The best arts and crafts books for people who don’t have time for crafting

Who am I?

I am a children’s author and have written over 100 picture book texts for young children, including the best-selling Aliens Love Underpants series. I also enjoy making beautiful things for my home and garden, and for friends and family. Whilst writing is hard work, this other creative side is pure relaxation and ‘switch off’ time. But any projects have to be easily achievable within snatched moments in a busy work life. So here are my top crafting books for people who love creating things but, like me, don’t have much time...


I wrote...

Book cover of The Secret Garden

What is my book about?

This is a re-telling of the classic children’s book originally written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, retold as a picture book for younger children, and beautifully illustrated by Shaw Davidson. It’s a mysterious, magical story about an abandoned secret garden being brought back to life by three children. As the garden is lovingly re-created it dramatically changes all their lives, bringing hope and healing, happiness and friendships – and dreams come true.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Complete Practical Guide to Card-Making: 200 Step-by-Step Techniques and Projects with 1100 Photographs - A Comprehensive Course in Making ... Tags and Papers in a Host of Different Styles

Claire Freedman Why did I love this book?

With over 150 Step-by-step Techniques and Projects and Over 1000 Photographs, this great book gives you card ideas for every occasion. It also shows you how to make easy but professional-looking envelopes, invitations, tags, and papers in a host of different styles. Takes less time to make a card than going out and buying one!

By Cheryl Owen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Practical Guide to Card-Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

200 step-by-step techniques and projects with 1100 photographs -- a comprehensive course in making cards, envelopes, invitations, tags and papers in a host of different styles


Book cover of Tilda's Seaside Ideas

Claire Freedman Why did I love this book?

This is an adorable book of seaside makes and beach-inspired projects. It's a beautiful book to look through with lots of inspirational photos to spark your imagination. Some of the projects are more complicated but I found it easy to simplify them myself and the end results still looked great. However busy you are, you’ll definitely have time to make the fabric flowers – easy-peasy and so pretty. I use them on gift tags.

By Tone Finnanger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tilda's Seaside Ideas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recreate memories of the seaside with simple sewing, papercraft, crochet and knitting projects using beautiful Tilda fabrics, yarn and embellishments. Be inspired by life at the beach and in the ocean to make gifts, toys and pretty accessories for your home. From adorable whales and fishing girl dolls to hanging mobiles, applique blankets and summer scarves, the designs will take you on a journey of the perfect seaside holiday.


Book cover of The Art of Handmade Living: Crafting a beautiful home

Claire Freedman Why did I love this book?

This author has a knack for making the simplest things look beautiful. Very vintage in style and many projects can be cheaply put together with old bits and bobs you may have around the house. Start collecting any buttons, ribbons, and pretty fabrics!

If you love the vintage look, you can often pick up bits and pieces easily and cheaply (like old fashioned pretty china or decorative items) at charity shops and boot fairs.

By Willow Crossley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Handmade Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Willow casts her crafting style all around the house and beyond, making things you will want to keep for yourself or reluctantly give away as presents. The first chapter, 'To Decorate', includes floral napkin rings, seasonal wreaths, Christmas baubles and vintage fabric bunting. 'To Hang' shows how to fill printers' trays with your own treasures, make pictures from buttons and create your own pinboard with fabulous ribbons. 'To Nest' includes ideas for grainsack cushions and pillows, block print napkins and heart-shaped lavender bags. In 'To Wear', there are fabric-twisted bracelets, silk-trimmed straw hats and simple linen aprons. 'To Use' is…


Book cover of Fat Quarter: Quick Makes

Claire Freedman Why did I love this book?

Twenty five quick and easy sewing makes for using up fat quarters or leftover remnants of fabric. Lots of cute ideas to pretty up your home, or great little stocking fillers for Christmas. There is a series of these books if you get hooked!

By Juliet Bawden, Amanda Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fat Quarter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fat Quarter: Quick Makes is part of a fantastic new series of stash-busting sewing books aimed at beginner to intermediate crafters. There are 25 super-quick and easy projects to make, all from fat quarters to fabric scraps. Each project has easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and beautiful accompanying photography, as well as a useful tools and techniques section. This book is ideal for using up leftover remnants of fabric from your stash to create a range of decorative and useful items in a flash. Projects include: book bag, baby dress, eye mask, bunting, festival flag, owl brooch passport cover, makeup bag.


Book cover of The Eco-Christmas Craft Book: 30 Stylish Festive Projects That Won't Hurt the Planet

Claire Freedman Why did I love this book?

Now you can enjoy crafting without harming the planet! All you need to do is save up some recyclable or foraged items such as cardboard, newspaper, wine bottle corks, twigs and pine cones. You can choose your own colour schemes to match your home and, because the materials are recyclable, you could make new ones every year!

By Marrianne Miall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Eco-Christmas Craft Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you love Christmas, you'll love this book! It's the perfect antidote to the traditional tinsel and glitter that shed harmful microplastics, polluting our oceans and waterways.

The Eco-Christmas Craft Book is filled with lots of ideas to create your own stylishly beautiful, eco-friendly Christmas.

All you need to do is save up some recyclable or foraged items such as cardboard, newspaper, wine bottle corks, twigs and pine cones. You can choose your own colour scheme to match your home and, because the materials are recyclable, you could make new ones every year!

Including all the things that make Christmas…


2 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in craft, textiles, and Christmas?

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