Computer Science and Craft

There are many links between Computing and Crafts, not least that both are about making things. Any craft instructions that explain in detail and in a step-by-step way can be used as a way of introducing the ideas behind algorithms to pre-coders. In the case of physical computing you can build computing power in to craft-based artefacts, adding interaction to them. Craft and computing then become intertwined.

Here we give some links between computing concepts and crafts, giving ways to introduce computing concepts using crafts.

Origami Algorithms

origamibunny7Use Origami to illustrate sequencing and the need to do things precisely and in the right order. It also illustrates the idea of agreed, precise, formal notations for giving instructions that everyone understands and can follow exactly.

HexahexaflexagonHexaHexaFlexagon booklet

Create these fascinating paper shapes with hidden sides and learn about graphs, automata and more.


Knitting uses a more complex notation. Explore sequencing, choice and iteration as well as ideas behind regular expressions.

Charles Dickens (a friend of Ada incidentally) knew you could use knitting for encryption and steganography.


RomanMosaic21x21SOLUTIONThe Romans came up with the idea of  tesserae as a way to make it possible to communicate mosaic designs across the empire. They are coloured squares that can be used to build an image. This is the basic idea behind raster images and so of digital imagery.

Cross Stitch

Cross Stitch is another way to introduce digital images – oldest form of embroidery and one of the oldest forms of pixel imagery too dating back at least to 500 AD in Egypt.

Jewellery, beads and watch making

Jewellery can now be interactive with computing power added and watches long ago went smart (if not always keeping the elegance of jewellery). The early watchmakers were not only craftsmen but also innovators of interaction design.

Clay modelling

Representations of data can be physical as well as virtual…

Interactive Arts and Craft

By combining crafts and physical computing you can add a whole new dimension to the things you make.

Fashion and Wearable Computing

Fashion can combine with computing to make the clothes you wear interactive.


There are also lots of ways to link computer science and art…

This page, with related articles / activities, has been developed by Paul Curzon and Karen Shoop of Queen Mary University of London and is part of the public engagement work related to their craftwork computing related research. We hope to develop it further.

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