Two Fun Craft Books for DIY Decorating on a Budget

On Monday I shared with you two budget-friendly books that will inspire you to make your home a work of modern art, whether it’s a tiny dorm or a McMansion. This week I have two more fantastic decorating books, this time focused entirely on easy decorating projects you can make at home. Unlike the books in Monday’s post, these thick paperbacks don’t have a thing to say about the elements of interior design. There are no interviews, no homeowner profiles. Instead it’s page after page of cheap and easy do-it-yourself projects.

Speaking of penny pinching, these books are a terrific value. Decorative Crafts Sourcebook clocks in at 300 pages, and The Complete Home Decorator is over 500 pages. Both books include pattern templates. These are huge paperback books, and every page is printed in color. On Alibris both are currently available for 99 cents!

The Complete Home Decorator

by Sally Walton

Interior layout of Complete Home Decorator
Interior layout of The Complete Home Decorator

The full title of this book is The Complete Home Decorator: More than 200 Practical Projects to Transform Your Home, with Over 1000 Color Photographs. The title is apt. Most spreads consist of a full-page image of the finished project on one side and four how-to photos that show you the steps to make it. The chapters are divided by room type.

The projects are sometimes surprising. There’s an attractive and modern lamp you’d never guess was made out of a paint can and metal tubing from the plumbing department. There are many projects for Recommended copy of Complete Home Decorator at best pricecustomizing fabric on pillows, chairs, beds and rugs. There’s a whole chapter devoted to making your own containers.  The Complete Home Decorator will show you how to make fake paneling and real distressed floors.

Some of the ideas are quite clever, others are simple and attractive projects you can modify to your own style. In the image above, the rustic chandelier made out of old branches would give any room texture and interest, for the cost of a few cheap gems.  Hanging jars from fixed-in-place lids flips traditional storage on its head by providing space underneath a shelf. Both the vinyl lampshades and the canopy bed projects could easily be modified to the fabric or vinyl color you prefer.


The Decorative Crafts Sourcebook: Recipes and Projects for Paper, Fabric and More

by Mary Ann Hall, Sandra Salamony, Jessica Wrobel

Four projects from The Decorative Crafts Sourcebook

interior layout of Decorative Crafts Sourcebook
Interior layout of Decorative Crafts Sourcebook, this section on manipulating fabrics goes on for many pages. (Click on image for larger version)

Speaking of modifying projects, Decorative Crafts Sourcebook is written for doing just that. The layout is different from your typical interior design book, or even your typical crafts project book. Its structure is more like the Everything series of cookbooks, which teaches you all the different ways to modify a recipe. Decorative Crafts Sourcebook focuses each section on a particular medium, and all the ways it can be manipulated. If you’re a crafty person, this might be the book you never knew you always wanted. If you’ve ever looked at a project and

Experiments in dyeing fabric with tea
There are breakout “experiments” that detail a particular technique. Here: the different color effects achieved by dyeing fabric with tea. (Click for larger image)

wondered, “how’d they do that?” this is the book that tells you. Following each section are home projects you can make, based on the previous techniques.

The examples in the image above are a few I particularly liked. First on the left, this recessed linen display frame is made completely without nails. It’s an elegant way to display treasured objects without taking up shelf space, and by making this yourself you’d save a ton of money at the frame store. In the second project, they teach you how to make hand-colored vintage photos, as well as the simple wire photo stands

two page spread on how to emboss a pillow.
The projects have a spread more typical to a crafts book. This project from the fabric section shows how to use the embossing technique on a pillow.

holding them up. Following that, an address plate is the perfect small project for a first mosaic. The right-most project shows a marquetry wood-veneer frame. I’ve always loved the look of marquetry, and finished works are always so expensive. This is precisely the kind of project that makes this book so great.

As I said, the book is divided by medium. The materials covered are: paper, fabric, ceramic/glass, metal/wire and wood. Within each section it is further organized by how that material can be worked with. For example, the Paper section is split among layering, manipulating, finishing, and decor crafts sourcebook best price quality recommended copyrecipes for making your own paper.

While the provided patterns allow you to make the exact projects in the book, this is really an inspirational tome that can be the diving off point for an infinite number of projects. Simply mix and match the techniques presented in the front of the book in customizing the projects at the end of each section. Moreover, Decorative Crafts Sourcebook is a great resource for the beginning crafter, looking to experiment with different crafting techniques.

Between these two books, you’ll have hundreds of ideas for making any room as unique as you are.


Editorial note: The majority of the copies we have listed of Decorative Crafts Sourcebook are listed under the title Decor Crafts Sourcebook, though the cover (including the title) is the same on both books. Try both of the links in this note to make sure you get the edition with the best price, but it is likely the latter book you will find for .99, since under the shortened title we currently have over fifty copies for sale. 

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