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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thrifty Thursday – Upcycled books

Anyone that knows me knows that I can never resist a bargain, anything vintage, or any form of upcyling. I also cannot stand to waste anything – all those weird odds and ends that most throw away, I will generally find a use for. What can I say, I’m a thrifty girl! Though I am  NOT a hoarder, lets be clear on that lol

Anyway, I recently started using a lot of book text in my artwork, which had me scouring the web looking for a good source of lovely old vintage books. My word, I was NOT prepared for the prices attached, and just couldn’t justify the cost for something that was gonna to be torn, scrunched and covered in paint! So I head to the op shops (that’s thrift stores for my OS friends). I found some absolute gems at next to nothing, and even managed to score a bundle from the half price table!

100_1962 This is only about a 5th of the pile I have stashed under my desk hehehe

I then came home and starting ripping pages out, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Of course, once you use the papers up, you’ll be left with the covers. I mulled it over, trying to find a way to keep the thriftyness going and then inspiration hit – why not use them in place of canvas panels? And so, a tutorial, of sorts, is born!

What you’ll need:
Thrifted books – choose those that have a hardcover. My favourites are those with a fabric feel to them, as this gives a more realistic canvas look.
Craft knife or scissors
Gesso, paint or paper to cover – whatever your heart desires!

Using your knife or scissors, separate the cover from the inner pages.

Your cover will most likely have a rough edge, with frayed fabric, and torn paper etc. It is entirely up to you if you wish to neaten this up or leave the rustic look . Btw, don’t throw out that extra spine piece – it makes an awesome bookmark!

Prepare your  ‘canvas’ for your project. Cover it in paper, or gesso to create a primed surface, ready for painting etc. You could also leave it as is for a fab vintage look! FYI, I know my gesso’ing here is shoddy. It needs another coat for sure! And no, that’s not mustard in the background – it’s my gesso bottle lol I use Matisse brand (though I am NOT a fan of the quality) and it comes in a big tub that is awkward for me to use, hence the squeezy bottle.

You can now decorate as you please! Evidently I’m big on limited palettes and one word sentiments at the moment lol

I hope this little thrifty tip was helpful for you! If you decide to give ti a try PLEASE link me up, I would love to see your creations!

Happy crafting!

Lita xo


Jaimie said...

This totally freaking rocks! I need to find an old dictionary.

Gabriela Delworth said...


I love what you did with these books!

~ Gabriela ~

ckcpurple said...

Awesome tut and even better idea!!! Canvas can get so expensive but I know I can get books on the cheap. Thanks for sharing.

~Christina~ said...

What a great tutorial. I'd NEVER have thought of this!!!