Introduction: Book Wall Hangings - Flatlands - Cube

Picture of Book Wall Hangings - Flatlands - Cube

Take one of the many beautiful books available at project Gutenberg and convert it into a wall sized readable book. Makes great gifts for the literary types in your life.
This is the complete text of Flatlands, and how to generate and print it, at 60 x 42 inches. That's huge!
Take a look at the PDF.

Step 1: Select a Book Text You Like.

Choose a public domain book from or some other text source.

for example: Flatlands:, Edwin Abbott, 1838-1926TitleFlatland: a romance of many dimensionsLanguageEnglishDownload the txt file.

Step 2: Clean Up the Text.

Picture of Clean Up the Text.

Use a text editor to clean up the text. You will want something that has a search and replace function. MS Word works fine. I've also used pages on the mac. Some of the more skeletal editors are even better.

I'm interested in having no line breaks or pagination, just a single, continuous line of the entire text of the book.

Some tips on search and replace:

you want to remove all tabs, and all pagination and break returns. it helps to "show pagination" (word) or "show invisibles" (pages) so you know you've gotten rid of them all. You can now cut and paste those "invisibles" into the search bar. In WORD, a carriage return shows up as p

if you put to spaces in the search bar, and one space in the replace bar, repeated running of that search and replace will leave you with nothing but single spaces between all of your text.

sometimes it is handy to replace with something else first to do a check, something really improbable like ZXY* then you can really quickly see whether its doing the right thing.

I generally do:
paragraphs first.
then tab marks.
then excess spaces. (see above)

Step 3: Bring Text Into Illustrator.

I'm not going to go through the entire process, but a few of the important bits. Generally I just cut and paste into illustrator.

Oh. This is going to seriously tax your machine. Use a fast machine. Illustrator doesn't handle huge gobs of text all that well. I've got a g4 powerbook with 1Gb of RAM and it takes a few minutes for each operation for a big book once you get close to finished.

Step 4: Set Page Size

Picture of Set Page Size

file : document setup

make it as large as the output device you are using - in my case a 42" HP roll printer.

Step 5: Draw the Shape That You Wish to Fill With the Text.

Picture of Draw the Shape That You Wish to Fill With the Text.

use any of the polygon or other path drawing tools.

Step 6: Use the Fill Text Command

Picture of Use the Fill Text Command

to enter your block of text in the path you've just created.

Step 7: Choose the Font You Wish to Use.

It is really important to do this NOW. if you try and change fonts later it will ruin your layout as they are all different sizes.

Step 8: Choose Your Paragraph Settings.

also important to choose justified or whatever your paragraph settings are now.

Step 9: Fiddle With Font Size Until Text Block Just Fits Inside Your Shape

Picture of Fiddle With Font Size Until Text Block Just Fits Inside Your Shape

now you are done and ready to print. fight with your printer drivers for hours and hours. I used a MAC to a HP designjet 500. worked real purrdy like.

Step 10: Paper Options.

Picture of Paper Options.

works nicely on paper, but you can also get roll canvas that makes it a real archival work of art. make sure to spray with fixative after you print on canvas.

This image is of a print on medium quality paper. It came out much better than it appears in the photo and is a beautiful addition to my office.


threecheersfornick (author)2007-08-01

Is there a good illustrator alternative that I could use? ...say, The Gimp?

Yup, called Inkscape.


It's funny, because since I left that comment, I've spent hours drawing things in inkscape!

bgschiller (author)2007-02-15

can anyone think of a way to do this, but in multiple colors making complex shapes? like pointillism, but with text. I guess what i mean is, doing the same thing as you did, but the text going straight across regardless of shape just changing in color. I don't think i'm expressing myself very well...

edukdu (author)bgschiller2007-04-30

you will have to paste the text on photoshop...then choose the image..and you will fit the text to image as you like, then you select the text with Ctrl + mouse click over the text layer, then everything will be selected, now you click on the image layer and press Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V...and now you have a text with texture...from the source image...i will try to made a picture...

edukdu (author)edukdu2007-04-30

OMG...i used printscreen to make the has 468Kb...its an animated GIF...I cant upload....anyway... the final result...Tadã...

edukdu (author)edukdu2007-04-30 the link...was a problem with the attachment of the gif...strange...

Example Tutorial

See ya

Edu Gomes

Ducky_2010 (author)bgschiller2007-03-04

I think I understand you. You want a big block of text, and different colors within the text making the shape? I think it could be done with photoshop. Make a giant text box with one layer, the shape on another, then use the magic wand and fill with color of choice. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I think it can be done.

munkey_b0y (author)2006-12-05

I'm new to both Inkscape and Ilustrator, and I can't work out how to actually create a shape that I can add text to, it just seems to add the text in a regular rectangle of it's own. When I try using the area type tool it tells me it is the wrong type of shape. so any help would be greatly appriciated. The end result I'm trying to get is a shape of a raven with 'The Raven' by Edgar Alan Poe written in it. cheers

zachninme (author)2006-09-29

I find it ironic how you are turning Flatland into a cube :-P

MauiChris (author)2006-08-23

There is a program called Rasterbator for making large banners or pictures out of small ones.

It figures out how to space the file out onto however many pages you want and you print them and cut the border off and paste it all up (or if you can print to the edges... do that.)

hivoltage (author)2006-08-09

wow this project is awesome. i made a wallbook out of The time Machine. i used the large printer at my dads work. it has to be printed pretty huge at a high resolution to be readable tho

hivoltage (author)2006-08-01

you can extend the usable time of the free evaluation version of illustrator indefinately with a patch i have. i can email it to you if you are interested. its how i got my copy of illustrator

christoforos (author)2006-07-11

Really nice work. I plan to print a tux made of linux 1.0 kernel as soon I get access to a large printer. This is how i got my txt with the source code in linux:
- Downloaded
- Extracted it by running "tar -jxvf linux-1.0.tar.bz2"
- Deleted uneeded file by "rm -f linux-1.0.tar.bz2"
- running this bash script:
for i in $( find ./linux ); do
echo $i: >> out.txt
cat $i >> out.txt
- Follow this instructable on out.txt to remove whitespaces

You could obviously use a more recent kernel release, but it would dramatically increase filesize. I chose 1.0 because that's where it started ;)

cookiedough (author)2006-06-25


nd (author)2005-12-20

Use inkscape ( -- works fine for me. Maybe I will post my files here...

ehntoo (author)nd2006-01-03

nd: any tips on doing it with inkscape? I plan on doing a poster with the text of the first Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, all overlayed onto a inkscape-traced copy of the thumb. I'd pick up a copy of illustrator, but I'm rather too broke at the moment.

cmhdave73 (author)nd2006-01-01

I've been trying to figure out how to do this with inkspace myself... instructions for that would be great.

el kabong (author)2005-12-16

This is a fantastic idea that I'd like to make as a christmas present. There are only two problems for me: 1- I think my machine is too slow 2- I would likely be using gimp or photoshop, not illustrator any suggestions as to minimum system requirements or how to do this in one of those other programs?

fatecreatr (author)2005-12-04

i'll probably seem like a complete idiot but everytime i go to paste the text into either photoshop or illustrator it only seems to take a certain amount before it all dissapears and is unusable. is there a maximum amount of text i can enter? anyone know what i'm doing wrong?

rougewisp (author)2005-11-28

Arg, Photoshop is my forte, not Illustrator. Can someone help me with trying to get the text to apply to a certain shape?

erpsy (author)rougewisp2005-12-01

First create your shape, most any shape will work. Then select the area type tool. It is the large T in the squiggly box 'under' the regular type tool (you can use the regular type tool, it will become the area type tool when you click on a shape). Click on you shape (you have to click the edge of the shape). You will get a flashing curser indicating that your shape has become a type block. Start typing or paste text from the clipboard.

pacifisticuffs (author)2005-11-28

So after you paste in the text, did you rotate the shape, create the white separating lines and then color the different blocks?

saul (author)pacifisticuffs2005-11-29

For this particular piece i created the three text blocks first (empty text bopxes in illustrator), then divided the text into 3 parts by word count, (text editor) then cut and pasted those pieces into the relative boxes. If you open the illustrator file that should still be apparent. Illustrator has reasonably good tools for manipulating the text and alligning along the paths.

erpsy (author)saul2005-12-01

Illustrator provides a great way to flow text. First, create all of the shapes that you want to fill with text. Select your first shape and paste your text into it. If there is more text than will fit into that shape, a small box with a + sign will appear at the bottom right corner. Then, select all of your shapes and go to Type->Blocks->Link. This will create a single type container using all of your shapes, allowing you to change the formating of the text to flow between and fill up you shapes.

kiteship (author)2005-11-28

You can get a 42" print at any Kinko's (and surely elsewhere). Color, too, and you can email your file + order online, than pick up the finished goods (I have no connection with Kinko's; use your local shop if you can) Way cool, Saul. I assume this is the same way you did your Origin of Species poster. killer!

wipeout (author)2005-11-28

If you have copy of Textpad it will remove all the line breaks etc in one move. Under the edit menu, just select join lines. Then all you have to do is replace the extra blank spaces. It is much easier to use and quicker than Word. Thanks for the great idea, working on one now as a present for my wife.

eleraama (author)2005-10-15

I did this using Adobe Photoshop, turning some text from Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary" into an american flag. (I ended up making the background black for greater visibility of the image), and I must say that it looks fantastic. Thanks! (Printed it on a 8.5x11, so I couldn't get all the text, but it gets the effect across)

EvolutionKills (author)2005-09-01

That's an extraordinary idea. Very attractive. I just wish I had a large-format printer. Maybe tiling it and aligning the tiles behind a big piece of glass would work. Have you tried any alternatives?

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