Breakin’ Out the Books

Piles and piles of books were just one of the many gifts of the house.

Rumor has it that the former owners moved to their sailboat. True or not, they left a whole lot of stuff behind.

Ages ago I mentioned trying to pawn off some Reader’s Digest Condensed Books at the local used book store. They don’t want them and even charities won’t take them.

I suggested turning them into book “art”–I use the term loosely. Now the Mr was fairly vocal about throwing them out, but I’m pretty stubborn, so I checked out a book from the library and got busy folding.

Taking two pages together, I folded the bottom corner up to the spine forming a right triangle, then folded the top corner down to the spine forming another right triangle.

Ok, one down, 500 pages to go. In less than an hour, I ended up with this.

It’s very sculptural, and I love the aged look of the pages. Here it is from another angle, so you get the full effect.

But now what? How am I supposed to display my new masterpiece?

I figured the sewing room would be the perfect place for my treasure. Since the Mr isn’t too crazy about some if my out-there projects, I was sure he wouldn’t mind if I hung it in my own personal space.

Just because I knew where it was going didn’t get me any closer to a plan for how to hang it. It’s kind of like a pregnant woman–it needs good back support. Since I had no idea what to do, I promptly made another one and stuck them in the sewing room until I could figure this thing out.

Now if this were a movie, I’d show a clock with the hands spinning round and round. Suffice it to say, book art hasn’t been my top priority.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to take a stab at finishing these silly things so I could get them out of the way.

One of the joys of our home is the huge bank of windows surrounding the main floor.

This severely limits the amount of wall space, so we have a pile of pictures that are still in a bin waiting to be hung somewhere.

Looking at them, an 11×14-inch frame seemed about the perfect size for my book sculptures. I found one with a solid back, and figured I’d cover it with fabric, screw the book to it, and call it good.

This opened an endless number of options. Which fabric? Should I paint the frames? Do they need to all match?

My first impulse was bright, cheery fabric that looked hideous with my muted books and faded pages. I decided to go with a fuzzy apricot that ended up just too tone-on-tone. What could I do to break things up? Maybe some hand-printed paper would give it some visual interest? I grabbed some old screws I found on the work bench and screwed this puppy in place.

And this is the final product.

Ooo, I like it. One down, one to go. Of course, I didn’t have another plain wood frame in that size, and the other book had handwriting on the inside cover… I needed to rethink my plan of attack. I went with some textured golden/beige fabric for the backing and painted the pale pink frame gray. But the frame backing was cardboard not solid; it would never hold the weight of the book. Back to the garage I went to find some scrap wood to back the book. An old garden stake found new life as sculpture support, and here’s book art number 2.

Sweet Miss asked where my new projects were headed, and I told her the sewing room. That’s when she surprised me by asking if they could go in her room. I totally said yes; accolades from a teenager are few and far between.

Eventually I’ll be able to pretty up my sewing room. I’ve already got one more book folded. It’s the mounting of these books that tends to take a while–there are just too many choices.

For now, Sweet Miss gets to enjoy our totally free artwork. She’s been giving her room a face lift. I hope to be able to share it with you next week.

If you’d like some book art inspiration, check out The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occipinti.

Do you have any unusual art projects gracing your walls? What’s your favorite way to upcycle?

I just linked up with Abbie at 5 Days…5 ways. Head on over for more fun ideas.…5%20ways)&m=1


8 thoughts on “Breakin’ Out the Books

  1. I have seen a lot of re-purposing ideas on Pinterest for books. I have to admit, it bothered me to look at those glorious books being cut up, etc. But I really like what you have done! They are soooo cute!

    The most unusual thing I have gracing our walls is my grandmother’s clarinet. She played it through high school. I have it in a grouping in our living room with some framed sheet music. I used a couple of nails, and some thin wire to hang it. I love it.

    I am not very good at upcycling, but you inspire me!

    • A clarinet on the wall is too fun! I’m sure it reminds you of someone you loved and it’s totally you–no one else has it.

      I’ve had some librarian friends raise their eyebrows about messing with books, but just because it’s a hardback doesn’t mean it’s great literature. They left a V.C Andrews book here, and I had no problem getting rid of that. I did take a few boxes to the used bookstore for others to enjoy. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks MK. Your Gangsta Papa reference had Sweet Miss laughing. Couldn’t figure out why kind words about the importance of family would make her laugh till I reread that part. πŸ™‚ We have more surprises when you get back Monday.

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