What is a gender neutral craft I can make from book pages?
January 22, 2016 4:12 PM   Subscribe

I need to make an "I'm sorry" present. What are some gender neutral (or minimally feminine) crafts I can make from pages of a book?

Long story short: I accidentally destroyed a very sentimental book that belonged to my partner. There are about 100 pages undamaged (regular paperback size) that are salvageable. I'd like to make them into some sort of keepsake for him as a way to soften the blow for his loss.

He's not particularly turned off by "girly" things, and I know he'll appreciate anything I do. Ideas:
Decoupage-but what? He doesn't own many things, other than books. He's not a stuff person. But he loves hanging art on the wall. I'm artistically inclined, so making wall art would be great.
Paper beads on some sort of cord bracelet. He doesnt wear jewelry, but he's not opposed.

Aaand... that's all I've got. please help!
posted by FirstMateKate to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's unclear that he already knows that this has happened. If he doesn't, making at thing without his permission is kinda of disrespectful. It's his thing to mourn the loss of. That may not include you doing anything with it. He may just prefer to keep the remnants in a plastic bag under the bed. I know you feel terrible, but you may need to let this rest a bit if this was a thing that had deep sentimental meaning for him.
posted by mimo at 4:24 PM on January 22, 2016 [14 favorites]

Hmm ... the things you're proposing seem like they would end up destroying (or at least, rendering less legible than they currently are) the remaining undamaged pages. If it were a sentimental book of mine, what I would want most is to keep the remaining pages as booklike as possible. My initial reaction would be to say to find another way to apologize; if you must do something with the book, can you re-bind them for him?
posted by DingoMutt at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2016 [21 favorites]

I made a flag banner from a ripped book. I chose some flags that represented my genealogy but if he was into travel you could do that, too.

Here they are
posted by ReluctantViking at 4:25 PM on January 22, 2016

Sorry, to answer your question, if he is OK with it, you could use some pages as a background mat for a smaller piece of art or photo related to the book. For example, cover art from the book or a picture of him with the person who gave him the book. But really, having the thing around staring him in the face might be wearing and continually depressing.
posted by mimo at 4:28 PM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wall a bookcase
posted by DarlingBri at 4:47 PM on January 22, 2016

Wall art.
posted by evilmomlady at 4:50 PM on January 22, 2016

What about creatively rebinding them with as nice a decorative cover as you can manage? Maybe that way it will be as close to the original as possible? Maybe get another copy of the book and use that cover for the rebinding?

Or you know, what DingoMutt just said....
posted by Beti at 5:02 PM on January 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, I would think about something more like kintsugi, a loving reconstruction that does not try to hide itself or the damage, but returns the book to a functional state in a beautiful way, such that the damage becomes part of its story. Use pages from a similar edition of the book as necessary, etc. (If it is a scrapbook or photo-album such that pages from a similar edition are blank pages, then you'll know best whether to leave them blank for future use or to fill them yourself)
posted by anonymisc at 5:28 PM on January 22, 2016 [13 favorites]

Are the pages still bound? You could try carving the book.
posted by heart's ease at 5:41 PM on January 22, 2016

You could turn it into a book safe (looks like a book, but has a secret hole in the middle where you can hide keys or other small objects). Google "how to make a book safe" for lots of instructions. However, this would probably destroy the remaining pages.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:42 PM on January 22, 2016

You can make paper art or origami. This is more often done with sheet music, so search 'sheet music origami' and you'll be led into a beautiful world of sculpture and ideas.
posted by hydra77 at 6:08 PM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I decoupaged a coffee table with pages from a book once.

(warning though that with repeated feet on table there was wear and tear eventually. A good coat of acrylic would have helped, or just more coats of Mod Podge, but I was too lazy to keep layering)
posted by Caravantea at 6:43 PM on January 22, 2016

Ask him what he wants. If someone did this to an object I cared about that was damaged without asking me, I'd be furious. Accidents happen, and I would of course forgive an accident, but I would be so, so angry and upset if the accident were compounded by intentionally destroying the rest of the item. Please do not intentionally alter or destroy the rest of the item without his express permission, and without being certain that's what he prefers.
posted by decathecting at 7:39 PM on January 22, 2016 [8 favorites]

(I'm going to treat you like an an adult and not assurm you're wantonly doing this against the wishes of the owner of the book. Cripes people, patronising much?)

Decoupage stag head?

A friend did this for her friends as a wedding present in the sheet music of their favourite piece of music. She did it on a flat puzzle version of a stag head, but it also looks good on a 3D type.

posted by taff at 8:01 PM on January 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Is there a passage or section in the book that they find particulary meaningful? You could carefully x-acto out each line of the passage, leaving a little of the margin at each end, and glue the lines together such that they form a continous single line of text. Then take the resulting strip and put it, coiled, text-side-out, in a small clear glass vial or bottle.
posted by generalist at 10:04 PM on January 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

You could decoupage a picture frame, and put a picture in the frame that relates to the book or its original giver somehow.
posted by christinetheslp at 11:09 PM on January 22, 2016

If you have the skills to do a drawing or painting, you could make a very striking piece using some theme from the book and using the pages as the canvas. There are tons of examples on Google image search. Also search for painting on newspaper pages in addition to book pages.
posted by CathyG at 8:07 AM on January 23, 2016

I thought it would be obvious by stating "He will appreciate anything that I come up with" that
1)Of course he knows about the damage to the book. And
2)He is ok with me using the remnants for something (otherwise it's just going in the trash)
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:02 AM on January 25, 2016

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