Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label book folding instructions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book folding instructions. Show all posts

Waste? Not! - Day 4 Beautiful waste




I see treasure in trash. I thinks there's joy in junk, wonder in waste. I've been showing you my upcycles, alley grabs, refabs, roadkill rescues and refashions for 6 years. As I contemplate the next step in trimming my waste (so to speak), here's a round up of some of my favorites tutorials.

1 and 2. Aluminum Cans 
Specifically, local (Chicago) craft beer cans. I love good beer and supporting local brewers. And I'm often distracted by the beautiful design featured on the cans. So much so, I thought they were worthy of jewelry. Save a few cans from your recycling and make your own geometric necklace or flower pin

3. Book Folding (if you're a book lover, please know that I am too. Here's my argument for why I think crafting with books is acceptable)
By far the most popular post on the blog, folded books make beautiful wall decor. It's a great way to repurpose a book that no one (and I mean no one) will ever read again. For example, old reference books, recipe books and city guides.

4. Negatives 
If you're keeping old negatives, ask yourself why? If you've lost the pictures, go get them printed! Then turn the negatives into something beautiful. Earrings, a necklace or create something decorative for your home

5. Pages of old books
There are so many ways to use book pages! Make your own paper beads then use them to make a bookmark. Or...
6. Big reference books 
Huge old encyclopedias are too big for bookfolds. So I made a book vase and won a Womens' Day Challenge for my trouble. I've also turned books into clocks and purses

7. Guitar strings
I played guitar regularly for 12+ years. I threw out so many broken strings in that time. What a waste! I could have made bunches of these beautiful flowers. And if you have an old, broken guitar lying around, here's a round of ways you could repurpose it.

8. Postage stamps (or any other pretty paper)
Betsy Siber makes beautiful jewelry out of stamps from around the world. This earring tutorial she created for me a few years ago is still a favorite. And here are other ideas for things you can do with old stamps.

Looking for more ideas? There's a long list of repurposing ideas in the sidebar. Lots of tutorials here and big roundups here




Upcycle: Book folding - Free patterns

In defense of making art from old books:

I love books. I am a "reader" in every sense of the word - I devoured them as child, I have a PhD in linguistics, I was a reading teacher for 7 years, I'm a full-time copywriter, I have a kid's book "in the works" and I revere authors.  

However, there are mountains of old books out there that will never be read again. Never. It's a truth. Ask your local library about the life-cycle of its books - do not be surprised if you're told that many are, ultimately, sent to a landfill. Why? Because after trying to sell them and/or donate them, only a percentage can be recycled. Why? Because those that are bound in hard covers (especially fabric ones) cannot be recycled. There are also issues with antique binding methods (the glue, the thread etc). Yup. Books end up as garbage.


Besides the waste issue, I also want to point out that vintage or antique status doesn't exonerate poorly written, poorly researched, offensive, racist, sexist, outdated material. It's still unreadable and/or cringeworthy pulp that reflects a world none of us want to go back to. But now it's pulp on beautifully yellowed paper wrapped in a lovely hardback cover (that cannot be recycled). 

How great then that we can still celebrate the artifact that is "the book". With information so easily accessible in other forms, I think books are coming to be valued for something else ... for their form, for what they represent. They have a life of their own.  

Finally, I point you to Guy Laramee's Carved Book Landscapes and ask: do we toss mountains of completely useless encyclopedias into landfills or turn them into art? I say ART. 

Rant over. Let's make some art! 

There once was a magazine called Budget Living that folded pretty quickly (ha!). I loved it and ripped out many many pages of great ideas.  






Decorating with books in unusual ways was one of those ideas. Their book folding project was inspired by the art of Mary Bennett:







Thanks to Budget Living, I've made quite a few "book folds" for myself - they decorate a wall in my home (pictured below). For the original BL instructions, follow this link


Note: I cut up an old calendar featuring "maps of the old world" and glued them into the covers of the top two. The book at the bottom already featured graphics on the inside covers.

The kind of folding I've done is simple - no real pattern required but I definitely inspired by the Budget Living feature. If you'd like to start easy, see my tutorial using an old kid's book. I also have a full tutorial for a hanging book fold.







This pretty display is care of BHG. Please note that they have NO instructions attached to their idea, nor do they credit anyone for this idea (it's "theirs"). I'm only including it here because I really like the grouping. See below for links to actual instructions for folds, which you could then group on a wall like this. How to hang them? Click here


Find more step-by-step instructions for simple folds at:



Frugal Upstate 



Sutherland Shire Libraries (Video Tutorial using a paperback)




Homeroad (folded book organizer)



Creative Tryals (book trees)




Pandora's Craftbox




Instructables (folding a heart)



Inverted heart video 



A Whimsy Willow (some great basic folds)



A couple of great sculpting videos by Johwey Redington and another here.




Book hedgehog video 



Kid-friendly magazine hearts! 

If you want to try your hand at something more complex, clever and ornate take a look at the amazing patterns offered free by Rhymes With Magic:  






And how do you hang your masterpiece on a wall? Click here for my suggestion.