DIY: turn the pages of old books into works of art

Meaningful artwork is important, especially when you end up looking at them all the time in places like your own home. I recently discovered that the walls of my office looked a little bland and needed some life, and I thought that artwork that used books inside the artwork would make them much more appropriate, since I have endless shelves full of books!

I also like old books for decoration, so I had a couple out there that I could use for a project like this.

From afar, these almost look like abstract pieces, with only random blank lines, but if you look closer, they actually have words. And if you’re lucky, those words have some meaning or are just beautiful like the ones I used. Let’s talk about supplies.

Materials needed

  • un viejo libro
  • un Sharpie (punta fina)
  • una regla
  • cartulina negra
  • marcos
  • cinta de dos lados

El libro que usé se llama Lust for Life de Irving Stone y trata sobre la vida de Vincent Van Gogh. En realidad es bastante bueno, y me sentí un poco mal por romperlo.

The first step is to find a sentence, word, or even paragraph that is meaningful to you. Once you have that, tear off the page of the book and you can start coloring your page. Before you get carried away, be sure to remember where the line is that you are not coloring! Once you know for sure, you can get started. Take your ruler and Sharpie and start around the edges, like this:

Go on, making sure you skip the lines you wish you could read! At this point, you may want to shade the entire area around the words you want to see so you don’t make mistakes.

Shading and coloring

Continuing with your rule, scroll through the entire page. Don’t worry about how much you’re still coloring. It’s easier to make the edge first and then shade everything else!

At this point, you’d better get comfortable because you’ll be spending quite a bit of time making black lines from one side of the page to the other. Making just one isn’t that bad, but since I did three of these, I swear my wrists were bruised in the end!

Repeat this process for all the pages you want to use and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. The most crucial things are making sure you don’t put marker on the words you want to keep and be careful with the ruler to get an even edge around the outline. Go crazy in the middle and then, before you know it, you’re ready!

Surprisingly, I didn’t need more than a Sharpie for this! I was surprised, because with the amount of doodles, I thought it would run out. However, my pages were quite small (57, 46 in text), so it wasn’t too bad. I might not need this step, but because 46 frames were too small and 57 were too large, I had to do a little extra work. First, cutting the pages evenly around. I didn’t want the sharp edges of the scissors, and preferred to have rough edges as this is clearly an old book and I liked its appearance.

I used a ruler and carefully tore the edges evenly in every way.

Framing your artwork

Next, use a thin, double-sided ribbon to paste your pages onto black cardstock, because the edges will be visible when you frame these pages. It could have left a white background, but with the yellowed pages it didn’t look so good!

Now just stick them on the cardstock and you’re ready to frame! It’s the easiest part, and the black really makes the page stand out even more!

Let me show you some close-ups of the pages so you can see the quotes. I love the little inspiration in this one, and it will be a lovely thing to look at while I’m in my office!

This one doesn’t have a deep meaning, but I thought the pictures were really beautiful! I also love how the edges turned out rough, but straight. That was important!

And finally, this quote, although in French, is very powerful. I have something for the French language, and since I am studying it, I thought this quote was even more relevant. In English it says:

Knowing how to suffer without complaining is the only practical thing, it is the great science, the lesson to learn, the solution to the problem of life.

Irving Stone

And there you have it! I think this would be a lovely gift for the bibliophile in your life, although be careful if you give this to someone who loves books too much, they may get upset because you broke one! However, it’s a great way to fill your walls with meaningful words, especially if you have books that are already broken.

Will you give this DIY a chance? Maybe you have a favorite teacher you’ll see when you return to school, and this could be a beautiful personal gift!

How do I find pages from old books?

Fill a small bowl with dark brown that has completely cooled. Place the book on the waxed paper, then dip the sponge brush in the coffee. Start applying coffee on the pages of the book. Remember to apply coffee on the cover and back cover, as well as on the sides and loin.

How do you print on a page of an old book?

Print your book page

  1. Enter your book page into your printer.
  2. Go to File >> Print.
  3. Select “Paper Handling” in your print dialog box (usually the default is Copies and Pages)
  4. Check “Scale to fit paper size”.
  5. Click Print!

What can old books be used for?

Over 30 creative uses for old books

  • So what can you do with old books?
  • Book page painting.
  • Garland of book page.
  • Images printed on pages.
  • Book page buttons: These are another Etsy listing, but I love the simplicity of these buttons.
  • Book-type wallet with zipper.
  • Sewing Book or Treasure Chest.
  • Book planner.

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By Catharine Bwana