I have been having a spectacularly bad week. These things did not help much.
[This project is from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti.]
What you need to make this thing:
- book you no longer have use for
- craft or utility knife
- scissors (optional)
- paper for pages
- cutting mat
- straight edge
- rubber bands
- masking tape
- marker (optional)
- scrap wood
- drill with 3/16 bit
- book rings
I know a few things about putting blank pages in book covers (see here and here, for example). And this is pretty much the worst way to do it.
But I’m not fully committing to that statement because there is probably something even uglier out there somewhere.
I tried to use a book that has no real value—this was a medical encyclopedia from the 1950s that was pretty beat up and didn’t even have illustrations to use for art.
It’s a good thing I didn’t want to make it into a journal the way I usually do though, because as I tested the bond between the cover and the pages, the front cover just tore off.
Didn’t even have to cut it.
You don’t have to be super careful removing the text block from the spine here. Just don’t cut off your fingers. Once you have one side cut away from the cover you can usually cut the other side with scissors.
If you ARE looking to preserve the spine when you cut the cover off a book, cut very carefully with your knife and very close to the pages. Try to keep the book upright, and pay attention.
And that was the last useful shit I have to say about this trainwreck.
Cut the spine off the cover and use the knife and straightedge to trim near the cardboard on the back of the book. If your cover is old enough there will be a lot of crumbly shit on your cutting mat.
Okay, measure the endpaper left in one cover and write that number somewhere. It is all right if you round down. This one’s endpapers went right up to the foredge of the book, so I rounded that measurement down by about an eighth of an inch. You are writing these numbers down because those are the dimensions of your book pages. Usually I just write my dimensions inside the cover, but since we aren’t doing this my way, find some scrap paper.
Mark the top sheet and then cut the whole pile. I got two pages out of one sheet of paper. Unless you have a reliable paper cutter, the pages are going to come out somewhat uneven. Fuck it.
Wrap two rubber bands around your paper stack the short way and one the long way, and square them up as best you can.
Sandwich them between the covers and align them any way you like.
I did not use much paper because I didn’t want to waste it on this shit.
For this next part you need two pieces of masking tape about two inches long. Put one at the top of one cover along the spine and one at the bottom of the cover along the spine. You don’t need to align them as long as you remember to measure the cover instead of the tape.
Measure 3/8 of an inch from the spine edge of the cover on each piece of tape and make a line with your pencil and ruler. Then measure 1 1/2 inches along that line from the top of the cover and make a mark. Do the same from the bottom. If your pencil isn’t registering very well on the tape, you may want to use a marker to make the spots more visible.
Now it’s drilling time. I enlisted my dad’s help for this part. The book has a very elaborate clamping diagram, but he just had me hold the whole thing down with a piece of scrap wood:
Once the book is drilled, tap off the sawdust and remove the masking tape.
Open one book ring, put it through the whole thing and close it. Now open up the cover and take off the rubber bands, then re-align everything and add the other ring.
Yeah, wow. I guess you can add and remove pages as much as you want, but you can just buy a goddamn binder for that shit.
Okay, so it’s kinda ugly. But what’s it like when you open it?
time: an hour or two
cost: around five bucks, BUT the book rings were a gift from my brother. Depending on what you buy, book rings can run you 5 to 15 dollars.
You can buy this ugly book here.
Hot Plate Novels
[This project is from Wise Craft by Blair Stocker.]
What you need to make these things:
- hardcover books with pages you no longer need
- craft or utility knife
- waxed paper or kitchen parchment to protect work area
- acrylic paint
- paint palette
This one just tied in too well with the first one. Plus it is really simple.
We went over cutting the textblock out of a book above. If you really like the endpapers of the book, tear them off and keep them.
Figure out which side of the book you want to be the top and paint it. You can do designs or whatever.
Here’s what I came up with. Keep in mind I’m really sleep-deprived, please.
You put your pots on them to protect tables & countertops.
Which seems really impractical. What if you spill something on it?
Oh, wait: ”If there is a spill, simply rip off the top page …”
What the fuck? Then I paint it again, I suppose, thus turning a fairly simple project into never-ending busywork. What fun.
Then again, I suppose if you have kids, or have access to kids, your problem is solved. Not only does their artwork get displayed for everyone to see, they get to do a new one almost every day.
Plus kid art is probably way better than that shit I came up with.
cost: varies wildly, depending on the cost of the books and the paint
time: around 3 hours with drying time
You can buy these ecological marvels here. If you want to. Weirdo.