Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label repurpose books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label repurpose books. 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




Repurpose: Bookish headboards, Anthro style




The Anthropologie store I frequent most is on Southport Ave (Chicago). By "most" I mean I get myself there once every six months, if I'm lucky. And even if their sale section doesn't deliver, some in-store display will make it worth my while. This wonderful version of a bookish headboard was on show a couple of weeks ago and even made my three-year-old stare. 

If you'd like to create some version of this for yourself, I have two older posts dedicated to a book headboard DIYs:  Here and here.  


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





The folk at Woman's Day tweaked my idea a lot, but here's the original (which I have to admit a like a lot more) and tutorial:

Image credit: Julia Brenner


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!




Green Crafts Showcase









Upcycle: A well lit book ... {book lights}


I've made book clocks, book folds and book "clutches". But never a book light. So I set out to find a tutorial and, as usual, got overwhelmed by options. And, as usual, gathered them here instead of actually making the light I still want to make. Ten inspiring ideas and tutorials for you ... Enjoy!

DIY: Wearing knowledge ...


Once upon a time, I went on a virtual quest for book-page jewelry ... or book-paper beads.  I found some great tutorials and gathered them together in a story (post) called Wearable Words that has, to date, been viewed over 25,000 times. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks it's cool to wear knowledge... !!  So here's wearable words, Part II - mostly not jewelry.  Another 14 ideas for making sure your thoughts are on your shoes / head / arm / nails etc.  (warning: bad puns and corny wordplay ahead...)