Money will be extremely tight for us the next few seasons. Perhaps it is for you as well? In that spirit (and always in the Christmas spirit, my favorite) I’ll share with you over a short series some unique and inexpensive gifts to make.
Chances are you will want to make one for yourself! Starting now ensures you a more relaxing time later, being confident that your special items are made and tucked away.
Our library book sale had a “Fill your basket for 50 cents” sign. We stocked up on Reader’s Digest Condensed volumes. Unsure what to do with them at the time, they turned out to be perfect for this project. The aesthetic quality of the cover should be considered, as it could remain unaltered. We will be basically gluing pages together, carving out a niche, and creating a hidden spot.
Old books, hardcover with pages tight inside binding
Small foam paintbrush
Plastic grocery bags
Prepare your book for Modgepodge by carefully wrapping the outer covers with plastic bags. The goal is to avoid having the pages all stick to the cover. We chose to tuck in a few pages in the front and back as well, to still have the look of a book until we opened it up.
If you don’t have Modgepodge, we had success mixing white school glue with a bit of water to thin it down as well. Taking care to keep the covers dry, start painting the adhesive onto the pages, holding them firmly. This will require several coats. Put something heavy on the book while drying to keep pages together. Once dry, open it up to see where you might have missed and keep going until all pages are completely adhered to each other.
Once the adhesive is completely dry, remove the plastic bags. The book should have all the pages stuck in a tight rectangular unit. Carefully (oh so carefully) use your utility knife to begin cutting layers of pages out of the center. Mark about 1 inch in, the spot you’d like to carve out. Expect to go slow, taking out a few layers at a time until you reach the desired depth.
The labor is done! This is where the personalization starts, and the possibilities are endless. The words could be left visible, covered with paint, repapered with ones to match the cover. Dollhouse size trinkets could be inserted for a theme, special mementos of a trip, heirloom jewelry. The cover could be altered as well. A nice ribbon can be tied around it for a beautiful presentation.
If you like themed ideas, here are a few to get started:
A cookbook, with spices and some favorites recipes inside. Tied with a wooden spoon in the bow
A personal theme, with the inside made into a frame with special photo showcased
An atlas, with a compass and travel items
A dictionary, with nice pens and notepads
Any special theme with a gift card inside
An antique book with special heirloom jewelry to pass down