Vintage Book Repurposed Purse!




Introduction: Vintage Book Repurposed Purse!

About: I'm a mother of two small boys (who are fantastic!!) and a wife who loves life and living! I am the luckiest person I know when it comes to the small and wonderful things in life! I had a rocky childhood that …

Oh, what to do! What to do! I've got tons of vintage books and nowhere to put them. I've put them on eBay and no one wants them. I've also tried to donate them to local thrift stores but the printed works are in very low demand so I was turned away and told to give them to libraries which also turned them down because of the age and condition of most of them. I was left with a sense of loss. I absolutely love vintage books and couldn't understand why no one seemed to feel the way I did. I needed a solution for this problem and fast. With Christmas right around the corner, I also needed gifts that were really amazing but not expensive. So I searched the web to find a repurposing for my vast collection of vintage books and stumbled on some truly great ideas! Here is one that I actually did and my process! Enjoy! (I have a lot of photos of this project so I have made the steps into collages to save space. Thanks guys!)

This is also on my blog. I'll post a link at the end of this 'ible if you'd like to check it out;)

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies!

What you will need.

  • ·A vintage book
  • ·Coordinating fabric
  • ·2 purse handles or ribbon to use as handles
  • ·A yard of ribbon to match your book and fabric and a button (to use as a closure for your purse)
  • ·An empty cereal box or piece of cardboard (to adhere your fabric lining to)
  • ·Clear finger nail polish (to stop fabric from fraying)
  • ·Glue (both spray glue and crafting glue)
  • ·Needle and thread (or sewing machine)
  • ·Scissors
  • ·Pins (to keep fabric together during the sewing process)
  • ·Pin Cushion

Step 2: Find a Vintage Book That Needs New Life!

Find a vintage book that is in serious need of a second life! (I usually put my vintage books that are rare or unique on eBay for a month or so to see if anyone is interested in them and if not, I either keep them or repurpose them.)

I'm using a small book that won't fit much but will look cute with a little black dress. My phone and drivers license will fit along with some spending cash but not much else. I love the vibrant pink color of this book. Also the black and white graphic art is a huge plus!

Step 3: Removing the Pages...

Removing the pages from the book. This is a delicate process. It took a lot of soul searching for me to actually do this. I love reading and love books so to disembowel one felt wrong. I know that this book will be used more this way but it hurt to remove the pages. Choose your book carefully!

Step 4: Making the Side Templates.

Make the sides' template. Stand your book on its side on a sheet of paper. Trace around the side of your book as seen in photo. Cut out template leaving a half inch of space from your trace mark along the outside.

Step 5: Making the Inside Panels.

 Making the inside of your purse. Lay your book out face down on your chosen fabric. Use your cutting device to cut around your fabric an inch or so from the book. You want to leave an inch extra fabric to glue down around your cardboard insides. Grab your cardboard now. I used an empty cereal box. Measure out the inside of your book around your cover. You want the insides to fit right where the paper is on the inside covers. After you have the measurements cut them out.

Step 6: Gluing Fabric to the Cardboard.

Glue your inside fabric to your cardboard. You are going to want to place the cardboard on top of the inside of your book. Match up the sides and spine to the books sides and spine. You want the plain side of the cardboard facing up. Take your spray glue and give your cardboard a good light coating. Follow the spray glue instructions. Glue your fabric to the cardboard once the spray glue is tacky. Make sure your fabric is facing print out toward you. Don't glue print side down.

Step 7: Sewing the Sides..

Making the sides. This step is where you get to use your sewing skills! I hand sew my sides but you can use a sewing machine and save lots of time. Grab your template that you made earlier and fold it in half. Now cut down your fold. Place one half of your template onto your fabric and cut around it leaving a half inch extra. Now do the other half of your template. Match the straight sides and pin. You will sew down the straight sides.

Step 8: Sew a Straight Line..

Now you will need to sew down the straight sides where you pinned. Once done open flat and place on your fabric and cut out a matching triangle. Do not cut in half. Now pin these together with backs facing out. Sew these together leaving a half inch or so open at the bottom to turn inside out.

Once that's done it's time to do that again! One more time for the other side. This gets easier the more you make.

Step 9: Finger Nail Polish!

Finger nail polish the edges of your fabric then set it aside. You will really want to do this step outside. The smell can make you sick. (The reason I used finger nail polish is because it's what I had readily available and it works but there are products you can buy from the craft store just for this kind of thing.)

Step 10: Ribbon Ribbon Everywhere!

Ribbon Time! Grab your purse handles for this bit. (If you are using ribbon for handles then you will need to measure the size you'd like your handles to be and glue them to your book as if you were doing this step but without the pre-made handles) You will want to have a good bit of ribbon inside of your book glued to help keep your handles in place. The bigger the book purse the bigger ribbon and more glue you will need. Since this is a small book I could have used much smaller ribbon had I wanted but I think the thicker ribbon looks better.

Cut 4 pieces of ribbon. Mine are about 4-6 inches long. Lace them through your handles and glue them to your book matching up the sides so the handles will line up. (Hint: I made a ruler mark on the white page of the book where I'd like my handles to be. This lined up perfectly. The ruler mark will be covered with the fabric panels made earlier.)

Fold your ribbon for the closure. This will look like an Awareness Ribbon if done right. Glue this into your book between the two ribbons that are glued for the handles. Next thread a piece of ribbon for your button closure. Glue into place opposite your Awareness Ribbon so that when your book is closed you can feed the button through the Awareness Ribbon to form a clasp of sorts.

Follow the picture guide to fully understand these steps.

Step 11: Gluing..

Gluing the inside panels and sides. Let's get those sides in! Check out the photos below. This will be done one side at a time.

As seen in photo 1 you will need to glue the sides down to one side of the book. (Hint: I ironed the sides in half. Make sure you have the sides halved with the sewn middle line on the inside. The whole purpose behind cutting the template in half for the sides and then sewing the two half triangles together was to make a crease that would allow for a cleaner close.) I've added close ups of these steps below.

Next add glue to the entire inside panel you just glued your sides on. I dabbed my glue all over paying special attention to the edges.

Then add the first half of your inside panel. Don't do the spine yet.

Let this dry for a few minutes before gluing the other side. (Hint: Place several books on top of the glued sides for a few minutes to make for a stronger hold.)

This next part can be a little tricky. If you have some paper clamps you may want to grab them now and use them unless you've a third hand...

Dab glue on the entire half of book you have remaining. You will want to put a line of glue down both sides where your side fabric will be and down your book spine as well.

Then very carefully place the side fabric triangles to the line of glue on the other side and tuck in the bottom of the triangle fabric on the spine. Add the inside panel and clamp with paper clamps.

(Pictures show detailed instructions. Please refer to them if you are confused or just ask and I'll try to walk you through.)

Step 12: Books on Books.

After about 10 minutes or so remove the paper clamps and place the books pages back inside the book so you can weigh it down with heavy books.

This will ensure that the glue hardens tight to the book and you do not damage the spine of the book. If you just place heavy books on top of your book purse empty then it will surly damage the spine and potentially ruin your entire book purse. That would be very sad

That's it! You're done! You have a brand new vintage book purse to enjoy and show off to all! This is also a wonderful holiday or birthday gift!

Happy Holidays!

(Here's the link to my blog and also my eBay link.)

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    Madd Tatter
    Madd Tatter

    8 years ago on Step 12

    I saw new books being done this way and sold, they took the pages and made a cloth cover for them thereby having your purse and being able to read it too. Will be making a burse or two soon, I also have some very small hardbacks that aren't worth reading. Thinking about turning them into wallets.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've always liked these. Thanks for sharing your version. :D


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Awwh! Thanks:) I really enjoyed making it. I've made 3 more since and they all turn out so nice. I'm giving some out as holiday gifts to friends that love to read and look cool! lol.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love it! Another thing I can add to my fun list. Thanks for sharing!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You are very welcome! Thank you! Have a great nite.