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

Novel Ways to Recycle Books

Posted on June 22, 2010 at 2:03 PM Comments comments (1)

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!

Editor's Choice Award and Tutorial: Book folding

Posted on October 30, 2009 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)

I was thrilled to receive the Suite 101 Editor's Choice Award for my article on how to make a tree angel from milkweed pods and pine cones. With Christmas not too far away, it's not too soon and, probably, a good idea to start on some decorating and gift projects. Being frugal is the mantra for most of us these days and recycling household waste into spectacular gifts is a sensible idea. 

Clearing out my stash of old used books gave me the idea to do something more with them. Last year I recycled books into clocks, book safes, and pictures frames. This year I wanted new recycling ideas. So--ta-dum!--book sculptures by folding book pages.

I didn't just dream this up. I once attended a French artists' show in Paris where Michele Riesenmey exhibited her work along with other artists.   She not only created sculptures from books, but used paper to create amazing balls and wall hangings!  She doesn't have a website, too bad.

Unfortunately, at the time, I did not take many photos of her work but I did do a couple of quick sketches of her books and put my sketch pad away. It was only recently when I started to clean up my book shelves that I came across it. It took me about an hour to figure out how to do the folds from my drawings using my daughter's old books.


I discovered that the pages of old books are very brittle and tear easily.  Anyway, once I finished with one, I experimented with different folds. Strangely enough, it was a very soothing activity. Easy to do while chatting away in the coffee shop, although I did get quite an audience once the book started to fill up with the folded pages.