Book review “Upcycling” by Max McMurdo

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I was delighted to find “upcycling” by Max McMurdo available at my local library. Naturally any book with this title is going to be on my reading list, but is it a coffee table book, a practical book or a mixture of the two??

The book starts with a general introduction into upcycling. The definition “upcycling adds value to the item through clever design to make it more desirable, financially, aesthetically and emotionally” resonates with me.

The book has 20 projects spread between three chapters Furniture, Storage & Display, Lighting & Accessories. Each project is explained step by step with diagrams and photographs to assist.

Furniture – This section include eight projects, some more complex than others. My eye is drawn by projects I would not attempt without instructions, particularly the wheelbarrow chair and the bike stool. But if you like upcycled furniture but on a more day to day basis there are projects for you too.

Storage and Display – This section has five projects. Ranging from a skateboard shelf (how cool would this be in a boys bedroom?) to a salvaged drawer shelving unit.

Lighting and Accessories – This chapter has seven project, five of which are lighting. The step by step instructions with accompanying images are clear, allowing you to transfer the information to your own designs.

Tools and techniques – This section covers a variety of tools and their uses.  For someone like myself with limited DIY skills this section is particularly valuable, explaining tools and their application with lots of helpful tips.

The introduction to chapters encourages  thought and consideration to be given to the materials and design of the project. As someone who has no woodwork skills I found this book to have a coffee table feel but with good instructions. I now feel that I can create a light fitting, how exciting is that?!

I am offer to buy a copy (after all I did borrow it from the library for three months, I suspect I should give it back!). My school was fabulous at teaching me to sew but at a girl’s school I never learnt woodwork skills. I confess until recently I was not able to tell whether a drill piece was for masonry or wood!

Let me finish with another quote from Max “Go crazy and be brave”.

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