Since becoming a blogger, I’ve worked on improving one blogging aspect or another. It’s bound to keep me busy for a long, long while as I have much to improve upon. Lately, I’ve been working on styling photos and hopefully you’ll notice the difference in the coming weeks. It was while I was working on this, that I decided I needed to have a few more photo props in my collection.
Vintage books seemed like a good item to add to my small collection. I searched (not long or hard) for some nice vintage books and came up empty handed. The truth of the matter is, I just don’t have the time to find exactly what I was looking for. So, I decided to just make my own.
How to DIY Vintage Books
A recent visit to the local Goodwill Store netted me 3 hardcover books. They were in great shape and close to the size I was looking for. Hardly vintage, but perfect candidates for the makeover I had planned.
Did you catch the titles of these books? Bathroom Blunderful Bloopers? The Elements of Scoring?! Um, that would be golf scores, for those of you (like my husband) whose mind was teetering on the edge of the gutter. The books were 50 cents each, so I didn’t have an issue with experimenting with them for this project.
I loved the ‘ripped’ page look of the Christmas book. All the books had very clean white pages, so the first thing I did was to take care of all that ‘whitness’.
Aging The Pages:
Most people probably brew coffee in a pot, however, I made instant coffee in a shallow Tupperware dish. Mr. Hobby and I are not coffee drinkers. Gasp! Yes, it’s true. I think I’ve had the instant coffee sitting in my cabinet for 15 or more years. I bought it for a family gathering once, and every family party we’ve had after that, my MIL brought her own coffee and coffee maker. I can only conclude that our coffee wasn’t very good. Anyway, I was glad I saved the coffee because it’s great for aging paper for school projects or for making faux vintage books. Tea would work just as well.
I dipped 3 sides of each book about an inch deep into the coffee for about a half minute and set them outside to dry in the sun. The coffee worked like a charm to age the pages, however, moisture is not so good for books and the pages became little warped after they dried. No worries, I had a solution for this.
Because the book pages were fully dry, I spritzed just the edges of the pages lightly with water, and then set a lot of weight on top of the books to flatten them. I left them this way overnight. It was great to see the weights being useful. I knew we had them hanging around for some reason . . .
You can skip the re-wetting step if you set a nice heavy weight on the books after they’ve had their coffee bath. Of course, if yellowed pages are not your thing – skip this part all together and just cover your books with the paper of your choice.
The plan worked great and the books were once again able to close. The pages looked aged and well used. It was time to cover the books.
Covering Books with Scrapbook Paper
I found 4 sheets of scrapbook paper I liked at Hobby Lobby for two of the books. I didn’t find anything else I particularly cared for the 3rd book, so I decided to see what I had at home to use.
The book bindings should be covered first. I cut a piece of scrapbook paper larger than I wanted the binding size to actually be, because in the next step the 2nd piece of scrapbook paper covers a portion of the binding as they overlap. I tested the fit, then used an X-Acto blade and Mod Podge to attach the paper. I spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the underside of the paper. A brayer comes in handy if you have one. If not, use a rolling pin to accomplish the same thing, which is to make sure there are no air bubbles or big clumps of glue under the paper. The paper should be as smooth as possible.
Here are the binding of all three books covered. You can see they are not exactly even from front cover to back cover. Again, this is okay at this point, because the 2nd paper will overlap this and even it out.
The next step is to cover the front and the back of the book cover separately. Here is where you want to be more careful to make sure this paper matches up front cover to back cover. Use Mod Podge as the glue on the underside of the paper and the brayer to smooth the paper out.
It was like wrapping a Christmas present.
You can see in this picture, where the coffee stained the pages. Some people put a piece of card stock over this to clean up the inside flaps. I decided against it as my books will just be used for display. (Edit: Mr. Hobby informed me that he would like to read the golf scoring book sometime . . hummm. . .hope the coffee smell doesn’t bother him!)
Here are my covered books. I think the plaid book needs to have the cover aged a little – but I ran out of time for that today. I’m satisfied with the other two books. You can coat the top of the books with a coat of Mod Podge which will help protect the paper. I fully intend to do just that, but I haven’t yet because I’m still on the fence as to whether or not to try aging the cover of the 3rd book. What do you think?
I stacked the books and tied them with twine and they instantly became a prop in this photo of ‘The Penguins‘. My oldest son made the penguins in art class many years ago. I have always loved these little penguins and thought it was about time they appeared on the blog . . .with some lovely vintage looking books in the background of course.
If you enjoyed this project, we would love for you to Pin It to share! Thanks so much for supporting our blog.