Friday, 22 November 2013

Book Review: Make Your Own Woodland Creatures

Make Your Own Woodland Creatures:

35 simple 3D cardboard projects

By Clare Youngs

Cico Books

Hardback  £14.99

ISBN 978-1-78249-040-1

Star rating: *****

Notice to papercrafters: if you buy this book as a gift, you will want to keep it for yourself.

Woodland creatures are having a mega-moment. They are here, there, everywhere: clock the John Lewis Christmas ad, and Donna Wilson home dec designs, for example. So Make Your Own Woodland Creatures is right on trend – delightfully so – and perfectly timed for Christmas gift-giving.
This is a papercraft book with a difference. With this book, you can create an entire woodland eco-system inhabited by whimsical slotted cardboard creatures. There are even five press-out and assemble creatures made of sturdy cardboard: Prickly Hedgehog, Pretty Partridge and Chicks, Cheery Chipmunk, Stripey-Tailed Raccoon, Black-and-White Badger (don’t know how the Racoon missed the alliteration net).

The slot-together creatures are like simplified sliceforms. The photographed animals are decorated in sprightly mixed prints (a bit Orla Kiely-influenced). The book is divided into several chapters: Cute and Furry, Big Beasties, Birds of a Feather, Little Critters, and Down by the Pond.  There are 35 different animals – so, a generous  number of projects which can be made time and again. The author certainly took a good idea and ran with it!

Up front, you will find basic directions for making the creatures out of layered cardstock, or, for greater permanence, plywood. There’s a template section at the back. On page, you get a diagram showing required pattern pieces plus beautifully illustrated step-by-step assembly diagrams (and a beauty shot of the finished project).

The woodland creatures are designed with flair - clever construction, economy of line. Nice. I am a big fan of Clare Youngs (her other titles for Cico are also winners: including Book Art, Papercrafting in No Time). I believe she has a background in advertising packaging design – and this shows, in a good way.

Although this book does not teach a specific craft skill, it is a title you will come back to repeatedly. The imaginative animals make wonderful budget gifts to give to kids. (What child wouldn’t be enchanted to receive a Sticky-Tongued Frog or a Koala and Joey?). The Reindeer could be used to make beautiful seasonal tableaux.

Note: I was sent a review copy of this title. Although I did not specifically request it, I was charmed by it.