Books for people who like to make stuff

Chronicle Books keeps churning out fun titles, including a couple more DIY volumes they sent over. Stencil Style 101 is stencil master Ed Roth's latest book full of ideas for customizing clothes and accessories.

The first half of the book is comprised of project tutorials with very detailed instructions, and the second half contains 25 pre-cut, reusable plastic stencils. Detach the pages along the perforation, use them, easily wipe off any paint residue, and tuck them back inside the handy pocket.

Designs include patterns like houndstooth, animal prints, checkerboard, and argyle, plus lots of objects: feathers, a rotary phone, birds, ropes, chains, a bowtie, pocket protector(!) and more.

Along with classic stenciling projects using paint, see how to use the stencils for embroidery, knitting, and appliques.

Check out that amazing quilted jacket!

I wonder what's the most interesting substrate Ed has ever used a stencil on. A police car? A hamster? I'm going to ask him.

[Okay, I'm back. Ed reports that it's a banana. I was close.]

You can get Stencil Style 101 right here at Amazon.

People who have always dreamed of making party decorations like you see on Pinterest might like Pretty Paper Parties by Vana Chupp. You know what I'm talking about. Those photos of lovely buffet tables pushed against a wall, draped with bunting, and stacked with glass jars of perfectly coordinating candies and flawless cupcakes sporting paper flags. The ones that make you wonder A) Who does that? and B) What does the rest of the room look like, because you suspect that was just for a photo shoot and the rest of the house looks like a hurricane hit it?

This book can't help you with the housekeeping and doesn't come with glass apothecary jars, but it will make it easier to pull off the garlands and cupcake toppers.

It includes templates for tracing and cutting out simple shapes (think hearts, stars, scalloped chain links, and photobooth props to glue on sticks: glasses, bowties, and the ubiquitous mustache). The real value is in the 40 sheets of coordinating patterned paper, though. Each sheet is printed on both sides with contrasting designs. If you used it all, you'd have a super festive event.

Find Pretty Paper Parties right here at Amazon.

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