Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

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out that vintage or antique status doesn't exonerate poorly written, poorly researched, offensive, racist, sexist, outdated material.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.  



book folding



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



book folding




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


book folding
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.




book folding



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:


book folding

Frugal Upstate 


book folding

Sutherland Shire Libraries (Video Tutorial using a paperback)



book folding

Homeroad (folded book organizer)



Creative Tryals (book trees)



book folding

Pandora's Craftbox



book folding

Instructables (folding a heart)


book folding

Inverted heart video 


book folding

A Whimsy Willow (some great basic folds)


book folding

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


book folding


Book hedgehog video 


book folding

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:  



book folding



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









13 comments on "Upcycle: Book folding - Free patterns"
  1. These are incredible. A great use for unwanted old books. They look fab!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey - thanks so much! They are really simple to make but when you group them, they really pop :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. IamSparticus1/29/12, 12:48 PM

    Good for you! Couldn't agree more! I found that if I do them on trains, I should bring a spare book and bone folder [whoever is siting next to me can't help themselves]. Thanks for the tutorials! They are much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for linking back!

    ReplyDelete
  5. GREAT to find you today. I'm making sure that our readers at Blue Velvet Chair know about your site. Thanks for sharing.

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you kidding??? You're one of my all-time-fav blogger folk ever ... I'm honored to have you anywhere near my little doodle pad. :)

      Delete
  6. Oh my All theese great ideas, a treasure chest full of inspiration! Have a lovely day!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Would you be willing to share some of the other instructions found in Budget Living? I'm really intrigued by this process!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl! You know what? I was just thinking that I need to go un-bury the box where I think those pages are hiding. I will use your request as extra motivation :) Meanwhile, definitely look at the links - those are good, simple demos.

      Delete
  8. Bless you! I, too, had torn the page out of Budget Living and was now ready to make my book art but couldn't find the instructions.

    ReplyDelete
  9. cool ideas !!!!!!love it.thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. thank you so very much for your free patterns, you inspired me to try them, again thank you for your gift

    ReplyDelete