Wednesday, March 17, 2021

by Joanne Mengel

Crafting can be both calming and creative and the perfect activity to do together as a family. Need some help finding just the right crafty idea? The library has a plethora of idea books on our shelves and most are found in the 745 and 746 dewey area. I will warn you - the area is massive - so I chose a few titles to get you started. Hopefully, one of these will get your creative juices flowing!

Let’s start out with something fun that has tons of ideas.

The Making It Guide to Crafting by Liz Welker

With the all-star duo of Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman leading the way with puns, advice, and good vibes, the TV show Making It became the competition series we didn't know we needed. Tapping into that success, this well-rounded crafting guide will offer in-depth looks at some of the best DIY crafts that were featured on the show. Introductions to woodworking, fiber arts, paper crafts, and more will enable readers to customize their own creations at home. And with projects that are kid friendly and accessible to all skill levels, the whole family can get just as crafty as the Makers did. 


Another good choice to get you started is this one. You can finish a project in 2 hours!

2-hour Crafting Treasures by Laura Scott

More than 125 super easy and super quick-to-craft projects you can finish in two hours or less. Includes a variety of not tacky gadgets but treasures - cute, fun, colorful, and unique - using a variety of materials and techniques.


Do you like to doodle? Check out this fun and inspiring title to turn those doodles into a work of art!

Craft-a-doodle deux : 73 exercises for creative drawing by Jenny Doh

Presents techniques, ideas, and exercises for original doodles made with materials such as paint, markers, and gel pens. Seventeen contributors share inventive prompts to jumpstart and expand your inspiration for drawing abstract designs and doodles.


What about sewing? Here is a book that not only shares some easy sewing techniques but guides you through the basics of zippers, pockets, straps and more.

Bags : Sew 18 Stylish Bags for Every Occasion by Anna Alicia

As you work your way through the 18 projects, you'll learn how to sew interesting shapes (such as a cubed bag or round bucket bag), work with different fabrics (cotton, canvas, linen and more), and discover how to work in zips, pockets, straps, and other add-ons. Step-by-step guidance, plus a wealth of tips and tricks, mean you'll build in confidence as you develop your technique, while modern designs and details will inspire you to get creative with your makes.


Knitting is an age old craft, usually passed down from generation to generation. If you were fortunate enough to have mastered the art this book has some amazing ideas, but also has some beginner projects as well.

Shawls, wraps and scarves : 21 elegant & graceful hand-knit patterns by Louisa Harding

Whether you are looking for a classic shawl, chic evening wrap, or simple scarf pattern, this pattern book by Louisa Harding, one of the world's most influential designers, will inspire you to create beautiful hand-knitted garments. Knitters of all skill levels will value the simple and delicate stitch patterns, which result in surprisingly sophisticated styles. More advanced knitters will appreciate the projects that introduce more complicated techniques involving lace, cable, and beading.


If you are a seasonal decorating fan you might want to take a look at this one. It has tons of ideas to make every season festive.

Craft-a-day : 365 simple handmade projects by Sarah Goldschadt

A year's worth of handmade projects are thematically arranged for seasons and holidays and does not require advanced skills or sophisticated crafting tools. Make magnets, cupcake toppers, garlands, cards, wall art, finger puppets, and more!


Paper crafting is one of the easiest and cost efficient of crafts - at least in my opinion. So much more than making paper airplanes, paper crafts range from the very simple to the highly detailed. I found a book that does a great job of demonstrating the ins and outs of the craft.

Paper crafts : a maker's guide by Eleanor Crow

Step-by-step projects contributed by experienced teachers and practitioners allow aspiring and established paper artists to hone their craft. With projects ranging from braided paper-string jewelry to a concertina papercut peepshow, from a silhouette family portrait to a handmade paper notebook, this book will introduce crafters to the immensely exciting creative possibilities of paper.

Ready to try something a bit more complicated? I chose the next two titles because they are not just your everyday crafts. Who knows? Maybe you will discover hidden talents you never knew you possessed. 

Polymer clay for beginners : inspiration, techniques, and simple step-by-step projects for making art with polymer clay by Emily Chen

Professional artist Emily Chen demonstrates how to make animal figurines, flowers, cookies, cakes, beads, and more through easy, step-by-step projects. Each project features colorful, styled photographs demonstrating how finished pieces can be used, displayed, and gifted. A comprehensive tools and materials section and detailed information on techniques, baking, and glazing guide artists in their quest to become polymer clay pros.

Stained glass making basics : all the skills and tools you need to get started by Lynn Haunstein

All the essential information and instruction the beginner needs to know to create stunning stained glass projects. The author has based the book on the highly successful hands-on approach that she has perfected teaching thousands of students in her stained glass classes. The projects - starting with the simplest and ranging to the more difficult - build on mastering skills and tools; understanding glass, copper foil, and lead came techniques; creating a good work environment; and stained glass safety. More than 1,000 step-by-step photos and precise instructions eliminate the guesswork for each project.


Prefer to watch and learn your crafts? The library has a collection of DVDs that might be just the thing to get your creative juices flowing. I selected a couple of basic titles but if you search the Nonfiction DVD section in the 745 through the 746 number area you will find more. We have them shelved in both the adult and children’s area.

There is a great series of DVDs titled Crafts in America and include the following titles.

Craft in America. Music

Examines various handmade musical instruments, made in America and, some of the musicians who perform on them.

Craft in America. Forge

Profiles three American metalworkers: Chloe Darke, a 23-year-old creator of silver place settings, and metal sculptors Tom Pullin and Albert Paley.


A great children’s DVD series to try:

Activity TV. Family crafts and gifts

Help your child make crafts, conduct experiments, and more with easy-to-follow tutorials led by friendly experts. For beginning to advanced levels and guides you from step one. Perfect gifts are homemade gifts.

I hope my selections inspire you to find your inner creative self. Be sure to watch for the display of these and other titles coming next week. Staff will put together a great selection of books and DVDs for you to view all in one spot. Who knows? Maybe you will find that crafting as a family is a fantastic way to spend time together.

Joanne Mengel works in the FDL Public Library Reference department.