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

Claire Freedman Author Of The Secret Garden
By Claire Freedman

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...

The Secret Garden

By Claire Freedman, Shaw Davidson (illustrator),

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.

The books I picked & why

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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

By Cheryl Owen,

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

Why 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!


Tilda's Seaside Ideas

By Tone Finnanger,

Book cover of Tilda's Seaside Ideas

Why 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.


The Art of Handmade Living: Crafting a beautiful home

By Willow Crossley,

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

Why 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.


Fat Quarter: Quick Makes

By Juliet Bawden, Amanda Russell,

Book cover of Fat Quarter: Quick Makes

Why 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!


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

By Marrianne Miall,

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

Why 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!


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, Christmas, and Broadway musicals?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, Christmas, and Broadway musicals.

France Explore 537 books about France
Christmas Explore 70 books about Christmas
Broadway Musicals Explore 62 books about Broadway musicals

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Dad's Book of Awesome Projects, Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids, and A Cabinetmaker's Notebook if you like this list.