You’ve Asked me About the Next Book

I have some big news that I’ve been holding on to for a week or so. Deep breath…I have a new book deal!!

egg painting

The book will be published with Roost Books, the publisher of my first book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors. I’m thrilled to work again with my very favorite editor, Jenn Urban-Brown and of course my amazing agent, Erica Silverman. These two women have been the most patient of friends and the best hand-holders as I built up enough energy to write another book.

Writing that first book was a huge learning experience, and one of the things I came to understand is that it’s no small undertaking. I drafted a proposal for book #2 almost as soon as the last one was released, and then I held off for fear that I’d actually have to write the book! Ha.

In any case, I’m now ready for it. My younger daughter will be in a few more hours of school this fall, which should give me more time to flesh it all out.

I can’t say too much about the book just yet, but I’ll share a few photos from my proposal to give you a sense of where it’s heading.

leaves and paint plate and yarn 2

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Art Workshops in Palo Alto and Portland

I can’t believe that we’re approaching the end of the year! What?! Is it really already December?

Before the year wraps up, I’m planning to participate in two really fun family events, and hope to see some of you there. For both events, I’ll lead a hands-on workshop, and will have signed copies of my book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, available.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or around Portland, Oregon, please stop by and say hello…

Special bonus: if you’re planning to come, drop me a note in this form and I’ll have a little something extra set aside just for you :) What is it? Well, you’ll have to stop by and find out.

Want some details? Here you go…

Palo Alto, CA

Art workshops with Rachelle Doorley of TinkerLab at the Palo Alto Art Center and Portland Art Museum

Sunday, December 7, 2-4 p.m

Palo Alto Art Center

1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto


Celebrate and prepare for the holiday season! Children ages 5 and up and their families are welcome to an afternoon of creative holiday artmaking. Come for a special opportunity to help artists-in-residents Lauren DiCioccio and May Wilson create their fabric sculptures, which will be exhibited at the Palo Alto Art Center!

Portland, OR

Art workshops with Rachelle Doorley of TinkerLab at the Palo Alto Art Center and Portland Art Museum

Sunday, December 14, 2014, 12:30 – 2:30 pm

Portland Art Museum

Bring the family and enjoy free admission to the Museum all day. Also, join Rachelle Doorley, author of TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors (2014), for an all-ages workshop that explores art-making and creativity through process-based experiments.

Rachelle Doorley in Palo Alto, CA and Portland, OR

Hope to see you there!

More events?

See more events, past and future, here.

TinkerLab on Instagram

Are you on Instagram? You might remember shortly after my book came out, I wrote this post that shared photos of TinkerLab: A Hands on Guide for Little Inventors in the hands of its readers. It makes me so happy to see the book in its environment, well loved, cozying up with cereal, and covered in post-it tabs.

Last week, Jen Kossowan (@mamapapabubba on Instagram) shared an image of the book in her lap on a beach…in Kuwait! I can’t even believe that she had it shipped all that way. It boggles the mind.

Here are some of my favorite outtakes from the past couple months. If you don’t see your picture here, be sure its tagged with #tinkerlabbook. Also, I, err, may have run out of steam, and will do my best to get more photos up shortly!

If you’d like to have your picture considered for the next collage installation, simply tag your photo on Instagram with #tinkerlabbook and my username: @tinkerlab.

November Giveaway!

Tag a photo of the TinkerLab book in the month of November and you will be instantly added to a giveaway of the TinkerLab book! A winner will be chosen randomly after November 30, 2014.

Yes, I know, you already have a copy of the book. However, the winning copy will arrive just in time to gift it for the holidays!

This contest is open world-wide and closes at 9 pm PST, 11/30/14. You must be 18 or older to play.

TinkerLab book on Instagram

TinkerLab Book Launch Party

Thank you, thank you to all of my friends, both old and new, who came out to the launch party for TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors last weekend at Helix Los Altos. In case you’ve never heard of it, Helix is the Peninsula arm of San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium.

As soon as I stepped foot into Helix earlier this year I knew that this was the spot for my book launch. Helix celebrates the intersection of science and art, and experiments and exploration are at the heart of their mission.

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

Big, big thanks to the education specialists at Helix, and especially to Kerrick, Anne, and Amisha for bringing my tinkering vision to life. I’d also like to send a shout-out to Kendra and Ching-Yee from Sprogs for feeding everyone delicious rice scooters. Yum yum.

TinkerLab Launch Party at Helix, sponsored by Sprogs |

*Thanks to Chrissy from Bloggy Law for sharing this photo collage with me!

After the guests arrived, we kicked the party off with a short talk and some hands-on oozy, gooey slime. The full recipe is in the book on page 152. In case you don’t have the book, you can download a free copy of the DIY Slime here.

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

If you have seen the book, you might recognize my daughter’s strawberry dress!

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

After making up a couple batches of slime, the museum was open for exploring and more hands-on fun. Helix and the Exploratorium are well-known for their interactive exhibits that demonstrate scientific phenomena in a hands-on way, and families were free to explore all of the thoughtful exhibits.

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

We also set up the workshop room with a long table where kids and adults were invited to make Marker Explosion bags (page 146 of the book).

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

And then, of course, there was a book signing! It was so much fun to talk with everyone who came the event and I especially treasure those of you who braved the line to meet with me.  Thank you again for coming out to play.

For more photos from the fun day, Sally at Little Hiccups captured it all so perfectly.

TinkerLab book launch party at Helix by the Exploratorium

Special Thanks to my Sponsors!

cropped-logo  logo

Helix by the Exploratorium, a community science center in Los Altos, CA provided the perfect setting for the event. Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and everyone raved about the engaging hands-on science exhibits.

Sprogs provided everyone with delicious Rice Scooters. My family loves these healthy, gluten free snacks. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, they deliver, and you can also find them in many local markets!

Join me next time!

If you couldn’t make it to the book launch, my next event will be on October 5 at the San Jose Museum of Art! You can find all of my past and upcoming events here.

If you’d like to check out TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, there’s more info here.

Is this your first time here?

Join the Tinkerlab network and be the first to know about simple art + science projects for kids, creativity tips, and simple ideas that will make your life more creative. Sign up for our newsletter.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids


TinkerLab Book Blog Tour Highlights

Did you get a chance to catch the TinkerLab Blog Book Tour? Twenty-three incredible blogs shared reviews, projects from the book, giveaways, and cool tinkering insights with their readers.

I’m so grateful for all that they shared and thought a recap would be helpful for those who might be thinking about picking up a copy of the book for themselves, or as a gift.

TinkerLab Book Review

Jean from The Artful Parent, which happens to be one of the very first blogs I ever read, shares some great photos of her marked up book and a peek at a bunch of the pages.

TinkerLab Book Review

Toddler Approved shares how her kids made one of the activities from the book, straw rockets.

TinkerLab Book Review

Ten Powerful Lessons Life Lessons from TinkerLab, written by Stacy at Kids Stuff World, just blows me away.  She shares some great nuggets of inspiration from the book. Here’s an example…

10 Powerful Lessons from TinkerLab

I invited a handful of Creativity and Education experts to write pieces for the TinkerLab book, and one was Parul Chandra, Head Teacher at Bing Nursery School at Stanford University. Christie at Childhood 101 took inspiration from Chandra’s interview on Discovery Areas and set up a Discovery Area in her home. This post is wonderful, and Christie shares a lot of Chandra’s interview so we can all learn from her words of wisdom.

Set up a Discovery Table, inspired by the TinkerLab Book | Childhood 101

Aligned with the book’s philosophy to encourage experimentation and curiosity in childhood, Creative with Kids shares a list of 15 “I wonder what would happen if…?” questions that invite play and experimentation. So good!

Questions that encourage experimentation and curiosity |

Maggy at Red Ted Art shares a whole bunch of ways that the book has inspired tinkering and open-ended exploration in her artistic home, including the set-up of their very own art trolly.

Art Trolly from Red Ted Art |

Amanda Morgan, mom to four boys and author of Not Just Cute, shared her kids’ DrawBots. Click over to her page and you can see videos of how they work.

Make a Draw Bot with Kids | from the TinkerLab book

The photos of the Naked Egg Experiment over at Let’s Lasso the Moon are beyond gorgeous. If Zina didn’t live 2000 miles away from me I would probably beg her to photograph images for my next book. Go on and check it out…

Naked Egg Experiment | Lets Lasso the Moon

Inspired by how the book encourages experimentation, Rachel of Kids Activities Blog made up a batch of Edible Pantry Paint with her kids.

Edible Pantry Paint from Kids Activities Blog |

Whitney from Rookie Moms (pass this site along to new moms!) talks about our Creative Table invitations, and shares this quick summary of the book:

  • Make space in your kids’ lives for creativity
  • Present them with opportunities to experiment, and try not to interfere too much
  • Introduce tools and materials they can test and play with
  • Accept that boredom is a jumping off point, not a problem for parents to solve

Whitney then offered her kids a selection of materials and stepped back to see what they would come up with. More here.

Creative Invitation for Kids | from Rookie Moms 

Tiffany from (the awesome spot for planning a Disney trip) Peanut Blossom, shares her kids straw rocket activity. 

Make Straw Rockets |

Steph from Modern Parents Messy Kids, is an advocate for STEM and STEAM, and has this to say about the book, “If you’re at all interested in the growing STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) movements – this is the book for you! The “Take Thinks Apart” activity we tried (see below) is from the Build category.”


 The Imagination Tree is one of my very favorite spots for Early Childhood Education ideas, and Anna shares a peek into the pages of the book with us.

TinkerLab book review

Ana from Babble Dabble Do shares her new art cart, inspired by the pages on How to Organize your TinkerLab. This is one of my favorite eye-candy sites, and it’s full of great ideas for little builders and inventors.

How to Organize art supplies | Babble Dabble Do |

MaryLea from Pink and Green Mama has a beautiful creative space in her home, and shares how the ideas in the book align with how she’s created her home studio.

How to set up a creative space |


Shana, the talented engineer – mom – fashionista at The Mom Edit, are Instagram buddies. She inspires me to dress better and I inspire her to set up creative invitations like this with her kids…

Setting up a Creative Invitation  | The Mom Edit |

Make and Takes features the Straw Rocket activity and shares full instructions on how to make straw rockets. Fun!

How to make a straw rocket

Playful Learning makes the Lava Lamp activity from the book, and shares full instructions on how to make them. This is a really fun activity and will wow both kids and adults.

DIY Lava Lamp from Playful Learning |


Imagine Childhood tests out the Pounding Flowers project from the TinkerLab book. I recently ran this project at my daughter’s preschool and it was a huge hit with the kids, as they came up with lots of ways to experiment with creating colors and textures.

Pounding Flowers project | TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors

A Mom with a Lesson Plan shares all the info and directions you’ll need to create your very own straw rockets. I love how her kids invented their own rocket shapes and designs. I led this activity at the Stanford Play Symposium a few weeks ago and it was a huge hit with the grown-up crowd, too!

Straw Rockets | A Mom with a Lesson Plan |

The color of this egg is spectacular. Cathy at Nurture Store ran the naked bouncing egg experiment with her kids. This project teaches patience, with a really big payoff at the end!

Naked Egg Experiment | NurtureStore |

Kara at Simple Kids is the creative mom of four kids. And her blog is a wondrous place for keeping things simple as a parent. I subscribe to this philosophy — how about you?

In Kara’s review she shares her thoughts on the book, and she has a lot of really nice things to say.

Says Kara, “Tinkerlab takes the kids craft book to the next level:  beyond just amazing projects (and there are some truly unique ideas here), Rachelle goes into the hows and whys of tinkering, encouraging parents to embrace the mess (one of my personal mottos) and to see mistakes as gifts. Sprinkled throughout the book, like little gems, are some thought-provoking essays by various authors that this artist/mama/maker found really inspiring and helpful.  My favorite, as a parent who also strives to live simply, is the essay on the benefits of basic materials by Jennifer Winters, the director of Bing Nursery School at Stanford University.” Read her review for more.TinkerLab Book Review | Simple Kids


Asia at Fun at Home with Kids is a natural inventor and creates recipes for all sorts of slime, dough, and other kid-friendly supplies on her blog. She and her kids built a drawing machine, inspired by the book’s Draw Bot, and…she’s giving away a copy of the book. Hurry on over because the giveaway ends in just a few hours!


I’m honored to share that TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors (affiliate link) has been the #1 Best Seller in Crafts for Children on Amazon. I’m so happy to know that this labor of love is reaching out to families and educators in search of some creativity inspiration.

If you’ve reviewed the book or have a tinkering activity to share, leave a note in the comments. I’d love to see it!

Warmly, Rachelle