chal-lenge: noun a calling to account or into question

Follow along as I challenge the tricks, tips, clever craft and decorating ideas and "simple" recipes that we clip, bookmark, and "pin" for trial at a later date.

Are they really worth the effort? Time (and I) will tell!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Box

Hey, everyone, it’s been a while and my projects just keep piling up! It’s time to get moving again.

This is an odd little project that I have been meaning to do for some time. Not because it has any apparent value to anyone but rather that I am intrigued by old books that end up at the $1.00 a bag book sale at my local library. Knowing that these books will only end up in the recycling bin, I don’t have any qualms about giving them a new life. I finally found a reason (translated: excuse) to move forward with this project.

I was helping my mom with her yard sale over the Memorial Day week-end. As I was shopping among all the “stuff” I came across this beautiful book. The book was in good shape and the cover was beautifully illustrated. As I flipped through the book I discovered that it had been a gift to my nephew over 20 years ago. My nephew is getting married this summer. He and his wife-to-be are both elementary school teachers. I had a feeling that this book would help me craft a useful and meaningful gift for them.

The supplies needed for this project are very simple: white glue like Elmer’s (I had Mod Podge so I used that), a paint brush, a metal straight edge, a box cutter and of course a book. What you will do is glue all the pages together and then cut out the center, creating a box out of the book.

Choose a page that you want to be the first one cut out, and save that page to be cut out at the end. Even if you don't want to save any pages at the beginning of the book, you must set one aside for a later step. I saved a few pages. One being the inscription from the original gifter of the book.

To start, mix a solution of white glue and water. Just enough for the glue to be runny and absorbed by the edge of the book's pages. Holding the remaining pages together, brush the edges with the glue solution. I wasn’t sure why I needed to add water but the diluted glue soaked into the pages making it much more effective at keeping the pages together than just applying glue to the edge of the pages.

Close the book up and set it under some weights (like other books) to dry. Once the pages are set, measure in about an inch from all edges and draw a line. Now it’s time to start cutting. Using your straight edge and cutter, gently cut out all the pages. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the spine of the book while you are cutting. I found the corners difficult. Try to keep them straight and clean as you move forward rather than leaving the clean-up until the end.

Once all the pages are cut, apply the water/glue mixture to the exposed cuts, close the book and set under weights. When dry, apply glue to the reserved page. When dry, use the cut pages as a guide for cutting out this last page. This page gives a nice smooth finish to your cut pages. Believe me; it can cover many indiscretions.

I’m really pleased with the finished product. The “box” will serve as a holder for a gift card for the happy couple. I will add a little filler and tie it all up with a ribbon. There are so many different books and titles that could serve as great little gift boxes for a variety of occasions. It takes a little time, but the cost is little and the presentation quite original. I hope they like it!