DIY Book Art




About: I am a teacher outside of Boston and I love making cool stuff! Any prizes I'm lucky enough to win will go directly to my classroom (when appropriate) where I teach 6-12th grade English, Social Studies, and S...

Every summer my husband and I go to SoWa, an open market in Boston. Many vendors do "homemade" crafts and one such vendor had book pages with images printed on them, framed, selling for $40 and up. While the frames were nice, and the pictures certainly looked cool, I can't pay $40+ for something I can make myself. Looking at the images it was clear that all I needed was some old book pages, pictures from the Internet, and a printer.

This Instructable will show you how to put together artisan quality book art using only a couple items you likely already have lying around the house. These pages make for great decorations (I have some up at home and in my classroom), gifts, and more!

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Step 1: Tools & Materials

-Color printer

-PNG or JPG images

-Book pages

-Picture frames (you can get inexpensive plastic ones from A.C. Moore for $1)

Step 2: Book Pages

I like to select pages from old dictionaries that match the theme of the picture being made. Barring that, I'll use pages that have fallen out of books (which sadly, happens a lot in my classroom).

Whatever size the page is, make sure you have frames or mat board that will fit it. I'm using a 6x8" frame, so I cut the page I'm using to fit that.

Step 3: Selecting Images

You want to pick an image that has an invisible background, that way when you print it, a white background or other unwanted additions don't show up. You can find these easily by doing a Google Image search for the desired image + png. Images that will have no annoying background showing up tend to have a "cross hatch" background as seen in the above photo. This type of background will not show up when you move the image to your document.

Step 4: Document Set Up

Once you have your desired images, set up a Word or Pages doc and drag the image into it. Set the page margins to match the size of the book pages you are using. If you're using Pages, go to FILE-->Page Setup. I haven't checked word, but I imagine it's the same.

If the image you want seems too dark, you can change the opacity and lighten it. You can also use the "rotate" feature to move to your image to your desired position.

When you are ready, put your book page into your printer and print!

Step 5: Ta Da!

The first two pictures are of the ship Serenity from Firefly. I made it about 2-3 years ago, and if you notice, you'll see the page the image is printed on is a dictionary page related to travel.

The TARDIS I made today and it is printed on an old college dictionary page about time.

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10 Discussions


1 year ago

THANK YOU for using a book that has no monetary value and no literary value. Many instructables that use old books do not take into consideration those things. One person drilled holes into an OLD science fiction book that looked worthless, but was actually a RARE book that sells for $600 bucks on Amazon. Another one used a large print book that sells for $150 on Ebay. I am a book lover, and I don't object to using an old book like this as long as people do a little research and not destroy books that have 5star ratings! Seems to me, that would be a DE-structable, not an INstructable.

1 reply

Reply 9 months ago

I would definitely not use a book I thought had any kind of value. I can't even throw away/recycle books when they're out of date or no longer needed.


3 years ago

A couple of notes on transparency and alpha channels (pretty much the same for our purposes.)

You can remove the background from .png files easily in Preview, iWorks and probably office (haven't looked lately). Preview will convert .jpg's to .png files and then allow you to remove the background. The magic wand works great with some files, while for others, you may need to do a little more work.

Note also that if you are going to sell these, you should use either public domain or creative commons images (allowing commercial use and alterations).

I usually have mixed feelings about using books for this type of thing, but a dictionary or other easily replaceable item, I can live with. :)

Thanks for passing this along!


3 years ago

OK, looks nice!

But How can I do the same inside an actual book, thing is the art work will be displaid on a book page, inside the book (not tired off)... so when the reader reads the story, he got the illustration appearing through the text...??????

4 replies

Reply 3 years ago

Yeah, thanks, but still have to find the technique to do so.
I see 2 ways or difficulties. The most difficult is to do it in a real book but not touching/changing the book binding. The second is actually the book binding method, unglue the book, detach each pages... then print your art work... and then bind back your book (sew it back or glue it back). In that second option, you can take the opportunity to create an artistic cover in relation with the book subject....
An other way would be to publish, print (with your art work inclueded) and bind your book.
That way, you create a book art work from scratch....
Enjoy, and good luck


Reply 3 years ago

iron on transfers.

not sure if background text would show through the tshirt kind, but it might.

ould also print on wax paper and try an iron/rub on type transfer method


Reply 3 years ago

You could screen print the images into a bound book. You would have to make the screen printing rig fairly adjustable but it could be done.

Bill Rose

3 years ago

I think I will experiment with this idea and see if I can refine the process or at least find a new way of using a text idea and images over-laid on each other.


3 years ago

It'a not gonna work with JPGs since they don't support transparency. Use PNG or GIF.