Our local charity shop has a take-it-or-it-goes-in-the-rubbish box just inside the front door. I usually avoid digging through it because if the charity shop thinks something belongs in the bin, it probably does. However, on my last thrifting expedition I literally tripped over that vintage leather patchwork bag dangling over the edge of the box – most likely attempting an escape before it got dumped in the trash - it was just what I had been looking for to mate with the pages leftover from my secret book safe to create a few adorable mini book pendants!
Here's how to upcycle your own from items you may already have lurking about the house:
First, I deconstructed the purse & washed and dried the leather pieces, then I grabbed my awesome mini-drill, exacto knife, scissors, some leftover plant wire, a paint brush, leftover book pages, glue, pliers & chose a few of those clean scraps of leather.
- cut a few small rectangles of leather for the outside of your books – mine measured 4.5cm x 2cm.
- chop a book page into small strips, stack them together & wrap a leather piece around one end – now you can start to see how the book will eventually look. Mark the top page just inside the leather.
- chop off the excess paper at your mark.
Loosely pinch the pages together, apply glue all around the outside edges then use the paint brush to push the glue between the pages and clean up any drippy bits.
Repeat the previous steps for all of your books then clamp with clothes pins (or simply press under something heavy) until dry.
Once the pages are dry match them up with their leather partners & trim to size if needed – my final pages measured 1.5cm x 1.5cm.
Arrange the pages on the leather and get ready to glue!
Apply glue to the front, back and spine of your pages and stick them inside the leather pieces then clamp together until completely dry.
Once dry, trim off any excess leather bits and choose the books you’d like to stack, arrange them & glue together. (the ancient clamp I inherited from Opa worked fab to hold the books together while they dried)
To make a sweet single book simply cut a thin strip of leather long enough to tie around your book.
Glue it around the outside of the book.
Knot the ends & secure with a dab of glue (trim when completely dry).
Onto the hangers:
- drill a small hole through the top corner of your book (for those without mini-drills: hammering a nail or poking through with a thick needle works just as well)
- feed a piece of wire through the hole (20cm should be more than enough, it all depends on the size of your book)
- bend the wire up over the top of the book & twist it back around itself once
- make a small loop, wind the rest of the wire around the base of the loop, trim & tuck the pokey ends and you're fancy pendant is done! Put it on necklace and enjoy!
Next up: the book stack
- simply drill or nail a hole straight through the center
- insert a piece of wire (20cm – 30cm long)
- grab the wire at the bottom of your book stack with a pair of pliers & wind it around the tip a few times(wrapping around a thick nail, tweezers or scissor end works too)
- pinch the wrapped wire together & squeeze it flat against the bottom of the book stack – add a dab of glue for extra security if desired
- loop & twist the wire at the top to form the hanger – just as you did with the single book
- trim & tuck that pokey end and string on whatever you desire!
Here’s a tip for all those extra little scraps: trim them into triangle-ish shapes, spread some glue down the length, roll them up & when they are dry you’ll have some funky leather beads!
Using printed pages make these ittybitty books look oh-so-much-more realistic!
Quick tip: if you haven’t made a secret book safe & don’t happen to have any loose book pages scattered about, simply have a dig through your paper-to-recycle & use some strips from botched print jobs, torn envelopes, etc… the only criteria is that the paper should be a bit thick – like notebook or printer paper – newspapers or old phonebook pages are too thin & will transform into a gummy bunched-up mess when glue is applied.
For loads of DIY tips, tutorials and ethical sustainable style inspiration visit my Confessions of a Refashionista!