Craft Book Reviews

The Craft Kingdom - Eli Maor
Go through your recycling bin and see what you could make…bangles from plastic bottles, a vase from a Pringles tube, gift boxes from toilet-roll middles. ‘The Craft Kingdom’ is all about things you can make using items you have at hand.
The book has large colourful photos and straightforward instructions and includes sections on making soap, candles and jewellery as well as lots of ideas for using everyday items. It’s not a thick , encyclopedic craft book with advanced techniques, and the projects are not as sophisticated or aspirational as those put out by the big commercial names.  But if you’re looking for fun, easy projects that all the family can enjoy, this is the book for you.
Many thanks to Eli Maor and also NetGalley for the copies to review. 


Creative Wood Letters – Krista Aasen
This likable book is full of ideas for using the big wooden letters you can buy in craft stores and homeware shops.
There are simple ideas such as covering them with photos or glitter, ways of making fabulously personal gifts (I liked the music idea especially) and even some pretty way-out ones like using moss or string art.  
These are fun projects, suitable for all levels of craft skill and with clear instructions- although, as Aasen says herself, you can just use the book to springboard your own creativity.
And I’ve already done that. I was inspired to create my own craft project using letters- thanks for the inspiration.

Thank you to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for the digital review copy of this book. 

The Painted Art Journal – Jeanne Oliver
I’m a sucker for a good-looking book and this one’s all muted shades of blue, brown and grey with a dash of mustard – like an artist’s coastal studio.

Oliver clearly knows her topic and takes you through the process: from gathering your materials, creating a storyboard and making a journal from an old book; to a series of step by step art projects such as making a circular timeline and collaging with torn papers.  

At first, with a lot of emphasis on ‘telling your story’ and ‘creative rituals’, I was worried that it might be a little too ‘spiritual’ for my liking. But when I got to the projects it was clear that there’s plenty of room for playful fun – creating a page from a  vintage class photo, for example – it doesn’t need to be deeply personal if you don’t want it to be.

This book leans more to the arts side than the crafts ( or creative writing ) side of journals. There was no use of rubber stamping or stencilling and the stories were (except for a project using a poem) told in images alone rather than a mix of words and pictures, which some may prefer.  

However, the techniques and ideas included could be adopted and adapted by all kinds of journaler – this is an inspiring and instructive book.

Thanks to NetGalley and F+W Media for the electronic review copy.

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