When I was first asked to review The Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2 by Mark Montano, I almost said, “no, thank you.” One look at the cover told me that it was not really my aesthetic, but I watched the promotional video anyway. And I have to say, by the time Montano was holding up a shoe he’d altered, I had changed my mind. Really, it was the shoe that made all of the difference.
So now that I’ve had a few days to spend with this giant of a book (we’re talking 384 pages, with most projects not taking up more than two) I have to admit that the cover doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, there are a whole lot of items in this book that I can’t imagine making (Zipper Corset, “God Save the Queen” Briefcase, Auxy McMousy Baby Head Salt and Pepper Shakers…) there were quite a few projects that I really would love to try.
In particular, I am very much drawn to these concrete planters: they’re simple, yet elegant. The Woven Ribbon Mirror is a classy-looking project that would liven up any room, and the Cargo-Pant Carry-All is a great way to repurpose old clothes!
These shoes are different than the ones he showed in the video, but I like them even better. Zippers – who knew?! The Book-Page Lined Envelopes are something I want to remember next time I send actual snail mail. And this Striped Comforter Cover is really quite elegant and simple.
Montano has an odd fixation with baby doll heads, and while I’m not sure what that’s all about, I have to admit using a porcelain head as a bathroom night light seems to be the work of a creepy genious. I can’t imagine ever doing this particular project myself unless I wanted to give my kids heart failure (please. my 8-year-old is already afraid of the bathroom door knobs, and they’re just plain white bulbs that look vaguely like eyeballs), but it gave me a good chuckle.
The verdict on this book? If you love quick, simple crafts featuring glitter, sparkly beads, ribbons, fake fur and decapitated dolls, then you will love, Love, LOVE this book.
If, like me, that is not really your cup of tea, you will still find some nice, solid projects in here, particularly in the area of home decor (there’s a decent selection of playful DIY furniture to choose from, and some of the paper correspondence crafts are simple and attractive). Additionally, some of the more sparkly projects can certainly be toned-down by omitting the glitter, or choosing more neutral-colored supplies.
I’m seriously considering getting myself a bag of concrete and whipping up a few of those planters…
The nice folks at Gallery Books would like to give a copy of The Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2 to a lucky reader (U.S. residents only, please). To be in the running, simply leave a comment on this post. Good luck! I’ll choose a winner sometime Monday, October 10th.
[edited – Congratulations, andrea m, you were chosen randomly to win! I’ll email you shortly for your snail mail address. Thanks for playing, everyone!]