It never fails.
The kids just had to read those books over the summer.
And they just had to read their own copies - not the ones that you got from the library*, Mo-omm! You are so uncool!
And now that school's starting again... your kids would rather sit two hours in a spike-lined coffin than look at those books again.
So what to do with all these books? Full of... paper?
Did someone say... "Paper Steampunk Top Hat?"
I thought so.
*Note: The books used in this craft were, in fact, library books that were taken out of circulation due to damage. I always encourage you to pre-love any books used for craft projects.
1 book (I used Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling & the decorations came from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik)
small craft blade
scrapbooking glue (because it had a handy dual applicator, but probably could have used craft glue)
pencil with eraser
stain (black tea and some spray stuff from the craft store)
For optional decorations:
crepe paper streamers
2 metal paper fasteners, aka "brads"
20-gage floral wire, gold
wire cutter with rounded plier end (to shape wire)
Step 1: Prep your paper
Using a small craft blade, cut out a bunch of pages from your chosen book. You could use a pair of scissors, if you are careful, but I recommend anything from the box cutter/X-acto family.
It is better to go ahead and get more pages than you think you'll need now. You can use them to mock up your pattern if nothing else.
Okay, now give your paper that vintage look.
Crumple your paper, then smooth it out. Now, do it again. You should have a softer medium now, paper that feels more like fabric and looks nice and weathered.
Then make yourself some strong hot tea (black - herbals, etc. do not work well) or coffee and blot it over your pages. This can get a little messy, so you might like to work on a water-safe surface.
I personally laid out some plastic grocery bags on my kitchen floor and used the tea bag to apply the tea to my paper. You could try a sponge, some paper towel, or a rag.
You could also move the crumpling step to after the staining step. Either way, bear in mind that paper warps once you get it wet, so if you don't want to crumple at all, you will need to research paper stretching or alternative stain methods. Let everything dry before proceeding.