Find fresh ideas in how-to guides

Diy­ers will re­joice in the nur­tur­ing tone, solid ideas in new books.

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & STYLE - By Nancy Flores nflo­res@states­

As peo­ple packed the malls this hol­i­day sea­son, fought fel­low shop­pers and saw their bank ac­counts dip, do-it-your­selfers most likely skipped the shop­ping drama by mak­ing their own unique gifts at home.

The DIY move­ment has kept its spot­light in re­cent years, mak­ing the craft and hobby in­dus­try an al­most $30 bil­lion one, ac­cord­ing to a 2010 study by the Craft & Hobby As­so­ci­a­tion. Peo­ple have grown in­ter­ested in re­pur­pos­ing, tap­ping into their cre­ative side or sim­ply cost-cut­ting.

So whether you’re an ad­vanced DIY-er or have never held a drill, here are a few re­cently re­leased books that guide you, no mat­ter your skill level, through fash­ion DIY projects, fur­ni­ture ideas and hand­made wares for gifts or sale. See for your­self what kind of DIY projects are for you.

“The Hand­built Home” by Ana White. Pot­ter Craft, $22.99: Pop­u­lar blog­ger Ana

White gives non­wood-work­ers hope. She went from some­one who closed her eyes while ner­vously squeez­ing the nail gun trig­ger to build­ing stylish, mod­ern fur­ni­ture the sim­plest and most bud­get-friendly way pos­si­ble.

White and her hus­band knew they wanted to build a home when they found out she was preg­nant. But they couldn’t af­ford con­trac­tors, and de­cided to build it them­selves. Go­ing through a steep learn­ing curve helped build her con­fi­dence to con­tinue build­ing. She went about find­ing an easy way to make high-qual­ity fur­ni­ture af­ter their bud­get had no wig­gle room for new fur­ni­ture.

In her book, White fo­cuses on us­ing stan­dard easy-to-buy ma­te­ri­als, ba­sic tools and thought­ful de­signs for the 34 projects fea­tured, which range from farm­house ta­bles for the din­ing room to kitchen is­lands. Each project in the book is marked with icons that note whether it’s a task for a starter, beginner, in­ter­me­di­ate or ad­vanced wood­worker. It also clearly marks whether it’s some­thing you can knock out in an af­ter­noon or a project you should tackle on the week­end.

The Alaskan mom in­cludes an in­cred­i­bly help­ful be­gin­ning chap­ter that gives a break­down of ba­sic tools, what they do, in­clud­ing pho­tos of what they look like, all with­out mak­ing you feel fool­ish. In­stead, the tone through­out the book is con­fi­dence-boost­ing and nur­tur­ing, mak­ing you want to run out to the hard­ware store.

“Craft: Tech­niques & Projects” from DK Pub­lish­ing, $40: If you have an Esty store, you’ll have no prob­lem stock­ing it with the crafts from this ex­ten­sive 320-page book of hand­made project ideas.

It’s im­por­tant to di­gest each of the six chap­ters sep­a­rately, be­cause with more than 50 step-by-step projects that cross mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines — jew­elry, pa­per­mak­ing, bead­ing, scrap­book­ing, mo­saics, can­dles, and ap­pliqué — the in­for­ma­tion can be daunt­ing to take in one sit­ting. It’s a ref­er­ence book that can prob­a­bly be kept for years, one that hob­by­ists can come back to for fresh ideas that go be­yond their craft spe­cial­ties. Com­pil­ing this de­tailed book of tech­niques and projects took the ex­per­tise of 17 DIY­ers, who all spe­cial­ize in dif­fer­ent ar­eas and live across the globe.

The eco crafts chap­ter will prob­a­bly res­onate with Austin crafters. The projects turn trash into trea­sures by mak­ing the most of nat­u­ral or re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als. Some projects fea­tured in this sec­tion in­clude mak­ing bas­kets from stems of wil­low, greet­ing cards from pressed flow­ers, or tin can lanterns from old canned food con­tain­ers.

“The Big-Ass Book of Bling” by Mark Mon­tano. Gallery Books, $19.99: From quirky, off­beat jew­elry pieces to sparkly fun shoe clips, this craft book fo­cuses on fash­ion DIY projects for the per­son who loves ac­ces­sories.

This book is the lat­est in the pop­u­lar “Big-Ass Book of Crafts” se­ries. Au­thor Mark Mon­tano, who spent years as a fash­ion de­signer in New York, has also been a tele­vi­sion host for sev­eral shows in­clud­ing TLC’s “While You Were Out” and the Style net­work’s “My Celebrity Home.”

His in­for­mal, some­times hu­mor­ous, con­ver­sa­tional tone feels more like he’s talk­ing to you as a friend and craft­ing buddy. He ex­plains that be­cause jew­elry is a mat­ter of taste, it’s im­por- tant that you use your own cre­ative eye to tweak some of the de­signs to match your style.

More than 150 ac­ces­sory projects are fea­tured from tas­sel ear­rings to a Katy Perry-in­spired sparkly heart neck­lace, and the ideas are a mix of projects that give new life to last sea­son’s wardrobe and projects made from scratch.


Read­ers can learn how to make tin can lanterns in the book “Craft: Tech­niques & Projects.”


Ana White’s “The Hand­built Home” of­fers guides on build­ing fur­ni­ture.


“The Big-Ass Book of Bling” in­cludes in­struc­tions for mak­ing jew­elry, shoe clips and more.

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