Searching online for craft ideas is wonderful, but can be infuriating. Often once I find something cool, I can`t get the supplies here in Japan. It also gets overwhelming, too many ideas, both good and tacky, simple and impossible. It is nice to have a reliable book to refer to when you are in a creative mood. Here are two of my favorite Japanese craft books that are great for families. Tupera Tupera is a wife/ husband duo that are well known for their quirky and colorful picture books. They contribute a craft idea to the parenting/lifestyle magazine called `Toco-toco` and this book `Tezukuri omocha` is a collection of that column. Tuesday is another married couple graphic design team that I have been following as a fan for years. I jumped with joy when I saw they published this book `Handmade Zakka and Toys` which also highlights other artists from around the world. Both are written in Japanese, but have self explanatory picture directions and templates so you can fudge it if not completely understanding everything!
tupera tupera, `Tezukuri omocha` (handmade toys)
The title sums up this book perfectly, it focuses on making toys with household items or objects of nature. Just looking at this book is a delight with bursting creativity that seems to show the world through a child`s eye. There are 19 craft ideas and clearly they have an affinity for alliterations, check out all the fun names! The cost of the book is ¥1.400. I had a hard time finding this book at stores and ended up ordering it at amazon.
This is called `haco-haco totem pole` made out of a variety of boxes decorated with origami paper and stickers.
How fun to make a `puka-puka kujira`, a fantastic whale bath toy made out of a pet bottle and tape.
Tuesday, `Handmade Zakka and Toys`
This book is divided into many sections; toys, fashion, stationery, interior, objects and seasonal and party goods. It is appropriate for kids and adults with endless ideas. It calls for more art supplies, compared to `Tezukuri omocha`, but the result is some really sophisticated crafts. I adore this book! It costs ¥1.600 and can be found on amazon or most book stores.
Peel and Stick animal toy. Made out of a milk carton you can rearrange the parts to create new animals.
Bonsai trees made out of pipe cleaners and pom poms, so clever!
The next time you are at a book store, browse a little bit more and I think you might just walk home with one of these fantastic books.
HI! I live in Northern Japan on the Oga peninsula and love making crafts with my children and enjoying the beautiful surroundings with my family.
I also run a small company, Sora, that sells handmade clothing, bags and accessories! www.sorajapan.org