May 23, 2011

One book three ways: book wreath, book bundle and book-page monogram

Happy Monday, all! I hope you all had a good weekend. We FINALLY saw some sun this weekend and it was even warm -- at least for a couple hours. It was enough to get outside and get some things done in the yard.

But I also spent some time inside working on a couple projects that have been rattling around in my brain for a while. A trip to the flea market last weekend provided me with the perfect opportunity to pick up my supplies: a trio of old paperbacks for $1 total.

A couple months ago, I spotted Lacey @ Feathering My Nest's fabulous book page wreath and absolutely loved it! She encouraged me to give it a try, but I was a little nervous, so I held off. But with those old books in hand, I decided to go for it.

My favorite of the bunch was the tattered copy of A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle. It was really beat up -- the cover was falling off, the pages perfectly aged. I started by tearing off the cover, taking a little extra time to pull and cut off the remaining bits of glue on the spine.

Now, I know the idea of ripping up a book might be sacrilegious to some of you book-lovers out there -- and I understand -- I was an English major, after all. But I purposefully picked books that were already in rough shape (one of the covers was actually already falling off). Plus, who knows how long these books would sit gathering dust at the flea market. I like to think of it as bringing new life to an old, forgotten treasure. And I was a big fan of Madeleine L'Engle when I was younger, so I felt like reusing that book was a tribute to her and her work. 

Now, I'm a little cheap thrifty, so instead of buying a wreath form, I did something I've done before to make a Christmas tinsel wreath -- I grabbed some aluminum foil and made a circle out of it. To disguise the silver color and give the hot glue something better to adhere to, I wrapped it in leftover paper bag (from L.L.Bean!).

Then, I carefully tore out a bunch of pages and started rolling them. It took a little while to get the knack, but I found sticking a finger or two right in the middle of the page as a guide and then gently rolling the paper around that center was the best way to achieve a nice rolled look. I didn't do them all the same, to give the pages a more varied and natural look. Then, I tamped down the pointed end just a little on my palm, put a bunch of hot glue on the end and stuck it to my DIY wreath form.

After one row...

After two rows...

I ended up doing three rows of rolled pages. I don't know how many pages I used, but about half the book. I think. When I was all done, I did a little fluffing and a little strategic gluing to get it to look as symmetrical as I could. Here's the end result.

To hang it, I hot glued a loop of ribbon to the back and pressed a thumbtack into an old frame I already (also from the flea market!). Don't those yellow-brown pages give it such a gorgeous, aged look? But the fluffiness also makes it fun. I'm totally loving it, and it really was easy -- no need to be scared, like I was! Thanks for the encouragement, Lacey!

I still had about half the book left, and got an idea. I bought this wooden monogram at Joann a while back, thinking I'd paint it but not sure what color. 

Loving those beautiful book pages, I decided to give it a little decoupage treatment, using some Mod Podge.

I ripped up a few pages in little pieces and started applying them on the edges of the letter, using a little Mod Podge to hold them in place. I did this with little rhyme or reason, except to vary the direction of the text.

Once I had the entire letter covered in page pieces, I sealed it all in place with a light coat of Mod Podge over the whole thing. Et voila!

Monograms are hot, and the decoupaged pages gives it a neat look, I think. I was thinking of how cute it wold be to spell out LOVE and use pages from love poems for Valentine's Day, or even spell out MERRY and use pages from Dickens' A Christmas Carol (hmm, filing that away for this December...). 

And guess what? I still had a few pages left! I decided to use the rest of the book, along with the other two (plus a fourth culled from my own collection) to make one of those book bundles you've seen popping up in Pottery Barn and Ballard catalogs. 

The cost for these designer bundles? $18-$25 for Ballard, and a whopping $39 for the Pottery Barn version. No thanks, I'll make my own!

I ripped all the covers and the first few pages off...

Then, following Christina at Christina's Adventures technique, I steeped some tea, squeezed most of the water out of the tea bags and blotted/dragged them across the edges and tops of the pages to help give them an even more weathered look. I put the books under some heavier ones for a few minutes to keep the damp pages from wrinkling as they dried.

I simply stacked them and tied them together with some sisal twine I found at the local hardware store. Easy as pie.

It's amazing what you can do with one little book from the flea market.

Best of all, I accomplished all of this in less than $10. I bought the three books for $1, the wooden letter was a couple bucks and the twine was $3. The rest I either had on hand (Mod Podge, hot glue) or improvised (aluminum foil, recycled paper bag, tea). And the projects also kept me busy while I was stuck inside, wishing the rain would stop.

I'm not sure where my new book creations will live permanently, but this week I'll be swapping out my spring decor for some summery things, so we'll see where they land!

Linking up to these great parties. Click the button to get to the party.


Kori said...

LOVE your idea for making a wreath form! Brilliant! Your creations are beautiful. My 4-year-old son was sitting behind me as I looked at the pictures and he said the "W" looked cool.

liz @ bon temps beignet said...

These are beautiful! I really like the wreath. I think we've all seen the rolled page wreath about 100 times before. This is a nice change :)

Mindy @ Heart Maine Home said...

Thanks so much!!

Christina said...

Beautiful!!! I especially love your wreath...that's also on my "to-do" list!! Thanks for linking to me and my book bundles :)

Lyssa said...

I loved how all three projects turned out! Thanks so much for including my link! I definitely like our style than the rolled wreaths out there...but that's just me ;)