There is magic in very old books. They speak to you with a thousand tales. Secrets from the past. Adventure . Romance. Intrigue.
Restoration Hardware’s catalogue “Objects of Curiosity” was my inspiration for altering inexpensive soft cover books into expensive looking objects of desire. It is very easy to create these copies of magnificent l8ths century handcrafted journals.
All your need is a length of heavy string or twine, Elmer’s Glue, natural coloured muslin fabric, Mod Podge, Black craft paint, Gesso, a flat paint brush and an exactor knife.
I picked up some fat books (six inches by nine inches) 50 cents each in the discard bin at our local library. They were ideal since they were about the same thickness and would make a set.
l. cut pieces of twine for each book and glue to the spine with Elmer’s Glue. Let dry.
2. Cut muslin fabric slightly larger than the book. Do not use pinking sheers. You want the edges of the fabric to fray slightly.
3. Put sheets of wax paper between the covers and pages of the book and brush on a generous layer of Mod Podge.
4.Smooth the fabric onto the book and make a few small cuts on the fabric at the base of the spine.
5. Let dry a little and remove wax paper and let finish drying.
6. When dry add more cut along length of the spine.
7. Mix gesso with one or two drops of black craft paint and stir well. You want a dirty gray so you may have to add a little more paint.
8. Put wax paper between the book cover and the pages and paint the muslin with your gesso mixture.
9. Let dry a little and pull out wax paper and let dry completely. This may take a day or two. You are now finished creating your very French vintage books.
I was so delighted with the results I went on to cover really large coffee-table sized soft- cover books. The instructions are exactly the same. I also dabbed a damp tea bag on the edges of the pages to age them.
Sets of similar books retail for around $195.00. Doing it yourself it works out to about $6.00 a book. If you are a “crafter” and have Mod Podge and gesso on hand (as I did) the set of books cost me less than $5.00 for the set of four.