This review article presents recent advances in the field of bottom-up synthetic biology, with a focus on the development of complex synthetic cells from simpler functional modules. The state of the art in this field is rich with new materials, strategies, and methods that provide a comprehensive toolbox to researchers interested in developing life-like systems. Our review article provides a critical collection of selected examples from the synthetic bottom-up biology toolbox. The information in our review article is organized from bottom to top, with basic modules presented first before discussing integrated systems. This review article will help researchers understand the current challenges in the field of bottom-up synthetic biology and inspire new technological applications in biomedicine, tissue engineering, and life-like materials chemistry.