Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label book art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book art. Show all posts

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: Bookish Valentine ...




I took pictures of books to share with you. I never do that! How incredibly novel of me ... :)  Have a happy day.

DIY: Another bookish headboard ...


A while back I linked to an awesome book headboard DIY.  My friend Terri had been threatening for years to create such a thing ... apparently this tutorial was the fire she needed. Her wonderful creation is pictured above ... a work of art doubling as a headboard. Now I want one. Really badly.  

Upcycle: Seasonal Book ReFabs!


A little Harvest, a little Halloween... A little seasonal book refabbing? Yes! 

1) A ghost of centerpieces past
2) Paperback Jack-Kerouack-O-Lanterns
3) A Book Pumpkin  (Bumpkin?)


Upcycle: Book Page Luminaries (Paper Bottles)


Last week I posted a tutorial that involved a simple upcycle of a bottle. Today's tutorial involves a little more work. But really very little. Please note: I created this "paper bottle" for my own use and I'm sharing the steps I took. Complete instructions after the jump.

Upcycle: Book Folding from Budget Living ...






Back in January I compiled a post on book folding and mentioned that my own attempts (pictured below) had been inspired by a long-ago issue of Budget Living Magazine. In June I was asked to please share the instructions from Budget Living. I couldn't find them. Of course. And then, the other day, there they were!  Folded (!) at the bottom of a box of old catalogs and things I've been storing. So I've done my best to share them ... and make them usable:



Repurpose: Book Page Vases ...



Hello lovely reader folk. You all know I love creating with old book pages etc. Inspired by some things I've seen recently, I wanted to take a stab at creating a simple, cheap-n-cheerful "paper bottle". Today I'm showing you the steps for my first attempt. There's another, slightly more complex version, on the way (see the pic below). Read on for the tutorial ...

Upcycle: Filling cabinet gets re-booked!


Ok - it's another filing-cabinet refab. But she did it with book pages!! And you know me and book pages. And it looks amazing ... right? Complete how-to at The Space Between

Book Spine Poetry: Home Vol 3


The unbearable lightness of
being the shadow of the 
wind, all over creation
changing planes ....

Book Spine Poetry: Creativity Vol 1


When you have to be creative for a living (and always within deadlines), creativity = work. And the best creative results often get tossed out the window thanks to trademark issues and copyright laws.  When the creativity involves products for children, it can get weird sometimes.  I thought I should explain a little... just in case I appear to be losing my mind. 

Book Spine Poetry: Home Vol 2


Musings on the meaning of Home ... Vol 2.

Book Spine Poetry: Home - Vol1


I was inspired by the book-spine poetry at Brain Pickings.  So here's my first run at it.  Musings on the meaning of "home" ... Vol 1.

Upcycle: Book page pinwheels...



Love this.  Use pages from an old kid's picture book to make pinwheel cupcake toppers ... 


Recycle: Wordy birdies ...

I made a little spring mobile for myself.  This would be a fun craft to do with kids - very easy! The complete instructions (including printable template) are via Joann Fabrics. Their craft is all about promoting an embossing machine.  Without that, it becomes cheap and easy:  you need paper/ cardstock, mini brats, a hole punch and string or ribbon.  Now that I've actually made them, I will add a couple of tips.


DIY: With carefully crafted words, I thee wed


A year (and a day) ago, Terri and Adam got married (Happy Anniversary!).  

Terri Falvey is a crazy-talented copywriter/graphic designer ... who kinda likes books - we once taught reading classes together.  She married someone who apparently shares her interests  :)

Anyways, their wedding was a masterpiece of text/book-inspired craft, art, DIY, repurposing ... you name it. I've been meaning to ask permission to blog about it for ... er ... about a year now. So, on with the post.

(Photos by Edyta Szyszlo - please do not download without permission)

DIY: A Book of (chocolate) Love ...


Since Feb 1st, I've been actively avoiding posts, sites, blogs etc featuring valentine "crafts" ... let's just say that I can't see the talent for the pink haze ... aaaahhhh!  So it takes a lot to make me look twice right now.  And this made me look.  Because it's a re-purposed book.  Because it's a really nicely done tutorial that will get you a decent result (cutting out a book with a craft knife is hard work - pay attention to the "short cut"!) ... and because I wish I'd thought of it!  Check out "Life is a Book of Chocolates"

DIY: Wearable words ...


When I was looking around for tutorials on making paper beads, I found some really striking "book beads" and accessories, now collected in this post.  I understand (after all the browsing) that you can make really durable "beads" easily ... very little time, skill or money required.  Woohoo!  Who doesn't need more jewelery?  (UPDATE 6/12: See the follow up post for more wordy accessories)

DIY: Paper-bead bookmark


Christmas 2005 was the holiday of the "book stuff".  I churned out book clocks (something I'll post about one day) and what I called "book-Its" by the dozen, both as gifts and to make a little extra cash.  Turns out those book-Its started to show a little wear towards the end of 2011 and a few friends have asked for another one... because it's their "go to" bookmark.  Since I'm making them anyway, here's a little how to.  They could not be simpler to make!  So here goes ... (Hit "Read More" for the full tutorial)

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.









Recycle: Magazine trees...


Here's a super simple book fold! I love this because it's way to work with magazines and journals, which are rarely good for folding.




Find the full tutorial here.