9 DIY Books For When You're Stuck Inside This Winter
Winter is here, and for some of us that means holing up in our homes with blankets and hot chocolate and high fantasy novels to wait for spring. But it doesn't have to be that way! What if I told you that you could hide from the outside world while becoming a DIY pro, turning your old t-shirts into decorative plant hangers? Or learning how to make a Star Wars terrarium? Or becoming an expert in the art of tea-based cocktails?
Well, you can. Because winter is the craftiest of seasons, and all that frigid weather is prime for DIYing. Do-It-Yourself projects might remind you of idyllic childhood days spent making friendship bracelets and potholders on those weird little finger looms (why did the craft industry assume that children needed so many potholders?). Or the world of DIY might give you harrowing flashbacks to botched macaroni art and mutilated corn-husk dolls. (I'd like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to my parents for all the lopsided tissue-paper flowers I gave them in lieu of birthday gifts.)
Either way, these DIY books are not the summer camp arts and crafts of your childhood. These are books full of actual fun, doable, adult projects that will ignite your creativity and won't make you weep in frustration:
1. Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt by Megan Nicolay
If the words upcycle and t-shirt hack have always scared you, this is a great book to start with. Everyone has at least one (or 10) gross t-shirts that they never actually wear. But you can't throw it out, either, because it's from your freshman year intramural kickball team and it's full of memories! Generation T gives you over a hundred easy ways (many of them no-sew!) to turn beloved-but-unwearable t-shirts into tanks, halter tops, skirts, dresses, purses, leg warmers, and everything in between.
2. World of Geekcraft by Susan Beal
Star Wars terrariums. D&D dice earrings. Super Mario cross-stitch. Star Trek pillows. No matter which fandom you hail from, World of Geekcraft has some weird and wonderful craft for you. You'll never have to lust over expensive Etsy items again, because this book has clear instructions on how to make your own geeky goodies (and the projects are ranked by difficulty from "Not a Jedi Yet" to "Warp Speed").
3. Wise Cocktails by Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield
Tea-based cocktails? OK, so maybe you never felt the need to make tea-based cocktails before now, but this book just makes them look so good that it's hard to resist. It has plenty of non-boozy tea-based beverages and snacks, too, if you need a break from the margari-teas and tea-infused beers. The book also goes into the health benefits of tea-based drinks, so you can have the healthiest happy hours while saving money on fancy concoctions.
4. Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials by Jeannine Stein
Reading books is all well and good, but have you considered making books? Out of recycled materials? So you're basically creating beautiful, literary art while saving the planet. Win/win. This is a lovely book on bookbinding: It introduces the art of bookbinding at large, provides a glossary of stitches, and gives you detailed instructions on how to make adorable books out of everything from chocolate boxes to coke cans.
5. The Guerilla Art Kit by Keri Smith
The Guerilla Art Kit is here to remind you that the world is your canvas. The "assignments" in this book encourage you to create art for public spaces with projects like "seed bombs," "moss graffiti," or "miniature environments." Make your own stencils. Leave a book for a stranger to find. Yes, some of the more outdoorsy projects might have to wait for warmer weather, but it's still full of ideas to inspire your more out-there artistic impulses no matter where you are.
6. Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects by Christine Schmidt
Hibernate all winter, and then emerge in the spring with a whole new wardrobe of gorgeous, hand-printed t-shirts. And hand-printed picnic blankets. And hand-printed playing cards. And basically anything else you can think of. Print Workshop doesn't require any fancy equipment to print beautiful pieces at home. It's a great book for beginners on a tight budget, and you'll come out on the other side with a whole bunch of print-transfer techniques, several whimsical designs, and a ton of cool art.
7. Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow
This book has step-by-step instructions on how to create a CSI crime scene in terrarium form. What more could you possibly want out of your houseplants? These terrarium "worlds" range from cutesy to bizarre, but all of them are a fun and easy way to step up your indoor gardening game. Even if you're not especially green-thumbed, this book makes it ridiculously easy to grow an entire miniature world, complete with tiny inhabitants.
8. Stolen Sharpie Revolution: A DIY Zine Resource by Alex Wrekk and Joe Biel
Have you ever dreamed of creating your own zine? Maybe it's a collection of post-modern comics, or a field guide to facial hair in your local hipster coffee shop. Whatever your zine is, Stolen Sharpie Revolution can help you make it a reality. This book is short and to the point, but it'll still give you some amazing insider tips on creating the zine of your dreams. From layout to printing to distributing, this book has you covered (and it fits in your pocket!).
9. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris
Crab-claw roach clips! Pompom Ringworms! Tinfoil balls! Candle salad! Amy Sedaris is queen of cheap and unconventional homemade objects, and Simple Times is a hilarious tour of the world of crafting. Sedaris is here to show you that you, too, can make interesting things out of piper cleaners! If you're already a high-level Pinterest DIY-er, you might find this book a little too tongue-in-cheek. But if you're just crafting for the pure thrill of it, you'll love this off-the-wall take on how to create budget crafts for every scenario.