You probably saw it on Facebook—a Christmas tree constructed out of classic hardcovers. Our librarian told me this was a theme repeated at bookstores around our city and around the country.

In this increasingly digital world in which we live, work, and read, bibliophiles are looking for creative ways to demonstrate our love and appreciation for books. Even if we have to get a little crafty.

Books have always been part of my identity.

As a teenager reading on a boat, I was instructed, “Amy, wave!” and I waved my hand, nose still stuck in my book, and got drenched.

Probably one-quarter of all my earthly possessions are books—at least in weight. There are books I’ve edited, books passed down from my grandmothers, books I haven’t had time to read yet, books I will probably want to read again…

I not only love to read, I love the packaging of a well-designed book. I open French flaps, I run my fingers over spot gloss, and I absolutely must check to see if some creative use was made of the endpapers.

What does this mean in the age of the e-reader? Can we make new friends with the convenience of the electronic word and keep the charm and beauty of a well-made book?

Here’s where we get crafty

Poking around the library while my daughter was in her pre-teen book group watching “book trailers” on YouTube, I made quite a find: The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti (Abrams, 2011).

“Look,” I gushed, on the way out to the car, “You can take an old hardcover cookbook, take out the insides, and turn it into a tool bin for cooking utensils.”

“Those poor, poor books,” my daughter said.

Well, yes, the books are deconstructed. But they are re-imagined in creative paper-based literary heritage. They are made into things that will be loved and used.

Some projects repurpose the hardcover exterior—transformed into a Hanging Mirror, a Birdhouse, a Story Time Clock, or a Two-Book Luminary.

Others make use of the innards—transformed into a Bookmobile, a Pagework Quilt, or a Biographical Bracelet.

Or you can use the whole book and make a Best-Seller Bookshelf, a Literary Lamp, or a Book Ledge.

My favorite project in the book marries the old and the new. With an old hardcover, some Velcro, some decorative paper, and a bookplate, you can make … a Kindle Keeper.


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