, Krisk Bean Stringer and Slicer, and the Illuminated Multipower LED Binohead Magnifier. Frauenfelder:

This very first podcast…has been 10 years in the making

Cool Tools Show and Tell Podcast 001

24 Oct, 2012

Lifehacker Q&A

Frauenfelder answers questions in a live chat, including how he works, what music he listens to, and what everyday thing he is better than everyone else at:

Cutting my own hair. I’ve done it since 1980 and I have saved countless hours and thousands of dollars. The downside is you end up with ridiculous looking hair like mine.

9 Oct, 2012

Unbored interview


Unbored editor Glenn and Frauenfelder, who wrote the intro for Unbored, talk about the book, and about how independent scenes like skateboarding and zines in the 80s helped launch the modern maker scene. Frauenfelder:

So many times, children’s activity books are filled with things that aren’t very much fun, aren’t challenging, and don’t have things that are fun or useful if you make them

Getting "Unbored" with Josh Glenn and Mark Frauenfelder

20 Jul, 2012

Kevin Mack interview for Mercedes-Benz

Frauenfelder interviews Mack for the automobile company’s online magazine. He talks about Make:, DIY, and ‘zines:

I’ve always loved that punk aesthetic of being able to do things, yourself

About Mack’s art and influence:

A lot of his special effects involve kind of these genetic algorithms, he just plants a seed in a way, an algorithmic seed that just starts creating its own branches and grows.

9 Apr, 2012

Daniel Clowes interview


Frauenfelder interviews Clowes onstage at the 2014 Launch Event at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, about the release of The Art Of The Modern Cartoonist: Daniel Clowes, creating the Eightball comics and the spinoff Ghost World series. Clowes tells Frauenfelder how he became interested in comics when he was young:

We didn’t have a TV set, didn’t have video games…we just had books, and my brother left me this huge stack of comic books [when] he decided he’d go out and meet girls…My mom would say, Go play in your room, go read your comic books. They were [comics] from 1955-65, Marvel comics, DC comics…I remember reading those before I could read

Daniel Clowes Modern Cartoonist w Mark Frauenfelder BoingBoing

20 Mar, 2012
0 interview


Frauenfelder sits down with managing editor Cavanaugh to talk about do-it-yourself superhumanism, ‘unschooling’, and the future of print journalism. Frauenfelder:

You know, I studied mechanical engineering in school and I ended up becoming a journalist. I can name a dozen people right now that I think are amazing people who didn’t go to college.

Mark Frauenfelder on DIY Super-Humanism, Unschooling and the Future of Print Journalism

22 Nov, 2011

Maker Faire selections

Frauenfelder picks the projects he likes the best from the event’s Maker challenge, including a motorized skateboard with treads that allow it to go offroad, a giant Tesla coil that plays melodies on-stage, chariot pulled by a skateboarding robot, a 69-foot fire-breathing dragon built from steel and found objects, and a lifesize robot giraffe.

Mark Frauenfelder Presents Maker Faire

25 Oct, 2011

Made By Hand

mark-frauenfelder-made-by-handFrauenfelder publishes the do-it-yourself guide, subtitled Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World and including projects to whittle spoons, modify an espresso machine, make musical instruments, and raise chickens.

I’m not afraid to tackle things that I haven’t done before. I have already come to terms with the fact that I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. And that’s O.K. I feel I can handle things that happen in my life now, and I don’t have to depend on outsourcing everything to experts to come and save me all the time.

25 Jul, 2011

Sauerkraut recipe

Frauenfelder shows how to make his version of sauerkraut for CHOW’s My Go-To show, and demonstrates a canjo – banjo made from a soup can with an electric buzzer for a pickup.

I found out how easy [sauerkraut] was to make, and also the probiotic value

My Go-To – Mark Frauenfelder's Go-To Sauerkraut

9 Jun, 2011

TEDxKids@Brussels talk

Frauenfelder talks onstage about how Make:‘s readership includes many families, rather than being only a male audience, and how readership of around 160,000 ‘broad-spectrum enthusiasts’ compares with pop-science and DIY magazines in the 1950s that had circulations of five million, how the maker movement has the potential to become much bigger and how Maker Faire is a ‘science fair on steroids’. For makers:

The variety of tools and services that are available to them are just exploding now

TEDxKids@Brussels – Mark Frauenfelder – Makers

10 Feb, 2011

Authors@Google interview


Frauenfelder talks about Made By Hand and how he became interested in urban homesteading, how making wooden eating utensils provides a bigger return on investment than projects like making a cool robot, and the different kinds of projects that can be done such as raising bees and chickens.

I set out with a couple of goals — to improve my family’s home life by taking an active role in the things that feed, clothe, educate, maintain, and entertain us, and to gain a deeper connection and sense of engagement with the things and systems that keep us alive and happy.

Authors@Google: Mark Frauenfelder

18 Jun, 2010

TIME interview


Frauenfelder talks about the do-it-yourself movement, and how people need to take time out from busy everyday routines to concentrate on simple things:

It’s really hard to do, you have to steal it [time] here and there from your life. I try to set aside a little bit of time each day to do something that allows me to slow down and just concentrate fully on a task. And it’s really a good thing to do, because when I’m sitting in front of my computer I’m multitasking — I have 17 windows open and website tabs and e-mails and blog posts, and it’s all going on at once, just a swirl. And if I take a break and go outside and put on my bee suit and check out my bees, it’s such a great experience. I’m not thinking about anything else except those bees. I’m really present in the moment.

13 Aug, 2008

Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea tour

Frauenfelder visits Intelligentsia for a tour with Glanville, the 2008 U.S. Barista Champion who is also espresso research and development director at the company. Glanville explains why the company focuses on importing beans from East Africa and Latin America:

As a relatively small company we feel like we need to focus on places where potential is high, and it won’t take a lot to realize it.

A Morning at Intelligentsia Part 1 (BBtv)

17 Jun, 2008

SigGraph Maker Night

Mahalo’s Lon Harris meets Univac, a maker who has hacked a Teletubbie to display graphics on a screen when he touches it, Brett Doar, who made the Bronco table, a piece of ‘feral furniture’ that bucks when people try to place things on it in order to make life difficult, and interviews Frauenfelder about becoming involved in the maker community. He talks about how makers have learned to make hard-to-source parts for old cars by casting them from aluminum from melted beer cans, and how the internet has sped up the evolution of the community. Frauenfelder:

Do-it-yourself communities, special interest communities, people who are into doing something…These communities of interest really propel each other and evolve, and are making things so much faster since the internet

Maker Night feat. Mark Frauenfelder

2 Dec, 2007

LA Times feature

Sinclair and Frauenfelder are profiled for the newspaper, focusing on how Craft and Make magazines were launched after their time in Rarotonga, where they created dolls, clothes, and household requirements from coconuts, twigs, shells, and items borrowed from their neighbours. They had no cellphone, no television and a dial-up Internet connection that cost $6 an hour, and people helped Frauenfelder diagnose a sore on his leg over the internet, as there was no dermatologist on the island.

May 2007

The Computer

mark-frauenfelder-the-computerFrauenfelder publishes the guide to the history of computers, from codebreaking in World War 2, the battle between Apple and IBM in the 1980s, to use of computers in film and TV such as in 1950’s The Forbidden Planet, up to the current-day era of wearables.


The World’s Worst

mark-frauenfelder-worlds-worstFrauenfelder publishes the book, which is intended as a catalogue of the worst people, places, and things. It includes entries on Miracle Mike The Headless Chicken, the world’s least adorable pet who survived for 18 months after being decapitated and was fed corn mash down his severed neck to keep him alive, the worst diet, Breatharianism, in which an Australian woman claims to have lived only on air and light since 1993, and the craziest scientist, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA, who ran the MK-Ultra mind-control-experiment project and drugged people including the artist Stanley Gottlieb with acid, to see how they would react.

Jan 2005

Make magazine

mark-frauenfelder-starts-make-magazineFrauenfelder launches the magazine after returning from Rarotonga, where he and his family developed maker skills by creating clothes, dolls, and food out of coconuts, twigs, shells, and items their neighbours lent them. He talks about the most common type of reader:

They are curious about how the world around them works, and they want to have a say beyond just the purchasing decision in the technology they use. They like to alter technology to make it highly personal. And once they figured out how to do something neat, they can’t wait to share the idea with other people.

21 Jun, 2003

Move to Rarotonga

Sinclair and Frauenfelder move with their children to the small South Pacific island in the Cook Islands chain, planning to stay there for a year:

Memories of L.A.’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, acrylic nails, DSL, and prepackaged diversions for kids are beginning to lose their edge…It only took about five minutes to wipe out any preconceived fantasies we had about island life. The shuttle that picked us up drove past a long stretch of petrol tanks, refineries and warehouses. We didn’t remember any of this from our first visit. Of course, they’ve always been here, but our idealized notion of Rarotonga had replaced our actual memories. Now that we’d come back, in a van that reeked of diesel exhaust, passing little houses on the side of the road with missing windows, rotting roofs, and torn curtains in lieu of doors, the previous six months of romanticizing flew from our heads, to be replaced by dread: What the fuck had we gotten ourselves into?

Oct 2002

The Mad Professor

mark-frauenfelder-mad-professorFrauenfelder publishes the collection of science experiments for kids, which has wipeable pages and includes recipes for a countertop volcano, making slimes and putties, growing crystal gardens, creating Robot Food, Goon Goo, and Top-Secret Ink.

1 Nov, 1995

Happy Mutant Handbook

mark-frauenfelder-happy-mutantSinclair and Frauenfelder publish the book, co-edited with Gareth Branwyn, featuring a scale that allows readers to rate themselves as a Happy Mutant, normal person, or Unhappy Mutant, and entries on ‘Invasion of the Paper Smiles,’ Joey Skaggs, ‘Cacophony Society,’ Toys and Cool Tools, and ‘Are Fan Club Presidents Nuts?’

0 launched

Frauenfelder launches the website as its editor-in-chief. His responsibilities:

[..] managing a team of editors, designers, and producers to develop Wired’s online presence



mark-frauenfelder-cyberpunkFrauenfelder provides artwork for the Billy Idol album, and consults with Idol on cyberpunk culture, along with Brett Leonard, director of The Lawnmower Man, Timothy Leary, Jaime Levy, the author of books published on disk under the Electronic Hollywood imprint, and Mondo 2000 co-founder R.U. Sirius. They turn him onto The Well, an early online community, and teach him various other aspects of cyber culture in the early 1990s. Frauenfelder also writes a biography for the album.


bOING bOING zine

Frauenfelder and Sinclair start the zine as a creative outlet for Frauenfelder, who is bored with his job as an engineer.

Keep it small and you’ll have more fun. Newsstand distribution is a drag. The freight is expensive, the sell-through rates are low, it is a chore doing the accounting, and distributors are famous for going out of business before they pay you. You’ll probably lose money if you try it. Also, don’t start a music zine. There are already ten thousand music zines out there. Nobody cares what you think about music anyway.

31 Dec, 1984

Graduates college

Frauenfelder graduates from Colorado State.

I actually started out as an engineer. I went to college and got a degree in mechanical engineering.

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