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Great Books on Making Arts and Crafts From Found Materials

Rummage Through Your Recycling Bin to Make Designer Arts and Crafts


Over the last ten years, there has been an increasing consumer interest in purchasing arts and crafts made using eco-friendly raw materials. Smart arts and crafts business owners should jump on the 'responsibility in crafting' bandwagon not only to do their part in saving the environment but as a method to promote their products and increase prices.

Check out these five great arts and crafts books on the topic of using eco-friendly materials. Find out about altered art, using materials from the recycling bin and stitching up a Kate Spade or Prada-like handbag using recyled plastic, vinyl and micro-fibers.

1. Found Object Art

For the eco-friendly artist or crafter, this book contains hundreds of examples of transforming found objects, in other words trash, into functional and decorative pieces of art and craft. Written by Dorothy Spencer, the book is 240 pages.

2. Altered Paper Jewelry

Make bracelets, necklaces and earrings from found items such as paper and photographs.  Also includes are instructions on how to use vellum, transparencies, shrink plastic and printable fabric paper.  Great step-by-step instructions and sample templates.  Author Jennifer Mason's work has appeared on PBS, QVC, and HSN. 128 pages.

3. Altered Art

Find out how to turn old books, vintage tins and boxes into decorative pieces of art. This book includes 30 projects to get you started with information about design, image transfer and simple riveting. 144 pages, this book is written by Terry Taylor.

4. Eco-Books - Inventive Projects from the Recycling Bin

If your art or craft involves or incorporates book making, here's your eco-friendly guide!  This book contains 40 book-making ideas using recycled and green materials such as egg cartons, beer cans and even a faux leather journal made from teabags. Containing 144 pages, this book is complete with detailed instructions, step-by-steps guides and close-up photographs. 

5. Making Vinyl, Plastic and Rubber Handbags

Written by members of the Accessories Design Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), learn how to recycle car mats, shower curtains and other household rubber items into stylish handbags. Full-color illustrations and easy step-by-step instructions to emulate fashion favorites using rubber and micro-fibers such as Kate Spade, Kenneth Cole, Prada and Coach. 

128 pages, this book is beautifully illustrated but assumes you have the basic sewing techniques to construct a handbag. Need help in that arena? Check out the next recommended resource or just buy a Simplicity handbag pattern at your local sewing store.

6. Making Handbags & Purses

Kinda fuzzy on how to construct a handbag? Here are full instructions on how to make more than 50 bags, from totes to evening purses.

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