Friday, May 10, 2013

Teaching Old Books New Tricks

Do you have some old hardcover or picture books you never read and you're thinking about throwing them out?

Reconsider. Instead of dumping (or even donating) your book, you could repurpose it.

That unwanted tome could make for a cool, one-of-a-kind scrapbook or even a sculpture. To a creative crafter, an old book isn't just decomposing tree-stuff. It's a blank canvas waiting to be used.

You can turn it into a unique journal or a place to keep your alchemical ingredients. No, for real, see how artist Rachael Ashe turned a book into an alchemist's pantry.

Or check out this little library from the Tumblr From Within A Book.

They're called Altered Books and, while these examples are cool, your introduction to this world need not be anywhere near this ambitious.

You can start small.

Kristin Milks, one of the librarians at Mentor Public Library, recently turned an old Cinderella picture book into a photo album.

If you're looking for advice on where to start, has a great beginner's guide. (Fair warning: you'll probably need to make a trip to the craft store.) Terri Sproul also has several useful how-to videos on her YouTube page and is filled with helpful tips and fun projects.

And if you're looking for inspiration, Pinterest is stuffed with some jaw-dropping alterations.

Have you tried altering any books? What did you make? Any tips for newbies? Tell us in the comments.

Mentor Public Library hosted a workshop on how to create Altered Books earlier this week. For information on more fun and informative events at the library, visit

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