Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Craft Studio Book Series - Thames & Hudson

Craft Studio Books, make your own, DIY

Started using a planner and decorating it (planners/ organisers aren't just about writing things down anymore, it's an art nowadays!) has brought the crafty side out of me this year. I have been making my own stickers, planner dividers and polymer clay charms, but when we were offered the opportunity to review Thames & Hudson's new range - the Craft Studio Books (RRP £9.95 each; links to Amazon UK), I've found the craft that I absolutely love.

The Craft Studio Book series launched yesterday with 4 topics in the collection - Stamping & Printing, Tote Bags, Brooches and Decorating with Pompoms & Tassels. Each of the book features 20 creative projects that comes with beautifully photographed pictures, a list of items you need for each project and detailed instructions on how to make them. At the end of each book there are stencils as well you can use for the projects.

One particular Craft Studio Book has gotten my full attention - the Decorating with Pompoms & Tassels book. It was so inspiring that I've discovered my favourite craft - Felting. So lets start with this book first.

Craft Studio Books, make your own, Pom Poms
Each book comes with lots of beautiful and inspiring images
When we talk about pompoms, we normally mean the ones made out of yarn. The book included the basic technique of making yarn pompoms as well as tassels, and they are used in quite a few of the projects in the book. My favourite yarn pompom project is the pompom rug in the above picture (So clever!). I love the yellow, black, grey and white colour combination too (it's the main colour theme in the book but there are other colour combinations of course)! So I made one with the similar coloured yarns, as well as a few others:

Craft Studio Books, make your own, Pom Poms

Craft Studio Books, make your own, Pom Poms

I didn't have enough yarn to make a rug, so I ended up making a yellow and cream pompom ball for my yellow recipe organiser! It feels as soft and fluffy as it looks! I'd still love to make that rug one day, it's such a fun and easy way to make your own customised rug, and you can get the kids involved too!

As I flip through the book further, I was completely caught up in another type of pompom used in the book - felted pompoms.

Felted pompoms are often seen being used for planner decorations (pompom planner charms or pompom paperclips). The Seat Cover project in the book that used these pompoms looked really stunning as well, and it wasn't that hard to make, so I picked up the wool needed and tried making them using the wet felting technique in the book.

It was very easy to make them (the instructions were easy to understand), but I couldn't make them as round as I wanted them to be, and my palms started to hurt from compressing the wool and rolling it at the same time. The fact that children makes them, and adults make a lot of them using this same technique, means that I must be doing something wrong. But I managed to make these:

Craft Studio Books, make your own, Pom Poms
Pompom charm and paperclip using Wet Felting technique
Although I couldn't use the technique the book taught me, it has inspired me to look into it further, and I've discovered Needle Felting, which is another felting technique that I can use to make the pompoms as round as I wanted them to be.

I still love the contemporary look of the seat cover, so even though the technique featured in the book didn't suit me, it has certainly inspired me and I'd love to make the cover, or something similar.

The book also featured paper pompoms, which are perfect for party decorations, and pompoms made out of Tulle fabric, which adds a delicate look to the Crib Canopy featured in the book.

And that's the beauty of craft books. They feature a good amount of projects for you to go through, which are really inspiring that once you've learned the techniques, you can make anything you want with them!

I haven't tried making things using the rest of the books yet, but I've already noted down projects I'd love to make:

Craft Studio Books, make your own, Tote Bags
I remember really enjoying tie dye-ing at school, and there is a Tote Bag that uses the technique in the Tote Bags book. It look so pretty! You can also add a zip at the top, which means a place to hang pompom charms! The book teaches you how to make a basic tote bag as well, so you can get inspired and have a plain canvas to work your own designs on.

Craft Studio Books, make your own, Stamping and Printing

If you know how to make your own stamps, you can make so many things at home! From wrapping paper to fabrics and on ceramics that you designed. I have been wanting to print my own mug, but never got round to do further research on it. The Stamping & Printing book has not only showed me how to do that, but also featured other really interesting projects that I never thought of. Alphabet spaghetti to make your own stamp!

Craft Studio Books, make your own, Brooches
As we don't really wear brooches, the Brooches book was the last one I took a look, but there are some really nice designs in it that I would consider using on other things. I'll definitely give it another look as I would love to make Abby some accessories myself, and having a pin makes it easier to attach them to things.

We are all about making your own things to cut cost nowadays, and it's not too hard to pick up the odd crafty skill to help with that, to upcycle things that make them suit your taste instead of paying a lot of money for it. If I haven't tried making felted pompoms, I wouldn't have discovered needle felting, and realise that I love it so much! I have even been making a lot of other beautiful things with the skill.

I really like the Craft Studio Book series. The books are beautifully made, with hard covers and quality paper made to a perfect size (big books can be so clumpsy to keep open), illustrated with beautiful pictures for all the inspiring projects. There are plenty of techniques you can pick up to make something that says you, and you don't even have to break the bank for it!

I look forward to seeing more books adding to the series and discover more crafting techniques.