4/28/13

Repurpose: Old book + Used packaging = Book Planter/Vase





The folk at Woman's Day tweaked the idea, but here's the original tutorial:


I haven't refabbed a book in ages ... but on Friday a friend shared a link to this designer "book shaped flower pot" and wondered if she could make it herself. I said... um, yes! Then I scoured my office for materials and here's how it went  :)




I obviously wanted to make this entirely upcycled. This meant a book otherwise destined for a landfill. And an internal container that is somehow "post consumer".  I quickly found the dated reference book on the "donate" pile in our office lunch room. Then I had to find a container of some sort that was either the width of the book or narrower. I almost gave up, then I found the rigid plastic rectangle you see pictured. It looks like technology packaging - I'm not sure, I found it at work (yes, I have a day job). So, here's what you need:

1. A large (used!) hardback book
2. Rigid plastic packaging (see below for the modification I had to make)
3. Mod Podge
4. A good craft knife

And what if you find a book that's a perfect size but you hate the title? You don't want to go to the trouble of making something like this if you don't want to display it in your home! Head to this wonderful post full of ideas (and tutorials) for covering old books.



Step 1:  Cut, cut, cut

Ideally, you'd use a plastic box that fit perfectly inside the book cover, like the designer version. However, without going out and buying something, this will be tricky to pull off. So my work around: Create a shelf inside the book to hold the much smaller container I found. I decided approx how low it could sit inside the book (about halfway down) and that's where I cut. If you've done anything like this before, then you know it takes a little time. And perfectly straight lines are hard to achieve. Happily, this is a really forgiving project. And the cutting took about 20 mins. I cut about halfway into the book then started ripping the pages out. After that, I tore them out as I cut.




Step 2:  Glue!

Apply glue/Mod Podge inside the covers. Then hold the book closed and pour in the Mod Podge. And I do mean pour. The stuff is miraculous, but only if you're generous. Rub it into the pages both inside and out. You're creating a seal that will hold the whole block together beautifully. So be a kid for a minute and get your hand dirty. Only one hand - you need the other to hold the book (or camera, if you're me!).




Step 3: Weight and wait...

Once you're happy with your smearing job, weight it all down with a few, umm, books. You see the Mod Podge drips? Immediately after a took this picture, I worked them into the pages.




Step 4: Detour... 

It dried in a couple of hours. And guess what? Without its pages and with all the compression, it was suddenly a narrower space than I'd allowed for. This meant that my nice plastic box no longer fit into the book. So I scoured my home and finally found an almost-dead bottle of body wash that fit the space perfectly. A bit smaller than I really wanted, but fine for the purposes of this tutorial!  I cut off the top and was close to done.




Step 5: Plant a little knowledge...

I love Devil's Ivy (Pothos) because I haven't been able to kill it. And because you can cut pieces off a plant, pop them in water and they live happily. No soil required. So I used a few pieces in my new vase/planter because the repurposed bottle is too small for "real" planting. And because I prefer things that grow over cut flowers.



And there it is! It stands beautifully, thanks to the weight of all the paper still in there. (The little wire spider is from South Africa)





If you object to the idea of cutting up books, give me a minute to change your mind ... read this!




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