There are a lot of great works of art made from old books. A girl in my senior portfolio class in college this past year created her entire BFA final out of used books. She took an old encyclopedia and carved out the center, from there she placed found objects in the middle that influenced her. It was all quite fascinating. She was really able to reanimate those old objects. Other objects such as tables and vases have been created from used books as well. People are quite resourceful.
I’ve seen a wreath made of the pages of books, as well as this sunburst mirror: http://www.creativejewishmom.com/2010/05/make-a-recycled-book-page-sunburst-mirror.html
Books pages can also make interesting backgrounds for paintings instead of the usually canvas. You could use them for origami or paper snowflakes, as well.
When it comes to recycled books and art, Brian Dettmer is the primary artist to turn to. He takes old thick texts like encyclopedias and dictionaries and uses a surgical knife to slice through the pages, creating intricate scenes and provoking new ways of looking at the book as a material. Lately he’s been pushing the envelope by combining books and folding them in different combinations. You have to see it to believe it.
Several intriguing items can be created from recycled books. One of the most interesting that I have found was a project originating from Italian creatives Gartenkulter that involved books being served as a potting base for new seeds and trees. The idea is that books serve to grow new trees where whence they originally came.
There are some really great crafts that can come from recycled books! For instance, you can use a knife to cut out a section from the middle of the book and keep things in it. You could also create a journal by removing the pages from the book and placing blank pages within the cover and binding. The pages that you took out from that book can be used to create paper beads and other jewelry!
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