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

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out that vintage or antique status doesn't exonerate poorly written, poorly researched, offensive, racist, sexist, outdated material.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









Upcycle: When wire and paper hang out ....


If you know me, you know I love to decorate with books ... and pages of books.  This is a lovely, simple way to create something new from an old book (a chewed up kid's book perhaps?) and a wire hanger.  Mark Montano's Paper Flower key holder. 



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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.


Inspiration: Book art ...





I find almost any book "art" entrancing but these booklights (Pile of Lights) from In Every Tree would win the prize - if I had a prize to give away.  Sadly, they retail in Stockholm only ... perhaps they ship?


Book sculpture continues to fascinate and is quite do-able.  Check out my handiwork here and a super-simple tutorial here.  In essence,  grab a book you might otherwise donate and start folding.  You'll quickly see patterns emerge.  Or, you could use the following image as inspiration and stack them in some wonderful way.


Finally, you could take a stab (literally) at some serious book sculpting.  You need to work with a really sharp craft knife!  There are amazing "altered books" artists out there.  For example, the appropriately named  "King's Garden" below by Karen ..... of Karen's Whimsy.

Upcycle: Of Peacocks and Purses...


First, some inspiration. Thanks to my lovely friends and family, I had gift cards to burn at Anthropologie on my birthday. As always, the store styling was a distraction - I feel like I've tumbled down the rabbit hole the minute I walk through the doors! 


These amazing peacocks warranted pictures.  They're recycled-book sculptures - hard to see the print on the pages, but I assure you it's there. 


And now for a fabulous tutorial! When Kate and I were in serious "rebooked" mode (turning old books into clocks and wall sculptures) we tried this... the elusive "book purse". We failed miserably - they were neither attractive nor functional.  But how cool are these???  


  

Thanks to Chris at Curbly.com, not only can you follow an online video how-to, but they're also really good looking end products!  Now if only I could get my hands on a hard copy of "Nurse in Danger" ....  (first spotted at Crafting a Green World).




Book folding: Old kid's book becomes ART!

Etsy and Pinterest are awash with amazing "book art", "book folds" and "book sculpture".  If you can pick up a beautiful used artifact for $1 (25c!) that you can continue to appreciate in some meaningful way, do it. And when it comes to kids' books, what else are you going to do with the ones that have been chewed on, colored in, ripped or ridden like skateboards?



I discovered quite quickly that you need to start easy and practice. So, this really is the easiest "book fold" possible and it's reversible, i.e. you can unfold it and read it again. If you're looking for the popular grown-up tutorials on this blog, go here.





Old picture books can often look a little worse for the ware on the outside. So this is a great way to re-purpose something that is really colorful on the inside (and often sentimental in general) without ruining it.




This Sesame Street Treasury works really well because the inside covers are colorful - a work of art in themselves.  Get the tutorial after the jump!