Guess what I’ve been up to? Making a craft book, that’s what! It’s called Make in a Day: Crafts for Kids and it’s available to pre-order now on Amazon.
What’s in Crafts for kids?
“Fifteen projects with step-by-step instructions and helpful illustrations include a dreamcatcher, painted plant pot, leather treasure pouch, felt pennant flag, and other decorative and practical items. These colorful and easy projects for kids can be made in a single day! Suitable for ages 7 to 12, the crafts will appeal to boys and girls alike.”
How it came about:
I was approached by Dover Publications last year to author a craft book for kids to add to their Make in a Day series. Sadly the timing last year wasn’t great as the deadline overlapped with some overseas travel (and then my stint in hospital with Dengue fever), but luckily they were still keen to have me on board so we started chatting again in the new year.
The brief was 15 colourful and fun to make craft projects with step-by-step photos, for kids aged 7-12 that could be finished in a day, without any special skills, and with supplies available at regular craft stores. Sounded right up my alley, so once the contract was signed I got cracking.
The deadline was a pretty tight 4 week turn around, which felt a bit overwhelming at first, especially since two of those weeks happened to be school holidays. But armed with a detailed ‘to do’ list and my handy studio set up, I worked through the step-by-step shoot list in about 10 days.
The step-by-step shots needed consistent lighting throughout, so shooting with studio lights was required. Apart from my softbox lights, the rest of the ‘studio’ was cobbled together with random stuff that was laying around the house (and on the side of the road).
Shooting with artificial lighting was great because I could shoot at any time of the day or night, it resulted in super clear and bright photos, which was one of the requirements of the brief. The only downside for me was that I felt like I lived in a cave for about 2 weeks because even the slightest amount of outside light can change the colour balance, which is a pain to fix later.
Luckily it never got too lonely in my studio cave because I had a few friends drop by to lend an extra hand on a couple of days.
This was my first experience with shooting in camera RAW, I’ve always been a bit scared by it because the Lightroom processing sounded a bit daunting, I’d also never used Lightroom before, so it was quite the learning curve. But I’m so glad I took on the challenge because it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be, and now I have a new set of skills!
Normally for the blog I shoot the steps and finished project, and then write the instructions. On my blog I can have as many steps and photos as I like so I don’t really need to plan much up front.
With this book, each project had an allocated amount of pages and steps, so more planning was involved before any making or shooting got underway. I approached the writing first as I found it helped me storyboard the shots required for each project.
Next on the list were the hero images of the finished projects. These I did shoot in natural light, because I like the extra interest that soft shadows add to the photos. I’m pretty pleased at how these turned out, and hopefully it’s what will catch the eye of buyers when they flick through the projects in the book.
The hero shots and the image editing took about a week all up, then over the Easter break I did some of the writing and tided up the copy so everything was ready to bundle up and send.
Because image quality needs to be super high for printing, the file sizes for each image file was huge, I’m talking 10-30 MB each! Multiply 15 projects by at least 10 photos each and you have yourself a doozie of a zip file to send. Because my internet is so slow all the files took around 30 hours to transfer, I left the computer running overnight for 2 nights with my fingers crossed hoping that everything would upload without a glitch.
And with 2 days to spare till my official book deadline I was done! Or so I thought.
There were some re-shoots required, some were simple and didn’t actually involve taking any new photos but only involved a little bit of photoshop magic – no biggie. The biggest re-shoot involved swapping out a whole project, and creating a new one to put in it’s place, I tackled that last weekend and hopefully now my work is done.
The busy beavers at Dover Publications are putting Crafts for Kids together as we speak. I don’t know what it will look like as I have no direct input into the graphic design and styling of the book, but from the look of the cover I think it will turn out pretty cute.
For me it’s been an exercise in letting go. I’ve come to realise that I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to my creative projects. Even so, I feel I’ve presented a strong body of work that will still translate as my style, even as part of a book series that is working with a uniform template.
I’m really excited to see the finished result, but I’ll have to wait till January. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll get my copies sent early. Yay!
I’d like to give a special shout out to Spotlight for providing me with a voucher to shop for all the supplies I needed for the book. It was a great help because even though I have a ton of crafty stuff at home, most of it is thrifted or vintage, and I wanted these projects to come across as really accessible with materials that are readily available in any craft store worldwide.
And a final thanks to my newsletter readers who put up with my book updates and encouraged me with the project, it’s such a treat to have a supportive community cheering me on from the sidelines.
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY
Pre-order your copy now on Amazon for only US $14.95 with free shipping for Amazon Prime customers in the States, (and I believe you can get shipping to Australia for around $10).
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
PRE-ORDER Make in a Day: Crafts for Kids HERE
I’m not sure if the book will have local distribution, maybe ask your local bookshop if they can get it in? Here’s all the info
Title: Make in a Day – Crafts for Kids
Age Range: 7 – 12 years
Series: Make in a Day
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications (January 17, 2018)
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