Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World

Front Cover
Portfolio, 2010 - Crafts & Hobbies - 241 pages

'The problem wasn't how much money we were spending, it was how we were spending our time. Did we really want to raise our kids in an environment of prepackaged diversions, theme-park rides, trips to the mall, freeway traffic, and incessant e-mails?'
-from Made by Hand

From his unique vantage point as editor-in-chief of Makemagazine, the hub of the newly invigorated do-it-yourself movement, Mark Frauenfelder takes readers on an inspiring and surprising tour of the vibrant world of DIY. The Internet has brought together large communities of people who share ideas, tips, and blueprints for making everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to pedal- powered iPhone chargers to an automatic cat feeder jury-rigged from a VCR.

DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits. Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering a path that was simple, direct, and clear. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.

Frauenfelder also reveals how DIY is changing our culture for the better. He profiles fascinating 'alpha makers' leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights.

Beginning his journey with hands as smooth as those of a typical geek, Frauenfelder offers a unique perspective on how earning a few calluses can be far more rewarding and satisfying than another trip to the mall.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LibrarianJen - LibraryThing

Frauenfelder takes an entertaining but shallow look at some of the projects he took on throughout the first decade of the 2000s. I had hoped for more of a critique of the "throwaway world" as hinted in the title. The book peters out in the second half. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - soam - LibraryThing

A very simple but enjoyable book. Very motivational at first and then it gets settled in, but is still readable. Would have been better if some DIY plans were included to get people started on projects. I plan to build a cigar box guitar like the author. Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Mark Frauenfelder is the cofounder of the most popular blog in the world,, with more than 5 million unique visitors a month. He is also the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, the leading publication of the do-it-yourself movement. He has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and The Colbert Report and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, The Hollywood Reporter, CNN, and Business 2.0. He lives in Los Angeles.


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