Book Review: DK Handmade Gifts

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Author: Dorling Kindersley.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Crafts.
Published: August 2013.
Pages: 251.

Way back in December, people asked me to review the books that I got for Christmas 2013. I managed to review Crochet Boutique, but I never got any further! So I’m going to try and get back on track with my weekly book reviews, for the Christmas books that I have neglected.

In the past, I have never really paid much attention to DK craft books, but after discovering this one, I think I have been missing out! The minute that you open the book, you are introduced to its beauty!

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This book is laid out really beautifully, and it is really accessible. Following the introduction, the projects in the book are divided into seven sections; For The Home; Jewellery; Bags and Accessories; Pampering Gifts; For Pet Lovers; Edible Gifts; and Gift Wrap. There are then also sections on templates, tips and an index followed by a page dedicated to the authors and designers of all of the projects.

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All of the chapters are separated by a beautiful double page spread, featuring one of the projects from the section. The simple but stunning photographs are amazing and incredibly inspiring. They just emphasise the beauty of this lovely hardback book.


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The projects have fantastic instructions, that are broken down into simple steps. Each step has succinct information summed up clearly in just a couple of sentences, and a large image giving you a visual representation of the step too…it is almost impossible to get confused with all of this information!

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Many of the projects also suggest some alternative ideas to make your gifts really unique and personal (whether you’re making gifts for yourself or for someone else…) All of these alternatives really get you thinking about creatively about the possibilities of the projects, you’re bound to feel inspired!

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There is a massive range of projects available in this book, all of which are crafts that are usually excluded from other craft books. This selection of bags is one of my favourite projects in the book. These designs use stencils and fabric paint to create wonderful and varied designs. With a project like this, the options are endless.

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My absolute favourite section in the book is the ‘Pampering Gifts’ section. This section has some fantastic projects for women, including soaps, bath bombs/fizzers, candles, wash bags and other pamper accessories. There is a brilliant range that can easily cover birthdays, Christmas and mother’s day.

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The project that I am most excited to try is making soap. It was never a craft that had ever crossed my mind until I got this book, and now I can’t wait to get started! These soaps look beautiful and would make an amazing gift. The instructions make a block big enough to be cut into nine pieces, making it easy to make nine Christmas presents in one go! Or, ideal party favours when you have to make gifts in bulk.

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The book also list an additional eight recipes to try to make a beautiful range of professional looking soaps. You could easily make up a a few of these, and give out a variety to your friends and family members. The book also gives suggestions to use soaps of different shapes using cookie cutters and cake tins for some lovely themed gifts too.

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The end of the ‘pamper’ section has the wonderful idea of combining all of the projects in the section into a hamper. This would make the ideal gift from mother’s day! I think it is a wonderful idea and makes an amazing present. It looks lovely and certainly is a spectacular gift! I look forward to being able to put one of these together!

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Another great thing about this book is that is genuinely does cater for everyone…even for the pets! It is always a nice surprise to find projects for pets in a craft book, and this one has a whole section dedicated to them! If you come from a family like us, where the pets get Christmas presents, you will understand why I am so excited about this!

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And when I say this book covers everything, it really does cover EVERYTHING that you will need when making your own handmade gifts. It has a wonderful section on gift wrapping, that has some beautiful projects to help you wrap your handmade gifts. When you have gone to the effort of making the present, you might as well go to the effort of presenting it properly, right?

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This book goes above and beyond the usual ‘design your own wrapping’ that is featured in craft books (although it does cover that too!)  It has templates to help you make some amazing boxes to put your gifts in, that are really unique and look really effective. There is a brilliant twist-top box, and I love this jewellery box to give your handmade jewellery in.

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There is also a section for templates at the back of the book, which contains all of the templates that you will need for the projects in the book, including the additional variations that they included!

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They even include some crochet basics to help crochet newcomers get started! I told you they had thought of everything!

This is literally a whistle-stop tour of what this  book has to offer! There is so much more crammed into this book that I couldn’t possibly squeeze into one review! What really sold this book to me was the massive range of crafts that are covered, from the usual sewing, crochet and beading projects, to some really unique ideas such as soap and candle making, mosaicking and silk painting. They even include edible gifts! You really won’t struggle to find ideas in here for even the most difficult of recipients! You are also getting a huge amount of projects for your money, since they give you so many variations with each technique! There is so much about this book that I love, I just can’t recommend it enough! Once you open this book, you will be flooded with ideas and inspiration!


10 thoughts on “Book Review: DK Handmade Gifts

  1. Homemade Sarcasm says:

    I got this last December and I still haven’t tried any, but I remain very excited about it. I love the variety in it since I’m a multi-crafts kinda gal, much like yourself. I really, really want to try the metal clay project!

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Yes there is definitely a bit of everything! A great excuse to try my hand at something new 😉 The metal clay does look stunning! My Mum really wants to try that project, as she does silver-smithing at night class, but because of all of the specialist equipment it requires, she can’t do it at home. Certainly so many possibilities with it!

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