Books for Creatives

By Kate Riley October 21, 2013

Hello! I hope you all had a great weekend! I spent part of it at a bookstore alone with a cup of java (one of my most favorite things to do evah) in the Home & Craft section and purchased two new texts to add to my growing stash. I’ve been enjoying a few others that I purchased online in the past few months, I find myself drawn more and more to these kinds of books written by skilled creatives and DIYers. 

I have such respect for those who fine tune their craft and then publish their expertise in a beautiful text. I love all the freebie how tos we find on the internet and amen for Pinterest but a really nice reference book on crafting, sewing, or creating is always a worthy investment to me. Today I thought I’d share a few recently discovered favorites.

books for creatives


paper to petalThe first is Paper to Petal by husband and wife team Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell. The book is a collection of 75 paper flower projects crafts from poppies and peonies to other creative blooms and bouquets. 

The botanicals are beautiful and the photographs are amazing! I’m left inspired by the beauty you can create with crepe and tissue papers. There are detailed tutorials plus a list of materials and templates you can use.


paper flowers on cake

paper botanicals

spruce upholstery

I’ve followed Spruce Upholstery for years and was so excited to get my hands on the book by founder Amanda Brown who followed her dream and creative instincts and taught herself to upholster furniture. Now she teaches students in Austin, Texas and shares her expertise in this excellent and much anticipated book Spruce: A Step by Step Guide to Upholstery.

Inside you’ll discover how to do it all yourself and it addresses everything from coil springs to webbing, determining yardage, stapling, sewing, padding and tufting. Plus there’s an extensive list that includes the tools you’ll need to get the job done. How wonderful to have such valuable information all in one place!


webbing spruce

tufting spruce


My skills are intermediate when it comes to sewing so I’m always looking to better my abilities. Two favorites for me are Sewing Made Simple by Tessa Evelegh and Sewing Solutions: Tips for the Savvy Sewist by Nicole Vasbinder. The first is comprehensive on the basics, but the second is equally as useful for learning the ins and outs of sewing techniques such as piping, invisible zippers, etc.

sewing books


one yard wondersAnd if you’re looking for inspiration, I’m loving One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, published a few years ago but really great.

The book comes with pattern pieces and dozens of ideas for using a yard or less of fabric, plus tutorials inside to walk you through the projects. Great for someone like me with so many extra pieces of fabric!


 jewelry roll


embroideryI picked up Mastering the Art of Embroidery by Sophie Long since I used to do embroidery projects a lot in my youth and would like to pick it back up again someday. It includes all the stitches from basic chain to advanced raised or textured elements (think crewelwork).

The text provides some history and plentiful inspiration for all types of embroidery, the tutorials guide you chapter by chapter. It’s comprehensive and beautifully arranged.



cross stitch primer


Two books that are helpful for crafters or artists trying to make a living in the crafty world are Handmade to Sell by Kelly Rand (with contributing writers) and I Just Like to Make Things by Lilla Rogers. The first is a guide to starting a business and selling online and includes marketing tips too. The second is helpful at providing strategies for artists and getting to know the various marketplaces.

business books for creatives


What about all of you? Are you enjoying any arts and crafts books or read any helpful texts for entrepreneurs getting started in the craft business? I’d love to know what you’re reading in this genre! 




  1. Thanks for sharing this list! I definitely need to check out a few of these books, but I’m going to start with the Paper to Petal book.

  2. I agree with you about having a book you can hold in your hand…while the other is holding a coffee…it is just not the same as reading tips and tutorials online. And they look so cute all stacked together!

  3. Thanks for the suggestions, I think I might finally get myself a copy of One-yard Wonders. If you are into embroidery and needleworks, two of my favorites this year are Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook by Anna Maria Horner and The Gentle Art of Stitching by Jane Brocket. – Sylvie

  4. Wonderful-thank you for the suggestions! I’ve had One Yard Wonders for a couple of years and have made some awesome projects- my favorites were the travel dollhouses for each of my girls, and the lunch bag I made for my mom. So fun! I also used to love embroidery as a kid and was just lamenting the other day that I had forgotten how to do all the cool stitches. I’ll have to check out the book. Thanks!

  5. Thank you for sharing. I’ve added a few of these to my Christmas wish list. I’m a librarian so sometimes I forget the convenience of having your own books for reference.

  6. Great list! I’d also suggest Furniture Makeovers by Barb Blair. She goes through a bunch of different techniques but I especially love her before-and-afters. Lots of great ideas!

    I think I’m going to add Handmade to Sell and I Just Like to Make Things to my Christmas list. :)

  7. Perfect timing!! My daughter is trying her hand at re-upholstering several pieces… and the Spruce guide is now on its way to her house. Thanks for sharing these great books!

  8. Hi Kate!

    I have been waiting for you to write a post about books you read for inspiration and these are great ones. I’ll definitely read Sewing Solutions and One yard Wonders. Also I would like to know if there is some books you would recommend about decoration.

    I love reading every one of your post I get so much inspiration from you.

    Thank you :)

  9. Great list! Craft books are one of my favorite pastimes too. I’m a quilter and highly recommend Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman and Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Peterson. If you have lots of fabric scraps, quilts are a great way to use them up!

  10. I love one yard wonders.They also had a follow up book that is fabric specific one yard wonders (fleece,cotton,etc.) which is excellent as well.

  11. Hi Kate! Have you ever upholstered walls? I did in my bedroom. It is just dreamy! I picked up the Upholstered Walls book by Sunset. The sewing of the panels is a cinch (just a straight seam). Staple batting to the walls first, then the fabric panels and then hot glue gun the welt over the staples to hide them. I chose my favorite celadon for the fabric. I still LOVE it.

    • Oh fab Ms. Lizzy, I have always wanted to, can’t wait to try someday, thanks for the heads up on the Sunset publication :)

  12. I love DIY books and how to books for creatives because you have to be willing to try new things. Reading these books always gets my mind turning with new ideas and makes me want to go out and do it now. I will have to check out the books in your pile for sure.

  13. Love when bloggers make book recommendations! Thank you so much! Some of the best books I have read lately were recommended on the internet. Few, however, suggest books about making things so this issue of your blog is particularly appreciated.

  14. Thanks so much for including Sewing Soluions on your list! I am based in Petaluma too and you should come down to my store StitchCraft on Kentucky Street.

  15. Oh, my! I’m in trouble now! More books to add to my already out-of-hand collection! These are all such wonderful books you’ve shared, and I even read all the comments to learn about more of them.

    And I must add that I’m particularly delighted to see so many still value having a beautiful, glossy, package of loveliness and fun perched on your lap while enjoying a cup of tea. My husband has worked in the printing industry for over 30 years, has a BS in printing in fact, and the new digital age has in part forced us to relocate from our home of 32 years so that he can remain employed. He currently works for the largest printing company in the US, and PRINTED materials (books and magazines) are our livelihood.

    Keep on loving and enjoying your books everyone!

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