one use for an old book

Spoiler alert – if you don’t like to see books defiled, please stop reading right now.

Okay, now that it’s just us book burners,* let’s be honest – has anyone actually looked up a word in a physical dictionary or encyclopedia anytime in the last decade? I know I haven’t, and I don’t think anyone had cracked open the spine of this baby I found for $1 at the thrift store in ages:


(Please note, this is not just a dictionary or an encyclopedia, but an encyclopedia of dictionaries. Only the best for my craft projects.) 

So, I plunked down the buck, got myself a glue stick, some tacky glue, and some wooden embroidery hoops (in various sizes) from Michaels, and got to work. (The glue and e-hoops cost me probably about $10 total, by the way, and I made several of these.)**

Sneak peek of the final project:


First, I cut out squares from the pages of the dictionary. I probably had four stacks in different sizes (largest was probably around 8″ x 8″) of about 100 sheets each (don’t worry about being too exact, they’ll just get rolled up anyway, and no one will notice the difference). Then I used a pencil, or a stir straw, or something similar to start rolling them on the diagonal. (Make sure you leave enough air to remove the pencil or stir straw, etc.) Right before you get to the other side, use the glue stick to – go figure – stick the corner down. Hold it in place for a few seconds until it’s secure. Repeat approximately 1,000,000 times. Not really a million, but you’ll probably use 50-100 rolls per hoop, so you might as well put something fun on (I’m talking on TV, just so we’re clear…) and get rolling!

Once you’ve got all your tubes, squeeze some tacky glue around a small section (2 inches or so) of the embroidery hoop, and start sticking them on, holding with your hand until the glue has dried a little bit. You can do all one size, or alternate (as shown below). This process will also take a while, and you’ll need some serious coffee table space to create, but it will be worth it.


Once you have them all done, your former dictionary (or encyclopedia of dictionaries) and embroidery hoops need some bonding time (get it? to let the glue bond fully?), so leave them horizontal for a couple of days if possible. Then hang the embroidery hoop from a nail in the wall, and stand back and admire. These things are really light, so you don’t need anything fancy to hang them. 



(Yes, I know I didn’t get the whole thing in the shot. My bad. But aren’t those chairs pretty?)

I’ve got to say, even though it’s been cut up and re-worked, this old encyclopedia of dictionaries has gotten a lot more love lately in its new form than it did collecting dust on a thrift store shelf. So. There’s that.

By the way, I was inspired by a project in this book, which has some great ideas for more ways to use old or discarded books.

*I have never actually burned a book. Who do you think I am? I have an English degree!

**Also, I feel the need to mention that I did not get many process shots, but if you have any questions about my steps listed here, please don’t hesitate to ask!


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