Making New Books from Old

Shortly after I started making handmade books, I decided that I’d make one for everyone in my family for Christmas.  I was managing a used bookstore at the time and had access to hundreds of books that were destined for recycling.  I was happy to save them and give them new life as journals.

The Neil Diamond journal is from an album cover.  I made that one for my Mom, who is a huge fan.  She’s on a first name basis with him, even though they’ve never really met.  Aside from Neil, I tried to pick covers that were somehow connected to the recipient.

Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph them all, but the binding stitch has very little variation.  I used the Japanese stab binding stitch.  As violent as that sounds, it’s called stab binding because you have to punch a hole through the covers and all the sheets.

For instructions on doing this yourself, see this online tutorial from Amphian Photography.


6 thoughts on “Making New Books from Old

  1. Thanks, Linda!

    The content is generally the same. All blank so it can be used for a journal, notebook or sketch pad. The color, thickness, and texture of the paper varies depending on the style of the cover, but the inside is all blank.

  2. Love this idea Olivia. It just breaks my heart to see any book destined for the trash, or even to be recycled.
    I can’t even stand to give my books away after I’ve read them so many times their pages are falling out. This is such a clever and useful idea. I’ll have to make some for myself. I’d make them as gifts, but no one in my family understands the NEED to write like I do. However, my sister is very much into scrapbooking, so maybe I could make a scrapbook for her from an old book.

    Thanks so much for this post!

  3. great idea- will immedieatly (sp) ‘borrow’ it!!
    I took book making classes a hundred years ago in college (what a luxury that seems now) and am sorry I didn’t stay with it- you have reinspired (sp again) me-thanks!

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