Using Books As Craft Materials

by Rachel Baker on August 6, 2014

This article is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, and foremost, is the art created out of the books in question. I can’t think of a better use for old romance novels that were going to be thrown away than to make dresses out of them…because what easier way is there for the looking-after-the-small-town-boutique-for-favorite-aunt-who-is-in-the-hospital girls in the romance novels to have make-up sex in the parking lot after the big fight with the hunky-bad-boy-never-been-in-love-before boys? (Yup…I dislike romance novels, but that’s not what this post is about.)

Second, the argument given by Aram Mrjoian, the author of the below article, is pretty good – all books are art, and its perfectly cool for you to use old books for your art projects, because otherwise, they’d be collecting mold and rot, or they’d be sitting in the landfill. He also says that using books for making new books would be a good idea too. I am all for both of these things – books for art/crafts projects and using books for recycled paper.

I use old books all the time for art projects – I also get galleys of books I would absolutely never ever buy or read and instead of throwing the books away, I use them for lots of projects, from household projects like lining drawers with the book pages to making strips of paper and combining them in an outdoor basket for birds to use in their nests. I also like to create cool journal pages using specific phrases or a collecction of words as quotes.

I don’t just do this with galleys though. I figure if I bought the book, its mine to do with what I want. If I want to write in it, or draw all over the pages, or even rip it apart, then so be it. Trust me, I have a healthy respect for books and those that write them; and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate them than showcasing in my own modest amateur art.

For those of you that follow us on Instagram, you might have seen some of the pictures I took of romance novel dresses that were being displayed at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago. If you haven’t checked them out (online or in person), I highly recommend it. The exhibit, called “Build Her a Myth”, is currently traveling around Illinois and Ohio. The artist, Carrie Ann Schumacher, found a pile of discarded romance novels at her local library and repurposed them, cutting up the books in the process.

I know at least a couple of people are flipping out right now because the books got cut up. And I mean shredded, hole punched, unbound- the works. Those specific books, as in the physical copies, will never be read again. I had to get pretty close to the glass just to make sure some of the dresses were actually entirely made from paper. I know you’re thinking, “BUT THINK OF THE BOOKS!” Don’t worry, we’re gonna dive into this issue, but first here are some pictures.

Romance Novel Dresses: Using Books As Craft Materials

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