Here’s another present I made for Stef: a box decorated with pages from some of Blyton’s book.
I hear some cries of horror already, and I apologise to any of you that think that tearing up books for crafts is sacrilegious. I would agree with you if they were early editions or favourite childhood copies, but they were rather nasty 90s paperbacks that had been languishing in the loft.
YOU WILL NEED
A book you don’t mind destroying.
An illustration from the book, or the means to print one onto card or paper.
PVA glue the cheap ‘for-school’ stuff will do
A chunky paintbrush
A small screwdriver
Optional: some felt for the bottom
STAGE ONE: PREPARATION
I took the box apart first. Mine had actual screws holding the lid and the front clasp on, so I used a teeny screwdriver and took the hinges off as well as the clasp (just don’t lose them!) but you may find you need to use pliers to pull out little pins and a hammer to knock them back in when you’re done.
I then took my book and pulled out a bunch of pages. I tore them into strips of varying width (mostly no more than an inch-and-a-half) and carefully tore the top and side margins off so they all had ragged edges. Some of the strips tore squint or wavy but that was fine.
I sorted them into two piles: general text and good text. Good text had Julian (Stef’s favourite character) mentioned or references to secret passages etc.
With my glue in a pot and my paintbrush ready, I was good to go.
STAGE TWO: DECOUPAGING
I started with the back of the main part of the box, just to get a bit of practice. I slopped glue onto it and then smoothed over the paper using the brush to make sure it was all stuck down. I layered on more strips, at angles overlapping each other. One tip I would give is to be careful around any corners, you need enough paper (a cm at least) wrapping around to make sure it stays stuck down.
I covered about an inch of the bottom of the box all the way round, trying to keep the edges fairly straight (though I ended up covering much of the bottom with felt so it was a waste of time!)
I papered over the lip of the box, and onto the inside again covering an inch or so in a reasonably straight line around the inner walls.
I had to leave the box to dry at a couple of points as I ran out of dry places to hold it so the decoupaging ended up taking a few days.
I covered the whole lid, and a bit of the inside again just for neatness.
I tried to use the strips from the “good text” pile for on top of the other pieces, though often they ended up a bit covered up.
STAGE THREE: FINISHING TOUCHES
My book didn’t have any illustrations, so I printed one out from the Cave of Books onto some nice textured card and pasted it onto the top of the lid.
I then gave the whole box two coats of PVA glue to seal it and make it nice and shiny. (Leave plenty of time for the glue to dry between coats.)
Once it was all dry, I put the box back together. The paper made the lip of the box and lid thicker, so I loosely screwed the clasp back on, fastened it, and then tightened it up otherwise it would not have shut.
And finally, I used some green sticky-backed felt to cover the bottom, not quite to the edges.
So there you go! A book covered box. I might do something like this again for myself, as I didn’t even use half of a paperback book, and I kept the rest.