Cool Craft by Bridget Bodoano is a book with a slightly strange title, because I don't think the crafts in it have anything to do with being cool in the sense of "trendy" but judging from the title, and the introductory blurb about the book (which includes words like "chic" and "style-conscious") the author (and / or the publisher) thinks they do.
These words seem to me to be totally mismatched to the tutorials in this book which I think are much more firmly rooted in the idea that making stuff is awesome than in any desire to have a trendy or stylish end result.
Cool Craft feels to me like the total opposite of the sort of books where the projects are bang on trend or photographed in achingly cool interiors... and at a time when there are loads of those coffee-table type "stylish" crafty books to choose from, I think this different approach is no bad thing as it makes this book really stand out!
For starters, there are almost no photos in the book - instead, all the projects are illustrated in a bold graphic style and in some very un-girly colour combos.
The book is divided into chapters, covering Knitting, Sewing, Stitching, Accessories (including jewellery making and using modelling clay) Paper, and Design & Technology (i.e. using your computer, basically). Each chapter includes a short guide to "Getting Started" followed by projects to try, all with step by step instructions.
I love the inclusion of a "hardware" section - making jewellery from bits and pieces from the hardware store and from things like toy farm animals.
As well as some basic projects you'd find in many beginner craft books like a simple scarf, a patchwork cushion, & a fabric roll to organise your equipment...
... there are also lots of fun and quirky projects like using your digital camera to make flipbooks, making a hand stitched book that looks like a sneaker...
... and making fun 3D family portraits:
There are a few templates provided, but most of the projects don't require them. The templates section does include the strangest and most pointless page of "knitted patterns" though, which just shows a suggested arrangement for joining together stripey patchwork squares:
This not only takes up two whole pages, but is also a repeat from the (much more useful) spread earlier in the book that suggests a variety of ways you can make patterned blankets with simple squares:
All the projects in Cool Craft are very beginner friendly, and don't require a lot of fancy supplies or equipment. I think they'd really suit older kids or teens, or someone who maybe wouldn't describe themselves as super crafty but who'd like to try some fun projects and pick up some new skills.
The book actually reminds me of some of the craft books I had as a kid, and there are several projects included which are similar to things I made myself when I was a teen (like making a bag from a patchwork of knitted squares & cutting up old pairs of jeans and sewing the pockets onto other things).
While this isn't a book I'd really use now, I would have loved it when I was a teenager and itching to make stuff out of whatever supplies I could get my hands on!
Cool Craft is published by Vivays Publishing. RRP £14.95. It's available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA, The Book Depository and many other bookshops.
[Disclaimer: Vivays Publishing sent me a free review copy of this book, and the Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links]