Ai Weiwei and other artists on how to design your own furniture

The problem with do-it-yourself projects is that the distance between what you have in mind and the reality of what you wind up with is often rather significant.


This is especially true if you’re attempting to display creativity and personality in your home improvement but not, say, a decorative gourd, or glitter-encrusted items to “add color to your home.”

Cool furniture, edgy lamps, unique house ornaments—those are generally tough to make if you’re not a designer or an artist.

That’s why Do It Yourself, Thomas Bärnthaler’s book, a collection of cool, but easy-to-make home objects by artists and designers, is a good way to try your hand at crafting practical solutions for your home (that don’t look like you made them).

The volume, published by Phaidon, has beautiful pictures, clear instructions, and elegant design. Serbian designer and artist Ana Kraš shows you how to make a coffee table ($40, 90 minutes), Antenna Design guides you through creating a shirt hanger ($30, 9 minutes), and Ai Weiwei shares his model for a fabric puppet that’s a meaningful and fun art project ($15, 90 minutes).

Some of the most interesting featured objects include Nils Holger Moorman’s Branch Lamp ($50, 150 minutes), Benjamin Hubert’s Flex pencil holder ($30, 60 minutes), and Autoban’s Rope Rug ($50, 180 minutes).

Below are the instructions for one of the most exciting projects: the $40, 90-minute DIY Flying Shelf by Kueng Caputo, a Swiss design and art duo who exhibited around the world.


DIY_Flying Shelf
(Image courtesy of Phaidon)
DIY_Flying Shelf PDF1
(Image courtesy of Phaidon)
DIY_Flying Shelf PDF.2jpg
(Image courtesy of Phaidon)
DIY_Flying Shelf PDF3
(Image courtesy of Phaidon)
home our picks popular latest obsessions search