I’m lucky to work with some incredibly crafty ladies here at Curious Jane — Samantha, Casey, and the other clever girls that wander in and out of the office scooping up supplies for classes wow me daily with their artfulness! (I’m hoping a little of it rubs off on me.)
S. and C. are often chatting about some of the fabulous craft and DIY books that inspire them — I said, let’s turn the list into a post to give parents ideas for awesome summer projects.
Here it is, grouped by age.
Samantha’s top picks for Curious Jane-age girls (6 – 11 year-olds):
1. I discovered Joel Henriques via blog-surfing and was an instant fan. This Seattle-based artist, designer and dad of three shares simple projects with beautiful design sensibility. Stemming from the success of his blog, Made by Joel, he recently published his most popular projects in his first book Made to Play. Perfect for young children to play with and enjoy, the projects themselves require grown-up “makers” (or an eye to adapt the project to a younger designer’s capabilities).
2. DIY Fashion by Selena Francis-Bryden is a great project book for kids (with a crafty grown-up’s help). Most designs make use of recycled clothing and a few simple accessories, and the finished products are full of personal expression and flair.
3. DIY Kids by Ellen Lupton (a prodigious designer, curator and critic) and twin sister Julia Lupton is great for the elementary school-aged set. The various activities make use of basic materials and are cleverly coded for level of difficulty, time, and expense. You can easily scan and spot projects that work with materials and time you have on hand. Kids can design their own characters, patterns, pop-up cards, stufties, scarves, and more.
4. Another amazing online resource-turned-book is Erica Domesek’s PS I… Made This. Inspired by every-day patterns and fashion, the projects are sophisticated in look but simple to make. Each project post pairs an inspiration board with a 3-step “how to,” like an iPad clutch crafted from drawer liner or ballet flats studded with puff-paint patterns. Last year, she compiled her popular projects into a book by the same title. Most of her projects are designed for the 20s set but many are appealing and accessible to all ages! Plus her website is just plain fun to peruse.
5. A gift to my daughter from a far-away friend, Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham has become one of our absolute favorites (so much, in fact, that I bought my own copy). The book is organized into groups of great projects inspired by design legends: Verner Panton, Anni Albers, Marimekko, Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Calder… to name a few! The projects are accessible to children as young as 5 with grown-up help, but are also fantastic for older designers.
Casey’s books for Blue Tree-age girls (12-year-olds and up):
1. The Big-A** Book of Crafts, by Marc Montano is a great book for high-school aged girls (and their crafty parents) to make what Montano deems “home-worthy” crafts, which means they’re sophisticated enough that you’ll want to show them off! (Think: more Etsy, less macaroni art.) The projects range from having a few steps and materials, to being more complex and requiring power tools, so it’s good for crafters at many levels. Montano divides the projects into whimsical categories like, “You’ve Been Framed” and “Can We Table That?” and writes a fun introduction for each category. Check out the sequel for more projects with a similar feel. D.I.Y your room, kitchen, backyard, bathroom, and more with these great projects!
2. How to Make Books, by Esther Smith and The Journal Junkies Workshop: Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict, by Eric Scott and David Modler are both amazing books for techniques, projects, and inspiration for making art-books and journals. How to Make Books encourages budding artists to play with the form of the book itself to make unique pieces with each project. Journal Junkies is more of a book of techniques using a wide variety of materials to use to make multi-layer collage pages for what Scott and Modler call a “visual journal,” which is sort of like a sketchbook-journal- scrapbook hybrid. Both books are awesome for beginner and experienced artists alike!
3. Everything and anything by Keri Smith – This author, illustrator, and self-proclaimed “guerrilla artist” has published a variety of interactive books that are all fantastic for tweens and teens. These aren’t strictly books of projects, as much as they encourage exploration and creativity through exercises throughout the book that ask readers to physically alter the books themselves. With titles like Wreck This Journal, Mess: A Manual of Accidents and Mistakes, and How to be an Explorer of the World –the Portable Life/Art Museum, each book has a slightly different focus, but a similar structure. For the Curious Jane aged set, Tear up this Book! :The Sticker, Stencil, Stationery, Games, Crafts, Doodle, And Journal Book For Girls!, published by American Girl, is a great introduction to this fabulous author.
See what I mean? Awesome recommendations, right? Now go buy some books and get busy with your girls!
Thanks, S. and C., for sharing!