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DIY: Turn Old Book Pages Into Artwork

Meaningful artwork is important, especially when you end up looking at it all of the time in places like your own home. I recently discovered that my office walls were looking a little bland and needed some life, and I thought artwork using books within the artwork would make them that much more appropriate, since I happen to have endless shelves filled with books!

I happen to like old books for decor also, so I had a couple laying around that I could use for a project such as this.

From afar these almost look like abstract pieces, with just random lines left blank, but if you take a closer look, they actually have words. And if you’re lucky, those words have some meaning or just happen to be beautiful like the ones that I used. Let’s talk about the supplies.

Materials needed

  • an old book
  • a Sharpie (fine tip)
  • a ruler
  • black cardstock
  • frames
  • double-sided tape

The book I used is called Lust for Life by Irving Stone and is about Vincent Van Gogh’s life. It’s actually pretty good, and I did feel a little bad about ripping it up…

The first step is to find a sentence, word, or even a paragraph that is meaningful to you. Once you have that, rip the page out of the book and you can get started with coloring your page in. Before you get carried away, make sure you remember where the line you’re not coloring in is! Once you know for certain you can get started. Take your ruler and Sharpie and start around the edges, like this:

Keep going, making sure to skip over the lines you want to be able to read! At this point, you might want to shade in the entire area around the words you want to see so that you don’t make any mistakes.

Shading and Coloring

Continuing with your ruler, go all the way around the page. Don’t worry about how much you’re coloring just yet. It’s easier to do the border first then shade everything else in!

At this point, you better make yourself comfortable because you’re going to spending quite a bit of time making black lines back and forth across your page! Doing just one isn’t so bad, but because I made three of these, I swear by the end my wrists were bruised!

Repeat this process for all of the pages you want to use and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect. The most crucial things are making sure you don’t get marker on the words you’d like to keep and that you’re careful with the ruler so that you get a nice even border all the way around. Go crazy in the middle… and then before you know it, you’re done!

Surprisingly I did not need more than just one Sharpie for this! I was surprised, because with the amount of scribbling, I figured it would run out. My pages were fairly small, however (5×7, 4×6 in text), so it wasn’t too bad. Now you may not need this step, but because 4×6 frames were too small, and 5×7’s were too big, I had to do a little extra work. First, cutting the pages evenly all around. I didn’t want the sharp edges of scissors, and I preferred to have rough edges since this is clearly an old book and I liked the look of it.

I used a ruler and just carefully ripped the edges off evenly all the way around.

Framing your Artwork

Next, use some thin double-sided tape to stick your pages onto some black cardstock, because the edges will be showing when you frame these pages. I could have left a white background, but with the yellowed pages it wasn’t such a great look!

Now just stick these onto the cardstock and you’re ready to frame! It’s the easiest part, and the black really makes the page pop even more!

Let me show you some close-ups of the pages so you can see the quotes. I love the little bit of inspiration on this one, and it’ll be a lovely thing to look at while in my office!

This one has no deep meaning, but I thought the imagery was really beautiful! I also love how the edges turned out all rough-looking, but still straight. That was important!

And lastly, this quote, though in French, is very powerful. I do have a thing for the French language, and since I’m studying it, I thought this quote was even more relevant. In English, it says:

Knowing how to suffer without complaining is the only practical thing, it’s the great science, the lesson to learn, the solution to the problem of life.

– Irving Stone

And there you have it! I think this would be a lovely gift for the bibliophile in your life, though be careful – if you give this to someone who loves books too much, they may be upset that you ripped one up! It’s a great way to fill your walls with meaningful words, though, especially if you happen to have books around that are already ripped.

Will you give this DIY a try? Perhaps you have a favorite teacher you’ll be seeing as you go back to school, and this might make a lovely personal gift!

Thalita Murray

Thalita is a school teacher by day, fierce DIY'er by night. Her fuel of choice is ice cream (preferably chocolate) and you can always find her daydreaming of her next DIY project, scouring the aisles at IKEA, antique-hunting or cuddling with her adorable pup. She's also constantly glued to her phone, feeding her obsession with Instagram, of cours[...]

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