The Art of Tinkering cover

The Art of Tinkering is a comprehensive introduction to the practice and philosophy of making: create rather than consume, experiment fearlessly, and play with whatever you have on hand. It’s chock full of creative and unexpected ways to transform mundane material, from whimsical, homegrown machines made out of cardboard to sculptural tape origami.

Each chapter contains three parts, which together provide a smorgasbord of inspiration, dig deep into one particular maker’s creative practice, and present a beginner-level project that allows the reader to play with the medium or theme of the section. For example, the “Wondrous Wearables” chapter touches on sewn circuits, 3D printed shoes, conductive embroidery and knitting, and shapeshifting fashion. As with much of the work in The Art of Tinkering, these pieces combine traditional techniques with modern technology. The tutorial projects often expand upon familiar crafts or art forms—paper card making, origami, or hand sewing, for example—so one needn’t be a technical wizard to dive in, and they’re accessible to a range of ages and skill levels.

The book’s design even reflects the ebullient eclecticism of its content, with fun, photographic spreads peppered with text and plenty of color. This energy permeates every page, and whether you sit down and read The Art of Tinkering cover to cover or just flip through and enjoy the pictures, it may in fact be impossible to not come away full of inspiration.

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