Make Arts & Crafts from Old Books

May 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm , by

Last night Courtney and I went to the opening of The (Purely Paper) Flower Shoppe, a limited-time only collection at the West Elm on 62nd and Broadway here in NYC. Super-talented event producer David Stark and his team transformed the store, filling it with hand-made garden-related items (including, yes, flowers) crafted from the pages of old books. While you might see destroying books as a bad thing, many crafters think of this as upcycling since tons of tomes, like old computer manuals and well-worn paperbacks, end up in landfills every year. These paper projects, from découpage to origami, turn the unwanted pages into something useful and beautiful. While The (Purely Paper) Flower Shoppe is only open today and tomorrow (UPDATE: It’s now staying open through the weekend), David Stark Design will partner up with West Elm again later this year to create a holiday line that’ll be available nationwide.

Check out a few pictures from the party:



If you can’t get to the Broadway West Elm, you can make your own bookish crafts instead. Jason Thompson’s new book, Playing with Books, published by Quarry last month, is chock full of pretty projects made from the printed page. Jason actually makes new books in addition to upcycling old ones—he’s the founder of Rag & Bone Bindery, a boutique bookbinding operation that makes gorgeous journals, albums and baby books. Here’s just one of his projects from Playing with Books.

Business Card Holder

Materials: An old paperback that’s at least 100 pages.

Time Commitment: 15 minutes

Instructions: Remove the front and back covers from the book, carefully tearing the covers off by hand. Starting with the first page, fold each book page in half toward the gutter. Depending on the number of pages, the thickness of the paper, and the grain direction of the pages, when completed, the book will be transformed into a half-cylinder shape. Lay the folded book on it side and place it on a decorative stand (a pretty plate will do). The pages will fan out, and your new card holder will sit flat.

(Adapted from Playing with Cards, Copyright 2010.)

Bottom photo courtesy of Quarry Books.

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