I love books that turn an idea on its head to make something new. Books that show me a new perspective on an old trope. Books that cast a familiar character in an unfamiliar plot.
Actually, I like this concept applied to my real life, too. I love book art — sculptures made from the pages of a book are the ultimate in taking the familiar and creating something new. And have you seen how unbelievable some of these sculptures can be? (The Guy Laramie pieces are truly breathtaking.) Last year, when my husband and I were planning our wedding, we decided to use books as centerpieces. (And favors!) But I wanted something to gussy up the big stacks of mysteries and romances, and came across these: Book vases.
So I set about making dozens of vases to scatter across our tabletops. Though the tutorial above shows how to make a book vase from a hardcover, I found that I preferred the size of mass markets. Tiny vases are just so adorable!
If you’d like to give tiny vase making a try, you’ll need:
1 well-read mass market paperback, the thicker the better
an X-acto knife
cardboard (to make a template)
pencil/marker (to help give the vase its shape as the glue dries)
2 small c-clamps (optional but very helpful)
First, decide on the shape you’d like your case to take. A simple curve is a good way to start. Cut your piece of cardboard down to size.
Remove the covers from the book, being careful not to cut the glue that holds the papers at the spine.
Now, if you’ve got a c-clamp, clamp the template to the book, and clamp both of those to a sturdy table. It’s best to clamp either end of the book, inside the cardboard template. That way, when you slice through pages, they’ll fall to the ground and your book vase will be securely affixed to the table. When I made this round of vases, I couldn’t find my c-clamps, so I just held everything together very carefully instead.
Begin cutting away pages. Be patient, go slowly! And be careful not to angle the blade in & under your template — you’ll end up with too-short pages that way.
Sometimes it helps to move the template down through the book as you cut (especially if you’re cutting sans c-clamps).
Don’t worry if some of the page edges are ragged — you can fix that (or at least smooth out the roughness so it’ll be less noticeable on the finished vase.
Spread out the pages of your vase, Don’t be too delicate — you want the spine to be pliable in order to get the best result. That’s why it’s great to use a well-worn paperback for this project. (For our wedding vases, I scoured my local St. Vinnie’s for very old mass markets.)
I really like to make two vases per mass market, so when I’m finished with the main shaping, I go back and cut the vase in half. If you want to do this, make sure you create a template that will give you two vase shapes!
Apply craft glue to the front and back pages of your book vase. Gob plenty of glue near the spine edge — that’s where you’ll want the strongest hold.
Wrap the pages around a pencil (or marker, depending on how thick your book’s spine is), pressing the glued pages firmly together. Secure with tape, as close to the spine as possible, to hold the vase together while the glue dries.
Remove the spacers and the tape, and fluff the vase pages out.
Now back to my original point: Books that take the familiar and create something entirely new. R.L. Naquin’s debut release, Monster in My Closet, does just that. She takes familiar creatures — closet monsters, brownies, dragons, reapers, and more! — and recasts them in a world that’s unique and wonderful. This is fresh urban fantasy, and when this manuscript came across my desk, I was delighted by the whimsy, imagination, and sense of fun within its pages. I highly recommend it!