Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Made from books

First I have to say that I'm a reader, and a hoarder, and I hoard books before almost anything else.  Finding a new bookshop, the small quirky local ones, makes a day super special.  I always like to buy something from the small bookshops, but it takes a while to figure out what sort of things are their specialty, and does this sit well with the things I like too?  If not, then I have to find something for someone else, and I know there WILL be something if I keep looking.

So having said all that, and owning up to having many many linear metres of book shelves, and a few piles in odd places (beside my favourite chair, on a side table, under a side table, on the seat in the hallway)...........I also know there are lots of books which are a waste of paper.  Sorry to those authors, but its true.  Combine this with me hating to waste anything that just might come in handy (see hoarder note above), and you'll understand why this post is about re-purposing pages......

The quickest things to make are flowers, and they can be as neat or as random as you like.  There are 3x in the photograph, and all are made by drawing a spiral on a page torn from a paperback.  All you have to do is cut along the line you drew, right into the centre which you leave as a vaguely round shape.  Starting from the outside edge of the spiral, curl it in on  itself, as if you were quilling.  It might help to roll it around a toothpick to begin, but then you'll be able to finish it fwithout.  It wont be neat.  Using a hot glue gun, put a blob of glue on the centre of the spiral while you hold the rest that you've rolled up.  Carefully letting go of the roll will uncurl it a little and if you quickly push the cut edges down into the glue, it will become a flower like the ones above.  There are kaisercraft dies which will cut the spiral for you if you like things very tidy.  Cutting a spiral freehand (no lines to follow) will give you an even more random finish to your flower.  And some will turn out better than others.

Try using pages with illustrations or chapter headings to give your curls some extra interest.

Also easy to make are birds to hang, and they use the simplest method of two shapes (body and wings) which are threaded together by aligning a scissor cut in each shape.  You can see the pieces above, and the finished bird is in the foreground of the first photograph.  These birds are very flimsy and if you REALLY want to make them from book pages, glue two together first to give you a material with more strength.  Card stock is perfect, and being double-sided, you get two birds for the price of one.

My favourite recycled book product is a piece of fruit cut from the pages and using the original spine of the book to form the core.  Each piece takes about an hour of cutting, using a template and a utility knife.  If the paper is cheap and soft, it can be hard to get a crisp edge, so that's where your scalpel and lots of patience comes in handy.  That's a pear coming to life in this photograph.....

Once the shape is good, you need to bend the spine back on itself, like those old-fashioned paper decorations, and glue it.  Strengthen the spine by gluing a drinking straw wrapped in paper into the centre before gluing the first and last pages together, and holding them fast with clothes pegs until the glue dries.  I like to add a twig and sometimes a paper leaf.

Last of all are Christmas baubles...........all you need are large paper punches of symmetrical shapes (circle, square etc).  Cut out 6x whatever shape you choose, for each bauble.  Fold each in half (that's why the shape must be symmetrical).  Glue each half shape to the one before it, enclosing a loop of thread so you  can hang the bauble when its dry.  I used my biggest circle punch (3 inch) for the round ones, and then tried a square (2 inch) folded on the diagonal for the other.

....and now I have two less books, and lots of vintage paper crafts around the house this Christmas.