Book Folding - Recycling Paperbacks

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

My first Book Folding workshop is over and here are a few samples of what we made. Book folding is an easy and fun way to relieve stress - a little like knitting. You can do it while watching TV (once you've mastered the folds - very easy!!) or while on the phone. Just don't tell the person on the other end that they don't have your full attention.

Each of the above samples can be made under one hour. So - what are you waiting for. Grab a book and get started. By the way, I get most of my books by going to different second-hand bookstores and asking if they have any books they can't sell and usually they let me rummage about in the cellars and back rooms for old, battered books they've yet to get rid of. Cost - usually nothing but some do charge a buck or two. These I don't bother with. You can also pick up cheap books at church bazaar sales. Charity shops here are now getting too expensive for me!! 

Repurposing Christmas Book Tree

Posted on November 19, 2011 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Someone asked me if there was other ways to use the little paperback trees made from a hardcover (or paperback) book at my last workshop. Had to think for a little while but here's one idea that might work if the book is small enough - use it to embellish a plan Jane gift wrap!

It's a great idea if the gift inside is a book!! For this one, I reused some Kraft wrapping paper from a box I received recently in the mail. Of course, I had to iron it a little to remove the wrinkles but it came up well. With the addition of a repurposed red ribbon, I made a gift anyone would love to receive. Thanks to my friend Sean, who inspired the paper wrapping!

You could also use the small paper trees as place holders at a festive meal. Top the tree with a star that has the guest's name written on it and at the end of the meal, let the guests take their tree home as a thoughtful gift. 

Or, remove one of the covers and then glue a printed menu to the cover you left on. Put one at each setting. By the way, you can keep the kiddies really quiet while entertaining guests during the holidays if you let them make up some of these. The trees are so simple to make almost any kid will be happy to fold away while the groups gab away. Slim junk mail brochures work best for this activity as too many pages may bore the little ones. Show an older sibling (or hire a sitter) how to make the trees and have them supervise the kids. 

To learn how to make these great little trees, why not register for my latest workshop at Bloom Artisan? It's being held on Thursday, November 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Cost is only $25.00 and you'll go home with a cute little tree and instructions for making even more.

Book Forest in Berlin

Posted on October 6, 2010 at 10:54 AM Comments comments (0)


You all know how nuts I am about recycling books, whether as a medium for craft or art projects or ensuring books are passed on for others to enjoy. Bookcrossing is one way but take a gander at what was done in Berlin by the apprentices at BAUFACHFRAU. A “book forest” was created where passerbys can take or leave a book.

To quote their website:

"The Book Forest contributes to sustainable vocational education and deals with the value chain forest-wood-book. It was developed and realised by BAUFACHFRAU Berlin e.V. as an interdisciplinary, project orientated cooperation of apprentices of forestry, carpentry, cabinetmaking, media design, printing and book selling.

"The project adopts the idea of putting up a bookcase in a public space, in which people could release their used books to be picked up by others."

By the way, BAUFACHFRAU is an educational institution for training women to work in building trades. It develops and executes employment and qualification projects on a local, regional as well as European level. Neato!

Image by Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times

More Novel Ways to Recycle Books

Posted on September 20, 2010 at 9:42 AM Comments comments (0)

If you loved the book page wreath that I blogged about earlier and wondered how to do it, Lindsay over at Living with Lindsay provides an easy to follow step-by-step tutorial including a video on how you can create a copy of her version of this wreath. This could also make a fabulous Christmas wreath that you could embellish with ribbons and/or ornaments.

Image Living with Lindsay

Three top ways to recycle old clocks

Posted on July 9, 2010 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (2)

If you've got a few old quartz clocks cluttering up your space, why not use bits and pieces from those clocks to create new ones with a bit of fun attached. Reuse and recycle stuff you already have on hand.. I've made clocks out of old books, plates, candy boxes or spice tins, CDs, vinyl records, cereal boxes, even old boots! Here are a few examples of materials you can recycle into clocks.

Recycle a Tin Tea, Spice, Cookie or Candy Box into a Clock

You can turn any tin container into a clock. All you need is a hammer (or electric drill with a metal bit) and clock parts. Make them as gifts or sell them at local fairs. I sold quite a few on my Etsy site.

Recycle an Old Book into a Clock

The book clock takes a bit more time as you have to cut a hole inside the book to accommodate the quartz clock works - but, hey, it's worth the effort. I've sold all the book clocks that I've made so far. 

You can find instructions for both the tin box clock and the book clock here.

Recycle a Cardboard Cereal or Food Box into a Clock

A clock made out of a cereal box (or any other type of cardboard box) is sure to make your kids smile in the morning. I made this one for a friend who was urged to eat more fibre by her doctor! The quick and easy instructions to make this clock are here.

Good business idea for craft shows if you love recycling old stuff into something new and useful, no?

Novel Ways to Recycle Books

Posted on June 22, 2010 at 2:03 PM Comments comments (2)

Books are about the hardest things to recycle. Most charity shops (at least in Ottawa) are reluctant to take them. Because of the glue in older books, you may not be able to put them in your recycling bin. And now that Book Crossings is out of business, you can't send them off on their travels. So what to do with those old tomes?

Here are a few novel ways to recycle, reuse, and repurpose your old books, all created by some exceptionally creative folks. 

Book Page Wreath

I spotted this fabulous wreath made from the pages of a book at Lana Manis' website, Simple Joys Paperie. What a fabulous way to recycle pages from an old text book, novel, etc. This would be an outstanding Christmas wreath or for any occasion, come to think of it. The question after you've used up the pages of a book is, what do you do with the covers? 

Framed Book Cover

Well, if the graphics on the book covers are exceptional, you could frame the covers alone and put them up on a wall. The one shown is from Real Simple magazine - I can't remember which edition, sorry!

Book Covers as Frames

Or you could turn the covers into photo frames for your fav pictures. This came from a book on making frames but I don't remember the title. Sometimes I just catch glimpses of things that I like and forget the source! 

Old Book Covers to New Note Book

Or you could do what Cathe Holden does, and use the old book covers to disguise a diary or appointment book. The covers hide a plain blank notepad in which you can put down all your private thoughts and no one will know.

These are just a few ways to get more life out of your old books. Heck, you could probably turn any one of these ideas into a business. Lana did.

Ciao and happy reading!