Since posting, I came across this beautiful roundup at Print&Pattern...
How to use those gorgeous vintage books outside charity shops selling for 99c to make a notebook/scrapbook/diary for the New Year.
- Hardback Book
- Brown Paper/Old blank envelopes/notepaper etc
- Ribbon/String/Braid or Trim to tie closed
- Dry glue (Pritt/Glue Stick etc - don't use PVA or Elmers: the old paper can't hack it!)
- Extra strong silicon-based glue (allows for bending more than SuperGlue does)
- Buttons/dried flowers/adornment of your choice.
The actual process of putting this together is ever so simple. The difficulty comes in selecting your tools. I've found it can be quite difficult finding just the right kinds of books, though the process has uncovered some little gems that I'd never have found otherwise (first editions of The Life of Dorian Gray and a PostWar cookbook of Italian recipes). The paper needs to be strong enough to withstand frequent use, as well as to hold brown paper without tearing, as does the binding. The cover *should* be suitably colourful or pleasing, and I like it when the title is particularly relevant.*
- Select your book. You're going to have to remove between a third and a half of the pages to make room for the paper patches over the text. I find the easiest way to do this is to open it up, and find the binding divisions where the book is held together. Rip out about half of each of these sections. You can see where I've done this in the central picture of the montage.
- Measure the block of text on the page, and either using your eye and good luck, or tearing against the edge of a ruler (MUCH easier, but less random) work your way through ripping enough brown paper for each page of text in the book. This is quite a long process, but can easily be done in front of the tv!
- Glue the pieces of brown paper over each side of text and when done, sit it under an atlas or dictionary for a couple of days to allow the spine to settle and the pages to stop splaying open.
- Glue ribbon around the spine with extra strong bonding glue. I usually do this with the book face down but with its bum in the air (first picture, second row) so that the ribbon can get right into the joints of the spine.
- Adorn or embellish as you like!
I've seen loads of variations on this project. You could use old envelopes ripped to size, or even glued front down to give the owner a pocket for keepsakes and important bits. If you wanted to make a travel diary for a wandering friend you could use old ordance survey maps. On the front, I've glued on a few buttons, or you could lay a ribbon over a strip of lace before gluing it down. You could even incorporate a button and loop closure instead of tying the ribbon in a bow. Send in your pictures and we'll have a little project display area!
*I've so far notebooked The Tale About Little Brother (for my little brother!), The Fine and The Wicked (for my cheeky theatrical friend) and Twenty Years a Growing for my sister's 20th birthday!