In this instructable I will explain the steps I follow to carve and decorate a book into a creative case for an engagement ring. This idea came to me because I wanted to propose to my girlfriend in a creative way, and with something that she wouldn’t think could have a ring inside. In addition to that, my girlfriend is a book freak, so what better way to gave her a surprise but with a book.
Step 1: Tools and materials:
This is the list of materials and tools I used:
- A hard cover book (thick enough to fit the ring)
- Scrapbooking paper (I used 5 different papers)
- Yuca Starch (Cassava)
- Thin cardboard (optional)
- Red fabric
- 3M Spray Mount
- Exacto knife
- Paint brush
Step 2: Preparing the book
As you can see I used an old math book. I choose it because there were three versions in my house, so one less wouldn’t make a difference. The first thing you want to do is rip the hard cover off. This is done by removing the paper that is attached to the cardboard all around the cover. You can use your finger nails, and help yourself with the exacto knife. Be careful not to cut the little flaps that go from the book itself to the cover, because you would need them later. When you are finish you will end with something similar to what the pictures show.
Step 3: Pasting the pages together
If you pay attention to the book spine, you will see that the pages are grouped together. In my case the book has 18 groups, and I had to paste together all the pages from a same group. You may ask why paste the pages together. Well, this is to make the carving easier and to make sure that the shape you cut will be align (you could try cut out something from a group of loose pages and see what happens).
To stick the pages together I made glue out of starch. This was made by dissolving 3 tablespoons of starch in a little of cold water, then adding it to 4 cups of boiling water and letting it cook for 2 minutes while steering. Next I let it rest until it was at room temperature.
The glue needs to be applied in one side of each page. For this I used a paint brush lightly submerged in the glue. I also placed a piece of thin cardboard under the group I was pasting so the glue won’t pass to the next section, and I only bond together one group at a time. You don’t want to get the pages too wet, because it will cause waves in the page when it dries, that’s why you have to lightly submerged the brush and also do one group at a time. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.
Step 4: Carving
I’m an engineer student, so I used Autodesk Inventor (Student version) to make a pattern for the carving. I first look up for a heart shape I liked, then imported the image to the sketch mode in Inventor and made a sketch to match the heart shape. Then I used the offset tool to make several hearts so I could choose one later, and print it out. You can even make the pattern by hand, but I prefer using a computer program.
With the print version of the mold, I decided the size I liked and start cutting the shape with the exacto knife, one group at a time (it becomes really hard to cut several layers at a time).
In the picture you will notice that the first group have a really nice and sharp cut, but the next ones doesn’t. This was because I had a “deadline” and I couldn’t wait for the glue to properly dry. So if you have the time let it dry for a week or more, it will make things easier.
Step 5: Ring holder
I needed to make something to keep the ring in place. Most ring cases use some kind of sponge cover with a fabric. So I print out another mold and paste it on top of sponge I had with the Spray Mount and cut the shape of the heart (a smaller heart than the one I used with the book) with the exacto knife. Then I applied Spray Mount to the other side of the sponge and place on top a piece of red fabric. When it was dry, I sprayed some more glue to the sides and paste the fabric to the sides of the sponge. Finally I made a cut in the center of the heart to place the ring and try it out.
Step 6: Scrapbooking and Finishing
I first want to apologize because this next steps I couldn’t take as much pictures as I would like, but like I said I had a “deadline” so I couldn’t stop to take pictures in every step.
The first thing to do is to cover the cardboard covers with the scrapbooking paper (or papers) of your choice, to let it just the way it was before you rip it off. You want the pieces of paper to be larger than the cover, so you could fold it around the cardboard. I used Spray Mount in this steps too because it is easy to used and dries pretty fast. Then you have to paste back the flaps to the inside of the cardboard and paste some more paper to replace the one you take out, and cover where the outside paper ends. You could glue some more scrapbooking paper in the inside of the book, especially if you want to write something for your love one, and to cover you awful cutting skills.
Then I glue together the ring mount to the book. And finally I wrote down the big question. For this last step I used something I think most people have forgotten, and that is carbon paper. I first print out the message with the font and the size I wanted, and then I place it on top of the page where I wanted it, with some carbon paper in between. With a pen I carefully follow the edge of the letters. When I was finished I removed the mold and the carbon paper, and with a pen I fill out the letters.
And that’s how I made it. Hope you enjoy it, and maybe inspired to make your own for that special day.