Stocking a prototype closet.

Where to find the right materials to run the wallet project workshop.

Stanford’s wallet project is a well-known and wonderful introduction to design thinking. But it requires some materials to be on-hand for the actual construction of the wallet, gift or new service.

While we at Pattern keep ourselves stocked for upcoming workshops with a variety of scraps, tape and cardboard, our clients do not.

How can we expect them to continue prototyping their ideas if we didn’t tell them how to find the right materials?

Here is where we go to find prototyping and wallet project materials:

Toys, home and seasonal are the key areas. Look for clearance items on end-caps and seasonal items — back-to-school, holidays, summer — that only come around once a year.

Office supply stores
The obvious items are here — pens, pencils, markers, post-its — but we also like finding the bulk items. Rolls of paper, bags of rubber bands and boxes of paper clips. All-you-can-fit in a bag sales are also helpful for restocking.

Dollar stores
Skip the off-brand pencils and post-its (they are not worth it), instead look for calendars, teacher supplies, flowers, hardware and toys.

Costco / Sam’s
Boxes. You are going here for cardboard boxes. Be nice, ask for extra, but they are giving them away. The more cardboard you have, the better.

Home Depot / Lowe’s
Scrap wood is available — again, ask — but the sample paint swatches are the secret. Often, an employee is happy to let you take a few dozen, just don’t empty the rack.

Where else do you find materials for prototyping?

This first appeared in our newsletter, Obvious Patterns.

Thanks for reading.

I’m Troy Thompson, an artist, consultant and speaker who found a way to combine all three into creative leadership workshops. I believe in customer-centric innovation, simplicity and short bios.