Today sees the release of The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton. This 150-page DIY manual walks you through the process of making great Star Wars items like action figure wreaths and Wookiee bird houses. Burton, whose StarWars.com craft section has made her the veritable "craft-mistress" of the GFFA, provides detailed instructions, materials lists, and step-by-step photos for a total of 42 awesome creations. Among these crafts are some of Burton's most famous DIY Star Wars items, such as her shifty-eyed but lovable Jabba the Hutt body pillow.
The crafts in this book are separated into the following five categories: "Playtime", "Home Décor," "Holiday Crafts," "Nature & Science Crafts," and "Star Wars Style." Puppets and dolls make up the majority of "Playtime," with a few pet toys sprinkled in for good measure. For those who want to furnish their homes with homemade Star Wars items, there's everything from soap to tissue box covers in the "Home Décor" section.
If you're looking for gift ideas in this book, you'll find a nice handful in the "Holiday Crafts" category, whether your recipient is into Droidels or mistle-TIE fighters. In the "Nature & Science Crafts" section, crafters will find things like a plant habitat and a bird house. Interested in DIY fashion? The "Star Wars Style" section has you covered -- it features five awesome crafts that you can make from t-shirts.
Fun, Casual Style
Burton has written this book for all types of Star Wars fans, from the youngest Padawans (of reading age, at least) to the most venerable Masters. With its funny text, clear and simple instructions, and copious use of photos, these craft walkthroughs are both simple and specific, making the book an extremely approachable resource for crafters of all proficiencies and ages. The five categories are color-coded and the crafts within are thoughtfully-grouped, so young kids should have an easy time picking up this book and selecting a project. I also enjoyed the full-page photos of these craft items "in action", such as the Wookiee bird house stationed on a fence and the curious feline eying the mouse droid cat toy.
Besides the instructions and photos, nifty sidebars are sprinkled like glitter throughout the book. One of them advises craft inventors to keep a brainstorming journal to record future project ideas. Another recommends that crafters create their own tutorials to help their friends. A third points out that attending local craft fairs is a great way to get inspiration and network with other DIYers. Some of these sidebars provide advice on crafting in general, like the ones I just mentioned. Others are specific to certain crafts and techniques. In short, these sidebars are extra bits of crafting wisdom that supplement the step-by-step "how to" processes with bonus information and tricks of the trade.
Item of Note: R2-D2 Crocheted Beanie
One of the items that may be difficult for youngsters to create is the R2-D2 Crocheted Beanie, the process for which takes over 30 "rounds" of crocheting altogether. This guide was written by Star Wars fan and renowned R2 beanie crocheter Reynalyn Camoras, who says in a sidebar that "this was the only affordable and non-life-threatening way I could achieve my dream of becoming part droid."
I know what you're thinking. "But Eric, isn't the whole book interactive? Isn't that the whole point?" Well yes, but the most interactive part is in the back. Burton has helpfully included an appendix with the designs needed for some of the smaller crafts, such as the finger puppets and the magnets. The introduction to the appendix mentions that crafters can download a PDF with all of the included patterns from Del Rey's Star Wars website.
With The Star Wars Craft Book, it seems like Bonnie Burton is telling us that no one is too inept to craft. My own personal experiences will put that to the test (I intend to bumble through at least one craft by the end of the summer), but one thing's for sure: there is no better reference manual for people who are looking to make their very own Star Wars collectible. Burton has years of experience crafting for The Official Star Wars Site, and she's combined that with a wealth of easy-to-read instructions and a colorful layout that's fun to flip through. Whether you dream of pointing to something on your Star Wars shelf and saying "I made that" or you just want to peruse numerous examples of crafting creativity, this book is a must-buy.
Thanks for reading my review of The Star Wars Craft Book. TFN's Mandy B. has posted an interview with Bonnie Burton to tie-in with this review as we celebrate the release of Burton's long-awaited book!