Over the holiday season we hosted some fun DIY workshops at Strand Bookstore in NYC. We wish we could have travelled to every state for this workshop, but you know, we're a small team! So, after a few requests from you guys (thank you, we love getting emails like this) we thought it would be nice to put this hollowed out book tutorial together for you, so you can make these beauties from home! If you have a lot of books piled up and need a fun use for them follow along and repurpose them into itty bitty storage solutions. You can also make these hollowed books as gifts for the literary lovers in your life, or as a way to beef up a gift card for your bestie.
Let's get started!
- - books of all shapes and sizes, hardcover preferred
- - metal edge ruler
- - pencil
- - x-acto knife with at least 1 extra blade per book carved
- - mod podge or craft glue
- - paint brush
- - clear plastic wrap
First Things first, x-acto knives are REALLY SHARP. Please take extra precaution when making this project. Fingers are important and we really want you to keep all of yours!
Step 1. Open your book to the page you would like to start cutting. We think it is nice to leave a couple pages un cut towards the front of the book. Try finding a page with some visual interest and create the cutout around this feature. Take a ruler and measure and mark with a pencil at least 1" from the spine of the book.
Step 2. Measure out and mark with a pencil the section you would like to cut out.
Step 3. Using your ruler, lay it down along the first line you marked. Pressing firmly on the blade cut from the top of the line to the bottom of the line, right along the ruler. Continue cutting this way for all 4 lines, creating the cut out square.
Step 4. You should be cutting about 7 pages at a time but some books have thicker paper than others, this is just a good reference for your pressure when cutting. Take out the inside cut pages and set them aside.
Step 5. Continue cutting more pages, using the last cut page as a template for the new ones. Make sure as you go further and further inside the book that you keep the pages flat and the spine perpendicular to your tabletop. If the edges start sloping your cuts will end up coming out angled in the end. You can use clamps to help you with this but we found that just being mindful of the pages was easier than clamping.
Step 6. Cut until you reach a page you would like to stop on. It's nice to leave a page at the bottom with words so that when you open the book you know exactly what it is. If you have a specific one in mind we suggest using a scrap piece of cardboard to protect it as you cut. Or you can showcase a photo or decorative paper here. Just glue it down after you've cut to your desired depth. If your edges are rough you can use the knife to carefully scrape away excess paper and sand it down a bit.
Step 7. Cover the entire outside edge of the pages with a coat of craft glue, going around the 3 sides.
Step 8. To prevent the top cover from glueing to the wet pages while drying, use a piece of plastic wrap in between.
Step 9. Close the book and stack it underneath some heavy books to weigh it down and allow the glue to compress the pages. When the first coat of glue is dry (about an hour), apply one more coat of glue and repeat the drying process. Allow this to dry for at least 6 hours before using. You can take your piece a step further with additional details like painting the outside edge gold for a vintage effect, or adding gold leaf to the spine.
Store sewing notions and pretty things in the hidden compartment...
Or that tiny keepsakes that you just can't part with...
Cash, jewelry, love notes - what will you hide in your hand-carved, repurposed book?