Crafty Ways to Spend Late Summer Days

Are we bored yet?

There are only a few weeks left before school starts. Maybe only a few days for some of you. Can you believe it? If you’re fresh out of ideas for entertainment, check out this collection of books guaranteed to jump-start your creativity. Recycle CDs, design a metal robot, or make a cool beaded curtain to spiff up your room for the new school year. That should keep you busy.


First on the list are three books in a series called Cool Crafts by Carol Sirrine. These books are indeed cool, filled with crafts that focus around recycling or “upcycling” so dig in your junk drawer or find an old pair of jeans to cut up and get creative! A former music and art teacher, Carol Sirrine founded ArtStart in 1988, an organization that combines learning in the arts with environmental stewardship. Her books are fun and useful, featuring “green projects for resourceful kids.”


In Cool Crafts with Old Jeans you can return to school in style with handmade accessories like the denim bag featured on the cover.

One of my favorites in this series is Cool Crafts with Old CDs. The introduction alone is worth a look and the author tells us that each month, almost 50 tons of CDs are tossed into landfills. But you can do your part to reduce waste by making cool party coasters, a mosaic flowerpot, or even an amazing frame. Be sure to follow the safety tips in this book and have fun!

Next is Cool Crafts with Old Wrappers, Cans, and Bottles. It’s hard to pick a favorite project in this book but the “Origami Crane Earrings” made from foil gum wrappers are adorable and the “Itty Bitty Frames” with magnets made from metal bottle caps and magazine pictures are simple and oh-so-cute! The mini frames would be fun to create and trade with friends.

If you love junk, you’ll love this one. From Kids Can Press, this fun and informative book by Renee Schwarz is chock full of cool stuff to make with hardware that you’ll find in tins in the garage, the drawer in the kitchen, and maybe even your pockets. A trip to the hardware store for wire and connectors and springs might be in order. Hardware stores are a treasure trove for junk-lovers. You can make metal mice from wing nuts and screws. Try an alien key chain with brass wire, an expansion spring, and a few nuts. You’ll impress your friends with Sharpie the Robot, which is a real pencil sharpener made from hardware. Complete with step by step instructions as well as lessons on using tools, this book is fun!


Geeks rock! This recently released book by Susan Beal and photographer, Jay B. Sauceda, is quantum-cool! Description from Indiebound:

Geek meets craft in this fun collection of 25 kooky projects for geeks of any affiliation, from D&D dice earrings, Star Trek pillows, and Super Mario cross-stitch to Star Wars terrariums, a Morse code quilt, and much more! Organized by difficulty from “Not a Jedi Yet” to “Warp Speed,” World of Geekcraft covers a range of popular crafting techniques including beading, quilting, appliqué, embroidery, and needle felting. Best of all, it’s easy to get started with step-by-step instructions and handy templates included in the back of the book. With lots of photos and plenty of geekery throughout, this one-of-a-kind book shows that geek and craft go together like…pixels and cross-stitch!


Stuff for Your Space by Ellen Warwick has cool projects and themes to jazz up your room in time for a new school year. My favorite is the “Groovy Bead Curtain.” Made with beads and plastic straws, this is a simple yet effective way to spiff up a doorway, window, or bedside and you can do it yourself!




Six books for crafty ways to spend the last days of summer. What will you make? Do you have a favorite craft book?


Diana Greenwood’s debut novel, Insight, (Zondervan) was released in May. She lives in the Napa Valley, California with a great lump of a cat and many closets stuffed with craft supplies. Visit her at or find her on Facebook.

Diana Greenwood