What other book crafts can I do?
March 23, 2012 11:39 PM   Subscribe

I want to do something crafty and fun with old books.

I like to think of myself as a book rescuer, but in reality I just like quirky covers. However, I'd like to start culling my shelves, while at the same time finding a creative outlet for my stressed-out grad school brain. So: crafts!

I've already heard about making book purses. For that, I'm using The Looking Glass War, which is a pretty but stupid book.

I'm presently waiting for the glue to dry on my copy of Lore of the Unicorn, which I'm trying (and possibly failing) to make into a Kindle cover.

What other things should I try? I've got a lot of books, glue, access to the craft section of Walmart, and a partner willing to help me glue things. I suck at sewing, but don't mind learning more about it. Drawing is an impossibility for me, but I can mod podge with the best of them. Assume these crafts are more for my personal satisfaction then for anything else.

Bonus points if you can think of things I can do with SOFTCOVER books, because that copy of Magical Herbs and Witchy Spells is not going to mutilate itself!
posted by spunweb to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
You can make roses out of the pages, and then wreaths or frames or ornaments or other art out of the roses. Kinda pretty. I also cut up damaged picture books to make Postcrossing cards.
posted by mochapickle at 11:44 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I say decoupage. Decoupage what? Anything.

My latest obsession is refinishing old furniture, and I plan to do the drawers on my thrift-store dresser in random bits of poetry; a less formidable project could be the top of an end table, a trinket box, a wide picture frame...

Alternatively, you can make some cool art depending on the style of books you have; I had an old-world antique map cut from the inside cover of an atlas as a living room wall centerpiece for ages and got complimented on it all the time.
posted by celtalitha at 11:46 PM on March 23, 2012

How about using the covers to make your own notebooks? There are some great examples for sale on Etsy.
posted by Intaglio a go-go at 12:08 AM on March 24, 2012

Origami or kirigami with individual pages? Cutting the pages to make pop-up books?

I've seen instructions for hollow books (to be used as gift boxes, or for stashes of secret stuff) that involve hardening the pages with glue; that might work for paperbacks, if they're not too thin.

Also, Google Image searches for "altered books" and "book sculpture" turn up some seriously cool stuff.
posted by Bufo_periglenes at 12:11 AM on March 24, 2012

My sister just sent me this link the other day: Book Wall Decorations
posted by book 'em dano at 12:38 AM on March 24, 2012

You can make a super cool Book Lamp!
posted by jbenben at 1:45 AM on March 24, 2012

My aunt and uncle have a broom closet in their house that's entirely papered with carefully collaged New Yorker covers. It's like a hidden secret that you only find when you pull the string for the light when you're trying to find the right kind of window cleaner. You could do something similar with paperback covers - maybe you have a cubby or a column somewhere? I think they cleaned the walls, used waterbased adhesive on the magazine covers, and then after everything was good and dry put varnish on the walls. You'd want to make sure that you're using covers with a uniform thickness, or maybe you could use the interior pages of one or two related books? Something with charts?
posted by Mizu at 2:02 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

You might like the book: The Repurposed Library
posted by vitabellosi at 3:51 AM on March 24, 2012

I have made a few secret compartment books for people.
This kind of thing though is best when the book will blend in with other books on the shelf.
You want your secret book to look like just another boring book on the shelf - not something old and interesting.
posted by Flood at 4:17 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Invisible book shelf!
posted by Sassyfras at 6:54 AM on March 24, 2012

I'm a book rescuer too. I make other books from them, cutting up the pages, sewing/pasting them back together in interesting ways, practicing my bookbinding for when I really need to fix something. I've been slowly working my way through Esther K. Smith's How to Make Books, using other books as my paper source.
posted by carsonb at 8:30 AM on March 24, 2012

If you have windows that are not treated, old book pages with images make for great paper blinds. I saw this at a local store in MS. The owner of the store sewed the book pages together with a straight stitch on her sewing machine (like making a paper quilt) then folded them like a fan, and voila! Paper blind. It was way cool.

For hard-backed books, I like making piggy banks out of them. And for paperbacks, I use the covers (as mochapickle suggested) to make postcards. Works great!
posted by patheral at 8:51 AM on March 24, 2012

Make some hollow books to keep things in. Cut out a hole, add some mod podge. Line the hole in felt, paint the hole, or leave as is. If you want more detailed instructions, memail me.
posted by freshwater at 10:13 AM on March 24, 2012

Bud Vases! I made tons of these for centerpieces at my wedding. I found it works best with thick, old mass market paperbacks -- they make cute little baby vases.
posted by inging at 11:51 AM on March 24, 2012

Travel sewing kit, or hidden on a bookshelf
posted by peachtree at 12:46 AM on March 25, 2012

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