I bought this book a while back and it’s a really nice coffee table book. The cover is really nice (imo) simple but has a fun ruler design on the spine and thick unfinished cardboard for the cover. I really dislike the big barcode on the cover though- especially when there is also one on the back. RRP is £14.95. (I did not pay that much!)
On the cover we are told ‘These never-before-seen designs and how-tos are full of surprise and wonder. Learn how to turn everyday objects into spellbinding inventions to give away to friends or keep for yourself…the founders of ReadyMade magazine have fed and cared fro this animal. It will not be domesticated. It runs wild and breathes free.’ From that I think you can appreciate tone, humour, and purpose of the book. I found it appealing.
Inside the book is divided into sections on different materials: fabric, wood, glass, metal, paper, plastic and each section begins with an article on the chosen material (generally about how much of it we waste every year when we throw things away) and a short history of it eg. 1400-1300BC bones used in China to write on, 1550AD Wallpaper introduced to Europe from China, 1900-1910 first paper plates developed (I missed out a few years).
And there are projects to-do such as a coat rack made from detergent bottles, a rug made from recycled plastic shopping bags, and a beer-can room divider. There’s a full page photo of each project, and clear instructions, there’s also a list of all the things you needs, and the time and money it will take you to make it, as well as the skill level required.
It’s really nicely designed and easy to use but there are some issues; the usual ones for how-to books. While I appreciate the desire to make-do and mend, to reuse things that would have merely been thrown away the things they want you to make aren’t always that easy, practical, useful or desirable.
The beer-can room divider is a good example- it requires 216 beer cans (I don’t drink beer but I realise other people do. But if you did you would have to drink a lot in one go or have a living room full of beer cans for several months). You also needs foam pipe insulation, wood dowels, steel wire, galvanised floor flange, flat cap hubs, and various tools like metal shears, wire cutters, hacksaw, drill, and hot glue gun. I do not have any of those things to hand (so it will not save anything from the landfill) and I also have no idea what some of them are (flange anyone?). Also, and perhaps most importantly, who on earth would want a room divider made of beer-cans?
It is extremely difficult to put a book together like this that can provided for everyone’s taste, skill, and circumstances, and I found the other articles and information on materials quite interesting. So I think they would have done better to focus on that with some smaller (less wacky) project ideas included.