What To Do With a Book (Besides Read It)

After oohing and aahing over Isaac Salazar’s book sculptures earlier this week, I started thinking about the various things I’ve done with old books, besides read, collect, and generally adore them.

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Mostly, I’ve used old books to make new ones, like the journals above, made from miniature Shakespeare collections.  The books were in bad shape when I got them.  The bindings were broken and most of the pages had fallen out, so I was happy to bring them back to life.  I used the few pages that were left to make the papier-mâché bowl.  One Christmas, when I was feeling creative and Hon was feeling industrious, we made this fireplace for the bookstore I was managing.  The fireplace was even featured in the New Yorker’s Book Bench blog (she said proudly).

With a little ingenuity, there are hundreds of things that can be made (re)using books.  This purse by curbly.com is an example, and I’ll be featuring more in future posts tagged “Once a Book.”  If you’ve done any book re-use projects, I’d love to hear about them.

As a book lover, I want need one of these purses, but I can’t even sew a button, so it’s not likely I’ll be making one soon.

For those of you who can sew, here’s the tutorial from curbly.

Resources: curbly.com, The Daily Post.



9 thoughts on “What To Do With a Book (Besides Read It)

  1. Oliva, I LOVE the bowl! And the books you make from old books I can personally testify are wonderful treasures to own. Thanks so much for sharing this fun side of yourself.

  2. I love Isaac Salazar’s stuff book art as well. I have posted some of it on my tumblr. For myself, I cannot bring myself to change a book. I can appreciate the innovations that you have posted as examples here. Great post Olivia. 🙂

  3. I love the fireplace! That is very cozy looking indeed. I had a friend who cut a square out of the pages of The Poisonwood Bible and hid his cigarettes inside the book, but I don’t think that’s what you mean by re-using a book. For my own arts and crafts, I use quotes from books that I love and print old movie posters or pictures of writers and decoupage those onto journal covers. I have a favorite one with everything from Langston Hughes to Kurt Vonnegut on it. And I’ve made journals like that for my family as gifts too. Fun ideas!

  4. I have a whole upstairs worth of books I really can’t bear to part with, but don’t really need either. I’ve thought about selling some of them, but the prices I’d get are no where near what I paid. So they just sit there, gathering dust and cobwebs. Every once in awhile I go upstairs looking for something I never find and end up sitting down flipping through pages of herb books or Hemingway or something or another on raw foods or homesteading. I just LOVE books. Are there really ANY bad books out there?

  5. Oh wow, those look great!!! Especially the bowl, love it 🙂
    Thanks for the ideas, I’ll have to see about finding myself a few used books to craft from (my books are still in great condition, so I won’t be ruining those :P)

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