This is the seventh in a series of posts about designing and building the wall art for my living room:
- Part One: How I got the idea
- Part Two: Building the frame
- Part Three: Buying the books
- Part Four: Taking apart the books
- Part Five: Laying out and attaching the books
- Part Six: Finishing it up.
How’s it Holding Up?
The piece is holding up very well. I expected some of the books to “open up” a bit more as time passed and they have. It gives the piece more texture.
I ended up having to put a wedge underneath the bottom portion of the frame to hold it off the wall. Originally the top of the frame came away from the wall for a centimeter while the bottom of the frame touched the wall. This angle made the books open up a bit too much. Putting the wedge underneath the bottom of the frame helps.
Dust hasn’t been an issue yet, but when I do have to clean it I’m going to use the wand attachment from my vacuum cleaner and the brush attachment to gently go over the piece.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some responses to some frequent comments and some good info if you haven’t read all of the posts yet. I’ll start with the most frequent question/criticism first.
Don’t you feel bad about destroying books?
Nope. I thought I would but I didn’t. I wouldn’t cut up a new book or something off my own shelf. I bought these books used and they were either library discards or others at the end of their life. Contrary to what we’d like to think, books don’t last forever.
I was really taken with a comment from a librarian about crafting with books:
“I have a strong opinion that books that you bother to keep in your life to read or refer to should be respected and taken care of … but once they pass that point, anything goes … My library receives hundreds of books a week as donations for our book sales, and we constantly weed [books] from our collections … The things we couldn’t sell often (used to) go to a recycling dumpster and we had to pay to have them hauled away and pulped…”
See? Trust your librarian.
Couldn’t you have made color copies of the book pages for the same effect and spared the books?
Maybe, but I don’t think it would have the same effect. This piece is all about texture and it would have been sacrificed if I didn’t use real books. Plus it would have taken a lot longer if I had to copy and make my own “books.”
You said you ordered the books but then you said you bought them used. Which is it?
Both. Most of the books are from an online store called Better World Books through Half.com. Buying them together helped me get better prices on the books and shipping. Funds raised by Better World Books go toward literacy initiatives and libraries. Read more about how I purchased the books here.
If you do this project and it doesn’t matter to you which books you use, you can hit a used book sale in your community and accomplish this much faster.
What are you doing with the rest of the book pages and covers?
They’re not going to waste, trust me. I’m enamored with book page crafts now, so you will have to keep tuning in to see what I have planned!
How Big is the Piece?
62 inches wide by 36.5 inches tall. We built it to fit the space over our living room couch.
Where did you get the frame?
Oh, I don’t really have tools in my house so I guess I can’t build my own.
Not true. I don’t have many tools either. It’s designed so a building novice with few tools can make it (we live in a small 2-bedroom duplex). As long as you have a store that’s willing to cut wood to size for you, the rest of the supplies are cheap. Read the full post on how I built the frame here, you can do it!
You can also pick up a cool frame from a thrift store!
How did you attach the books to the frame?
I glued cork board to the inside of the frame and then used thumb tacks. I used rubber cement for single pages. Read more about the process in this post.
Did you use just any old books or is there a theme?
They are favorite books of my husband and I (both fiction and non-fiction). One or both of us have read each book in the piece. It makes me smile when I look at it and see much loved stories.
Do any of the books repeat in different parts of the piece?
Did you specifically pick which page of the book to show? How did you take them apart?
Yup. Either the husband or I selected a favorite or interesting part of each book. It’s that much cooler to look on the wall and see when Mary discovers a garden or when Julia had that memorable meal which would change her life. Read more about this process and how I took the books apart in this post.
What’s the big grey blob near the top right of the piece?
It’s a picture of the Ursa Major constellation from the book The Stars by H.A. Rey. My husband received this book when he was a kid and used it to learn the constellations. It’s still on our bookshelf and is one of his most treasured books. I found a copy of it used but I ended up using a copy of the page. The original page is blue and white. It threw off the piece to have the constellation be the only color, so I took some artistic license. H.A. Rey also wrote Curious George.
I bet I could make this cheaper with a handful of books that repeated.
Yup, you could. I tend to make things more difficult than they should be. I should change the name of my blog to The Masochistic Crafter.
I welcome more of your questions! Thanks for stopping by!