the ReFab Diaries: upcycled books
Showing posts with label upcycled books

"Everything deserves a second chance, especially old books." - SproutingStories.


If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I have a board dedicated to upcycled books, which is how I found SproutingStories, my new favorite book upcycler!

Get 20% off your own handmade, succulent book planter. 

Grab the code at the bottom of the post.





Happy Sunday! This post is about a whimsical way to repurpose book pages. But first, a little reflection on the value of whimsy.

“You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.” - Mary Oliver


I've done both, and now I can see how they're related. Have you ever lost your whimsy? In "Where's my Whimsy?",  Rachel Glaser reflects on her loss:

Yup - I made a Valentine's Day thing. Mostly because I was inspired by Pillar Box Blue's upcycled map hearts. They're so easy to make and such a great way to repurpose magazines, old book pages and, apparently, maps. Also, sewing paper is fun!

Happy Sunday! Here's a quick DIY for you. What you need:


  • Old book pages
  • Mod Podge, scissors and tape
  • Hole punch and material for handles (twine, tape, ribbon)
  • A big hard-back book (or a box from your recycling) for sizing the bag

Once upon a time ... a friend and I ran a little business called Rebooked. It involved a LOT of work for very little return, but we were unemployed... we had nothing but time. And we learned a lot about upcycling old books! So much, in fact, that I've enjoyed working with them ever since. When we set out to make book clocks (2004), there were no online tutorials to be found. So there was a lot of trial and error (and swearing) involved. The first ones were so much work, I still have one on the wall (above) as a reminder. Today, it's pretty easy to find really good instructions from lots of talented people. Keep reading for my instructions, and a list of my favorite tutorials


Old encyclopedias ... big, heavy and out-of-date content wise. So how about turning them into sturdy bookshelves? The "bookshelves made of books" thing never gets old. I love the twist on this one and the fun color choice. Complete how-to at Instructables









It's been a bit quiet around here lately ... my apologies. I got a new (full-time) job and writing new posts (or making anything myself) has had to take a back seat. But check this out! Remember my book vase/planter? I entered it into a Woman's Day DIY challenge and it won!

They've tweaked my idea pretty significantly and ultimately gutted more books than I'd like... but hey, I'm happy for the nod. Click here to see my original, much simpler Book 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!








Repurposing books for home-decor purposes is a niche obsession of mine. In case you hadn't noticed. And my obsession is enabled by a few of my friends who share it. And regularly run with it! One of those friends is Terri, whose projects (and word-themed wedding!) have found their way onto my blog a couple of times now. But guess what? I can now show you her entire home, thanks to Julia Brenner at Apartment Therapy!  Julia published Terri and Adam's home tour on Friday ... and it's awesome. My add on from the tour: links to tutorials to make some of the book-upcycles you see. 

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).








 So yes ... every now and then I have to indulge the rebooked in me.  I love books as artifacts as well as things to read.  Nicholas Jones does the unimaginable with my favorite artifacts!!  



© the ReFab Diaries · THEME BY WATDESIGNEXPRESS