Make-it Book

Make-It Book coverMcCall’s Giant Golden
Make-it Book

I am so glad several university libraries are holding on to this relic.  This just screams 1950s.  It still is in some school libraries holdings and I wonder how well it must be holding up after a nearly sixty years.  Of course it is outdated.  In the meantime, enjoy this time capsule of 1950s kiddie crafts.  Just out of curiosity,  how many of you folks under 35 know what a “sachet” is? I honestly don’t think I have heard that term in ages.  Also, since we are talking 1950s, is it just me or is this style of illustration a bit creepy?  I think the people look a bit like casting for Children of the Corn.


Aprons for Dad and Brother

apron pattern

Mother and Daughter Aprons

apron pattern

paper play


  1. I don’t think a child the age of the cover girl would be allowed to hold a needle these days.

  2. Martha could take these ideas and a photographer and make a million dollars. It’s all in the packaging. There really is nothing new under the sun, just a way to make it look new.

  3. I don’t think I’ll be making the Al-Jolson-Aunt-Jemima-bean-bag-sachet with my children. <<>>

  4. I have owned this book since I was a small child (of the 60s). I was a crafty kid, but many of the projects were well beyond my abilities. They required tools (linoleum cutter, saw, drill) or chemicals (varnish, ammonia) or had directions like these: “Use inexpensive artist’s oil colors and turpentine with a few drops of Japan drier added. Paint with a small camel’s hair brush, using firm strokes.” (From how to paint “ordinary objects around the house with cheery Pennsylvania Dutch designs.”) Riiiiight.

    Still use the recipe for the crystal garden, though! Yeah, the one with bluing and AMMONIA and not a safety warning in sight.

  5. They appear to subscribe to LIFE (last scan) and some magazine with flowers on it.

    Isn’t a sachet something you put smelling things in to perfume the place up?

    I find it interesting that Father is barbecuing but Brother is a carpenter!

  6. Haha, I don’t think I know any young girls who would know what to do with a needle and thread, much less an apron pattern. And is it just me, or does the bean bag look vaguely racist?

  7. I *really* want this book! Simple crafts for kids- YES! I’m a Girl Scout Daisy Leader, as part of my librarian alter-ego, and some of these things look easy enough for my girls to do! Of course, we’ll use some modern-day techniques to “sew down” the edges (fabric glue all the way with my Daisies!) and then they’ll have something to use for camp! Found it used on Amazon for $15- whee! I wish discarded books had some sort of holding place, so we could buy them from their former home before they’re trashed.

  8. In addition to the previously noted racist beenbag, notice that the cover features a boy wielding a hammer, but the girl is plying a needle. Holy hetero-normative imperative, Batman!

  9. I would love to own this just because of this historical significance. I agree–the mammy beanbag could be more sensitive. However, that could easily be redone–turn it into a dog with folded ears or something similar.

  10. Boys can cut out pictures of cars, while girls cut out fashion pics!
    Good to know.

    I am over 35, but I own a sachet. Didn’t make it myself, though!

  11. i dont find anything racist about the beanbag because i have seen plenty of black ladies that looked just like that, down to the kerchief.
    that aside, i think its an adorable book with lots of great ideas.
    *just talked to my co-worker on facebook who is not only black, but she has a bandana wrapped around her head just like that as we speak, and even she said its not racist!*

  12. I love checking each day to see your AWFUL LIBRARY BOOKS! Imagine my surprise today when I see MY favorite book! Haha, I actually own this book and it was my favorite as a kid in the late 50’s. It was my go to book on a rainy day. I loved to make the crafts in this book, especially the rabbit from a folded washcloth. I think I even carved the pig out of wood also.

  13. I love these old 50’s children’s books. They usually show pure-white young members of the Aryan race in clearly cut gender roles (and un-ambiguous clothing) making representations of other cultures and peoples that they’d never be allowed to have any contact with in real life.
    If THAT isn’t funny, I don’t know what is.

  14. I’m under 35 and know what a sachet is. Perhaps my Girl Scout troop leaders had this very book!

  15. I have this book, kind of. It was my grandmothers from the 50s /60s, and been a hands on kind nan, she used this book to make crafts with us as a child (mid nineties). I loved it!

  16. Julie: That was my first thought!

    I adore and collect vintage craft books, so I must have this! Love those slightly creepy politically incorrect illustrations.

  17. I agree with Kathi Fly. i made many of the crafts in this book, and even now 50 years later have trouble discarding an empty oatmeal box (potential doll cradle, yarn holder…). After it was passed down through 3 younger siblings, it’s in pretty rough shape, but I treaure it.

  18. I have a sachet made out of flowers from my wedding! And I’ve only been married 5 years, so people still make sachets. I do, anyway.

  19. I’d actually like to see the stuffed animal patterns, I love vintage stuff like that.

  20. Great craft ideas for kids, though…although the sewing is probably tedious and needless for kids today. But still, why, oh why didn’t my mom and I have matching aprons? I’d be cooking in style! I wish I could make the craft project with the paper cars and old maps, but shoot, it’s ONLY for boys!

  21. I LOVE this book! I would totally get it! And, to the comment that no kids know how to sew these days, my nine year old daughter has been sewing for 3 years and regularly sews little bags/figures/whatever she thinks up (and yes, even sachets!), and my 7 year old son has sewn little pillows. It’s not the kids that don’t sew…it’s the PARENTS who don’t sew and so don’t teach their kids to sew. This book is awesome.

  22. WANT. Warts and all.

    I think basic handsewing is a skill everyone should learn because being able to make simple repairs to your own clothes can save a lot of money.

  23. I was already an Information Specialist rather than a crafter in those days. My favorite book was Golden’s “Question and Answer Book” and I learned everything I needed to know from it!

  24. I am 26 and my grandma had a copy of this book when I was growing up! I LOVED it! I wish I still had it– I think she gave it to my cousins once I was grown up and it didn’t survive them. Wow, thanks for the memories 😉

  25. Oh man, I totally had this book growing up too. Is this the one with the bird feeder? Oh, how I longed to be a dude and make that bird feeder.

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