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Ideas For Reusing Old Books?

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My MIL gave me two boxes of books that she had in storage. She *insisted* that I had to have them for homeschooling and wouldn't take no for an answer. :glare: She's sentimental to a fault and since her boys read them she just can't get rid of them. She sincerely looked disappointed that I didn't think much of her "treasure"---her word. The problem is they are trash.


They are really old---not cool ,antique vintage old---but only really good for starting a campfire old. Besides most of them are books that we own and are a dime a dozen--Alice, Black Beauty, etc. Even if some of them are vintage, they are in really bad shape.


And there's a set of circa 74 encyclopedias. She was really clueless as to why I didn't think they would be very helpful. :001_huh:


And they smell something awful---they were not kept in decent storage.


Anyway---I did look through them and most of the children's classics have colored pictures throughout.


So I started to think maybe we could get crafty with them somehow? Frame the cute colored pics for the kids rooms, paint on the paper, fold and cut the papers somehow, .....


So has anyone done paper crafts with old books? used the paper or the hardback covers in any cute ways? I think I could salvage quite a bit if I had a goal/project in mind, and toss the rest. That might even satisfy her sentimentality.



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I took my favorite pages from books and decoupaged them on the top of a side table in my living room. I used the pages that contained my favorite quotes and photo copied the pages. If your books are in bad shape, you can just tear them out.

Some pages would also look nice in frames.

I took an old hardback book and folded the pages like origami and hung it on the wall. I got the idea from a thread here but most people thought it was book murder. I used an outdated engineering book I got from a thrift store. It turned out really cute!

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You could decoupage a large canvas -- the kind you hang on the wall, usually used in painting -- with some of the pages. Then you could apply a custom quote about books/reading over the top. I use Uppercase Living for my lettering (full disclosure, this is my website). I recently did a project with the quote "A book is like a garden carried in the pocket."

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There are some cool crafts I found while cruising the web last year for handmade Christmas Ornaments that used book pages. Some decopaged, some folded... Some were made by cutting the book into a shape, then fanning it out and gluing the covers together to make a 3D ornament. I saw some that were left simple, others that were then painted.











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Thank you guys so much! So many ideas to go through. I think we're going to go through and find the best colored pictures to either frame for kids room art or to fold and scrapbook or collage with. My ds had the idea of clipping out all the Alice In Wonderland black and white pictures and painting them.


I like the idea of having the kids make silly messages with some of the words and sentences.


I'm pretty positive they aren't worth money. All the classics are from a series called "Children's Classics" and they're pretty common books. And then they're in such bad shape. I've got a good eye for antiques and these just aren't screaming out at me as anything.


The only problems with the encyclopedia set is that space in my house is limited and they are dust mite hotels. To bring them in and actually use them would likely cause allergies to go haywire. It seems like mice may have had a lunch on quite a few too. And many of them have the glue holding the spine on completely disintegrated. But I didn't want to miss an opportunity to do something creative with them.


I don't like the idea of just throwing books away, but these are pretty unreadable.


Lots of ideas!!! Thanks Hive!


ETA: http://icraftdaily.com/how-to-make-fleur-de-lis-medallion-christmas-ornament/ I love love love this Xmas tree ornament. But now I'm wondering---is there some sort of spray or something that would preserve something like this?

Edited by Walking-Iris
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