Back when I was in college, I bought this book at a thrift store in Savannah, GA:
At first, I was drawn to the retro illustrations and the analogous color scheme.
Equally as amazing as the dust cover illustrations were the illustrations that had been stamped (or done on a letterpress, perhaps) into the hard cover.
And though I have no idea who Walter B. Stillwell, Jr. is, it still felt like this book was a hand-me-down from him to me.
I bought this book thinking I would make a ‘safe’ out of it. Do you know what I am talking about? In movies, they always show someone removing a special book from the shelf and when they open the cover, it’s not a book at all, but instead has a hole cut out from the middle that houses super-secret stuff like keys and money and jewels.
Needless to say, I bought the book 7 years ago and have never made it into a safe. But in the past year, I’ve seen several old books-turned-journals, and for me, “creatively making something from nothing” is one of my threads, as my good friend Mandy calls them.
So why not rip apart this old book and try making it into something new? It certainly doesn’t have much purpose currently, seeing as how it’s just been sitting in a box, waiting to be given new life! Best-case scenario: I’d have a cool new journal. Worst-case scenario: my experiment wouldn’t work and I’d ruin a book I had totally forgotten I’d even owned. So…let the experimenting begin!
First, I began by gently stripping the book block from the cover and removing as much of the liner paper as possible.
Then, I cut the printer paper that would become the new book block. As you can see from my scrap pile, there were LOTS of pages! 18 sections of 5 sheets apiece, to be exact! Each page folded and cut by hand (whew!)
Once the pages were folded and cut, I pierced the sewing stations.
Next came the sewing.
This is probably the thickest book block I have ever made, with the exception of my flocked Buttonhole Book! But that one had smaller pages (4.25 x 5.5), so it didn’t seem as BIG.
Once the sewing was complete, I chose paste papers that would complement the cover well and glued them to the book block using acid-free PVA glue (the same glue I use for all my projects–it’s the best!)
Next, I glued the loose sides of the paste papers to the existing book cover. Ta da!
All done! Here’s the top view of the spine. I just love this photo!
Complete with dust cover:
Without dust cover:
Ready for journaling!
I’m really excited about how easily this project went together. Sure, it took some time to cut and sew all those sections, but that was the only ‘hard’ part.
I’ve already got another book in the queue for re-purposing. My friend Alison found a book called “The Adventure of Being a Wife” at an estate sale, and I think that will make for a brilliant journal cover!
If you have any hard-cover books you’d like me to turn into journals, email me and we can talk specifics.