Find fresh ideas in how-to guides
Diyers will rejoice in the nurturing tone, solid ideas in new books.
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.