Introduction: Recycle Old Books Into Stickers

About: I like to divert stuff from its intended use. Most of my crafting is based on re-use and recycling due to my urge to use resources consciously (and my small wallet). As I like to consume ideas rather than prod…

In this Instructable I'll show you how to use old books to make stickers. These stickers are like oldfashioned stamps - you have to lick them (or wet them with a sponge) in order to make them stickable.

I came up with this idea when I visited the public give-away-bookshelf near my place. I again and again met the same old encyclopedias from the sixties and seventies standing in the shelves. These books waited there for quite a while to be picked up, and I finally decided to adopt them to become my new crafting interest.
Since then I always check the give away bookshelf for books with nice pictures. (One of my favorites are old gymnastic books, they make hilarious stickers.)
I also bought some books about animals at the thrift store, as the children I made some of the stickers for are really into animals. And also some comic books had to be chopped up...

Basically you can use whatever pictures you like.
You only may be careful with homemade printouts made with an ink jet printer, the colors could dissolve – but I guess laser printer pictures should be fine. Very thin paper like newspaper paper is a little bit harder to work with as it tends to wrinkle more, but a long as you are gentle it works fine.

Depending on the pictures you choose for your stickers these stickers are quite a nice present for children as well as for adults. They are also useful to beautify your own stuff and the urban space around you...

I'll include in this instructable the recipes for two kinds of glue you can make yourself and I will also show an alternative for more durable stickers.
The lickable glue stickers are easy to remove - you just peel them off or wet them and they will stop to adhere. (this is especially useful when you give them to children... if you want stickers which stay for a while you may use the more durable option)

For children I like to make a tear-apart-version of the stickers as shown in step 6.

I'll also show you how transform an old book into an sticker-album to sort and store the stickers.

Step 1: Glue Recipe No1 (Gelatin)

I'll show you two versions for the lickable glue.

One is made of gelatin and the other one is made of tylose, also known as Carboxymethylcellulose.

I'd like to mention here belsey's instructable about glue. She also gives a recipe for lickable glue made of gum arabic. You may try her recipe as well.

To make Gelatin glue you need:

- 1 package of gelatin powder (this equals 1 tablespoon gelatin powder)

- 1 tablespoon cold water

- 3 tablespoons of boiling water

-1 teaspoon of sugar

-1 teaspoon of lemon juce

Mix the gelatin powder with 1 tablespoon of cold water to prevent lumps.

Add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and mix well.

Add the sugar and the lemonjuice.

Stir well and let the mixture rest for a few minutes, it takes a moment for the gelatin to dissolve completely.

You have to use this glue while it's still warm - as it cools the gelatin will solidify and the glue becomes unspreadable. Reheat the glue by placing the glue container in a pot with hot water - or carefully in the microwave.

Step 2: Glue No2 (Cellulose Gum)

You can also use Carboxymethylcellulose for your glue.

Carboxymethylcellulose, also known as Tylose or E466 is food save and used (amongst other uses) in cake decorating to make sugar decorations.

You can get it in cake decorations supply stores or at the pharmacy – or, if you live in germany you could also buy “Kukident Haftpulver” which consists 100% of cellulose gum (only use this product, others contain additional ingredients)

To make cellulose glue just mix 4 tablespoons of cold water with half a teaspoon of Carboxymethylcellulose powder. Stir very well while you combine both, the powder very much tends to form lumps...

I like to add a teaspoon of glucose sirup as the taste of the glue is very bland, it makes it a little bit easier to lick.

Depending on how lumpy your mixture is it may take a while for the Tylose to completely dissolve. You don't need to be stressed about it, time will do the job. (the two last picture of this step shows the glue half an hour after mixing - and ready to go)

The very first thing you might want to do with your glue is to apply a label on your glue container : )

Step 3: Choose Pictures

Now you have to decide which pictures are going to become your new stickers.

Go though your books and choose whatever pictures you like.

I recommend to cut either the whole page or to cut out your chosen picture with a generous amount of space around, this makes it much easier to handle the paper when you later apply the glue. Don't cut the pictures into sticker shape before the glue is applied!

Always check the backside of the page before you cut – sometimes there is a even nicer picture on the backside.

Step 4: Apply the Glue

Cover your workspace with old newspapers and apply the glue on the back.

You don`t need to be too generous, a thin layer works well and too much glue makes the paper wrinkle.

Now just let it dry.

Sometimes I like to apply a second layer of glue, as some paper absorbs the glue a lot. But let the first layer dry completely before you add the second one.

Some kinds of paper tend to become a little bumpy after drying. You may press the paper under some heavy books if that's an issue for you, but usually you don't recognize the bumpyness on the cut out stickers.

Step 5: Version : a More Durable Alternative

Sometimes I want the stickers to be a little bit more durable.

I use double faced adhesive tape for this task.

Just stick the pictures to the sticky side of the tape and cut cut out the shape of your picture.

To apply the sticker you just have to peel off the backing of the tape.

Of course these kind of stickers are still made of paper and more likely to dissolve than a sticker made of plastic - but they stick very well and last quite a while as long as you don't expose them to water too often. The sticker on my bike sticks there since two years and still looks fresh.

I guess to make them really durable you could cover them with some sort of varnish...

Step 6: Cut or Perforate the Stickers

Now it's time to cut out the stickers.

You can use a scalpel or sharp scissors to cut them out.

If you want to make tear-apart stickers you can use your sewing machine and "sew" around the pictures.

Use an old needle for this, choose a rather tight stitch, sew rather slowly and don't use thread : ).

I recommend to put 3 or 4 sheets of spare paper underneath your sticker sheet - this makes it easier for the machine to transport the paper.

You may want to make some test-stitches first to find the right stitch length.

Step 7: Make the Sticker Album (step1: Preparation)

You can use an old book to make an album for your stickers.

This obviously doesn't work like a regular sticker album where you can stick in your stickers and tear them apart again. It's more like a album for stamps. You can store and sort them there in their "unlicked state".

You need:

-an old book

-some sort of not to thin plastic foil ( you can use for example sheet protectors or sheets of laminating film (unlaminated)) wax paper is also okay but more fragile.

- a sharp cutter knive

- a ruler

- binder clips and some rubber bands

-some scrap cardboard

You have to cut away some of the pages to make space for the stickers.

I choose to cut away 10 pages per album page (but you could do less).

Put the scrap cardboard underneath the 10 pages

Place your ruler on top of the ten pages, near the spine of the book (about 1/7 of an inch or 4 millimeters away from the spine)

Cut with your sharp cutter knive along the ruler until the 10 pages come apart.

Now page forward the next 3 pages and pin them out of your way with some binder clips.

You are going to sew these 3 page together in the next step and by using 3 book pages for one album page the album becomes sturdier.

Cut away the next 10 pages.

Continue in the same manner until you reach the end of the book.

Step 8: Make a Sicker Album (step2: Completion)

Now take your plastic sheets and cut them into roughly the size of your book. It doesn't need to be perfect, you can always trim the edges later.

Place the plastic on top of the 3 pages and secure it with some binder-clips.

I recommend to clip away the book cover and all of the other pages to make it easier to sew. Take a look at the pictures to see what I mean...

Now sew along the left side and the bottom side of your plastic and 3 pages sandwich. Use again an old needle, choose a rather long stitch lengh.

Voila! You managed to make the first page of your new sticker album.

Now just continue with the remaining pages in the same manner.

If you like you can add an easy closure to your album by punching two holes in the back cover of the book, threading a rubber band through the holes and connecting the ends with and zigzag stitch.

Step 9: Fill It Up !

Now you can fill your brand new sticker album with some brand new stickers: )

Step 10: Sticker Pouch

If you want to give away some stickers as a presents and don't want to make the efford to make a whole album you can sew them into an small see-through-envelope:

Just take a piece of paper, stack the stickers on it and place a piece of plastic foil or some wax-paper on top. Sew along the the edges. Enjoy your little sticker pouch.

Step 11: Stick Them Everywhere!

Go crazy and make huge amounts of stickers!

It's fun!
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