Homesteading Books
Guides to DIY Building


Homesteading books by these professionals guided us from planning to completion of our three buildings with no contractors. We were both instructed and inspired by these authors.

Often we modified or adapted procedures found on these books to better suit our skills and need, but this short selection of books helped us succeed at DIY home building. You will find many of those adaptions in our section on DIY building.

We acknowledge that these are but a few of the many books on homesteading and DIY building now available. But after reviewing many of the current guides to homesteading, this is our selection. We have done well by following their guidance.

For your convenience, we have provided links directly to these books, often available used for less money than in a store, on the Amazon web site. Living in a remote rural area, we tend to rely heavily on mail order and have found it a real convenience, saving time and gas money.

The books are also typically available at bookstores and, in the case of the specific how-to books, in building supply stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.

We hope that you find these books as helpful as we have.

Happy Building!!


The Straw Bale House by Bill and Athena Steen, David Bainbridge with Daniel Eisenberg.
A great resource for DIY straw bale builders written by pioneers in straw bale building.
Bill and Athena have done workshops at their home, the Canelo Project, and as far away as Mexico and Northern Europe.

The Natural House by Daniel Chiras. Great information for many DIY building applications including cob, adobe and other materials.
The Natural Plaster Book: Earth, Lime, and Gypsum Plasters for Natural Homes by Guelberth and Chiras. Similar in format and quality of content to The Natural House. A great resource for DIY natural plaster.
Adobe: build it yourself by Paul Graham McHenry, Jr. published by University of Arizona Press, 1973. We referred to this for our adobe guest house. All we needed for successful adobe construction.
Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets by Jim Tolpin by Taunton Press, 2006. A great guide for the novice (as I was) cabinet maker. We saved thousands of dollars building our own kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
Bookshelves and Cabinets by Sunset Books. We found this a good guide to design and a supplement to Tolpin’s book.
Plumbing 1-2-3 by Home Depot (Meredith Press). All we needed to plumb our buildings. Great information on maintenance as well.
Complete Home Wiring by Sunset Books. Simple and straightforward. Lots of diagrams and pictures. We wired all our buildings with this book as a guide.
Routing and Shaping: Techniques for Better Woodworking by Nick Engler. We used this for learning the techniques necessary for building our cabinet doors and many other applications.
Router Basics by Patrick Spielman. A great help in using a tricky tool.
Masonry: Design, Build, Maintain by Editors of Creative Homeowner. For building our foundations and laying our flagstone deck, this was a great resource.

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