Ever since we moved, I’ve been itching to tackle a DIY project. (I’ve also literally been itching for the past two days because of a lovely bunch of fire ant bites on my foot. How I loathe thee, fire ants!) Anyway, because I also don’t know how long I’ll be living in my room, I’ve had to put the breaks on getting carried away with any additional room decor or crafty plans. Instead, I revisit my most lofty project to date. I saw this framed stack of books in a restaurant in Kansas City three years ago.
My ambitious self thought, “Oh, I could make this. Easy.” And really it wasn’t that bad, but looking back I’m impressed with myself for thinking I could tackle this. Lesson: Don’t be intimidated by a project; it’ll turn out OK!
Warning: This will require using up a lot of books. E-readers, rejoice. But really, I love books just as much as the next person, and this project gives a second purpose to all those books that probably won’t ever be read again (if they ever were) in the $1 section at Goodwill.
You will need:
- 10 or more hardback books (the more interesting their spines, the better)
- 1 frame (I found a set of three window shutters at a thrift store; finding those key pieces is probably what encouraged me to start the project in the first place)
- 1 sheet of plywood (the size depends on the frame you find because the plywood will be used to cover the back of the frame)
- 1 tub of Plaster of Paris
- miter saw
- tacks or small nails
- Gorilla glue
- nails and brackets to hang the frame(s)
- Mod Podge or paint (optional; for decorating frame)
Deep breath. Go:
1. By far the hardest part of this project is this step (yep, it’s the first step, sorry for the intimidating factor). Using the miter saw (or letting a strong man in your life use the saw, as was my case) cut off the pages and covers of the books, leaving about 1″ to 1.5″ of the spine and pages intact.
2. I kept some of the pages from the books (especially the ones with neat illustrations) to Mod Podge on the frame later.
3. Nail the plywood to the back of the frame so there is a solid backing supporting the space where the books and plaster will be.
4. (Do this outside, it’ll probably be messy) Mix the Plaster of Paris per instructions. Have a friend help you with this part because you need to work quickly: while you spread the plaster of paris in the whole of the frame, have your friend place the books in a stacked formation, being sure to press down so the books are well set. Again, work quickly because the plaster will harden faster than you think.
5. Let the frame dry. Use Gorilla glue to fill in any gaps between the books and the plaster and add reinforcement (Gorilla glue expands and dries a white color, so it will blend in best with the plaster).
6. Paint or Mod Podge book pages onto the frame.
7. Nail at least two brackets into the back of the frame and hang.
Different designs could be created depending on the room. I think this one with illustrated pages would be great in a kid’s room because it would stay relevant as he or she grows up. A dark cherry frame with darker, muted colored books would be great in a study or office.
Check out this great paper wreath my friend Leigh Anne made recently as a way of using up all those cut book pages.