Thursday, September 18, 2014

Crafty Thursday: Book Planter Vase

Kerry Hammond  has been making planters out of books and they are so cool. Since she used an Agatha Christie book right in the middle of her planter, we're featuring this craft during our special Agatha Christie week coverage. 

Always on the lookout for what I can make out of books, I came across this idea to make a book vase and thought I’d give it a try. I decided to make it into a book planter,though, because I love house plants but don’t like fresh or fake flowers. This craft has a higher difficulty level than any of my previous ones, but I was extremely pleased with the final product and found it absolutely worth it. You will either need a lot of time and muscle, or power tools. So read through to the end before you attempt it.

5-6 Hardcover Books that are the same height (covers removed)
1 Vase or Pot
Gorilla Glue
Mod Podge
Face Mask & Eye Protection

Alternative to Jigsaw: Exacto knife with sharp blade

Step One: Measuring and Drilling Holes 
Line up the books and set your vase on top to determine how many books you have to cut into in order to fit the vase inside width-wise. I got my books at the local Goodwill and picked authors I liked, but you can also do this with old or antique books for a different look. I had five books and my vase was small enough that if I cut into the center three I could leave the outer two books intact as anchors.  Make sure your books are all lined up facing the right way. The titles will go down the spine sideways like on a bookshelf, but the publisher name should be at the bottom and right side up. 

Put your anchor books aside and start with the first of the books you plan to cut into. Using your vase or pot (I got my vase at IKEA For $2) draw a pencil mark on the book where you will need to cut. Make sure you allow enough space for the vase to slide easily, because it will be hard enough to cut through once without having to go back and widen the cut. The penciled mark should be shaped like a rectangle with one of the small sides being the top edge of the book.

If you look closely at my finished product, you will see that the Michael Connelly book is slightly taller than the rest. If you have a taller book, you need to extend your cut-out lines and cut in a little deeper to account for the extra top part. Otherwise, your vase will not sit flat inside. If you don’t get this perfect, don’t worry. I’m sure you could put a little felt inside to even it out. Also, you’re not going to see if your vase is in there slightly crooked, and you’ll only have to be careful with your water level.

Step Two: Drilling
Using a drill (and your eye protection and face mask), drill two holes through your book. The two holes should be at the two right angles of your penciled line, at the place where the long sides of your rectangle meet the short side that is on the interior of the book. These drilled holes are to make the cutting process go smoothly, so there is no set size they need to be. I used a ¼ inch drill bit.

Repeat drilling process on each book you plan to cut through.

Step 3: Cutting
If you are using a jigsaw, cut through your three penciled lines. The drill hole will make it easier to turn your blade as you go around the corner. When you drill through or cut through a book the pages want to expand and separate. It took two of us to do this step. One to hold the book down and the other to cut. Alternatively, you could use a clamp, but you want to make sure that you don’t do any damage to the book surface with the clamp that will show on your finished product.

If you’re cutting by hand, use your exacto knife to first cut through the book cover, following your three penciled lines. Then cut through the book pages in batches and remove as you go. Your drilled holes will help you get the corners cut evenly. Trying to get the tip of the blade into the corner with each batch cut is difficult and you end up not cutting it out properly.

Repeat cutting process on each book you’re using to house your vase.

Step 4: Glueing
Using your Gorilla Glue, glue all your books together, cover to cover, in the correct order: with your two anchor books on the outsides and the cut books inside. Don’t forget to glue the front/back covers of your anchor books closed. Place the set on its side and put a heavy object on top. Dry for 24 hours.

Step 5: Mod Podge
Brush your Mod Podge on all exposed book pages. Apply liberally to inside cut-out pages and outside pages. Don’t forget the tops and bottoms of the books too. Place the set back on its side and put your heavy object back on for weight. I dried for about 8-10 hours and then stood my book vase up and moved it around to see if there were any loose pages. I had to reapply the Mod Podge a couple more times until I had them all glued down.

Insert your vase or planter, and enjoy.