Made By Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff by Scott Bedford

Book Review

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I made the mistake of leaving this book on the coffee table recently where my nearly 5-year-old scooped it up, spent 30 minutes paging through it and then cornered me in the kitchen with a list of projects from it he wanted to make. "But son," I said, "look at the title: Made by Dad...Show Dad when he gets home." 

Of course, I'm mostly jesting. Moms, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friendly neighbors would all make good ring leaders for these projects. (I just happen to be spatially and mechanically challenged).

What's in this book? The subtitle kind of gives it away - the book contains ideas for 67 projects you can make with your kids. Each project is rated for difficulty: easy, medium, tricky or challenging and primarily use regular household items that you probably already have around. Each project includes a photo or two of the finished project and tons of drawings and diagrams. (My son was enchanted with all the diagrams.) There is a materials list and "blueprints" which is a subtle alternative to "directions" or "instructions" because Bedford encourages you to substitute materials or use a little improvisation.


Projects are organized into seven chapters, "Dangerous Decor", "Home Hacks", and "Geeky Gadgets" to name a few. Some of the projects my son wants to try: a Remote Release Zip Line for toy figures, a Rubber Band Rocket Car, a Bunk Bed Communicator and a Marvelous Marble Bouncer. The decor projects are cheeky and fun like the 1-Ton Lampshade and the Magnetic Bookends.

At the back of the book you'll find a ton of templates in case you lack confidence in your drawing abilities.

My only critique is that, without wading too much into the gender politics of what makes something for boys or for girls, I think these projects will appeal a bit more to the young lads I know than the lasses.

  • Made by Dad (2013) is published by Workman
  • Visit Scott's blog: What I Made.com
  • Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon.

(Images: Carrie McBride)

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.