'When a Book is Not a Book'It has taken me a long time to finally decide to do a tutorial. I do hope you enjoy it as much as I (and my photographer, Bobby G) did. My neighbor and good friend showed me one of these in a catalog and they cost beaucoups of money. :) So let's make one instead. And.....and....if you decide it's too hard or time consuming, I have made some for you and listed them in The Vintage Nest boutique. One is listed and the plan is to list the others in the next day or two. I love the look of these...so shabby and Frenchy looking. And what a fabulous place to hide a precious keepsake or fragile document or that ugly TV remote.
I researched a lot on how to make these secret compartment books or book boxes (the idea is definitely not a new one) and there was lots of ways to do it but this is my way after trial and error and...........................................
For goodness sakes, don't use a priceless book for this or a friend's book you have borrowed. ( just teasing with a grin) I have collected my books from the throw aways at the library and thrift stores. You want the books to be hard covers and be beat up and the older the better. I love the old worn patina of the vintage book outside page ends. And tissue thin book pages (such as dictionary pages) are hard to work with, so get something with thicker pages.
(Photo 1) Section off a portion of the front of the book pages with a large rubber band. Make a paste of 1 part water to 4 parts white glue. Paint the outside edges of your book pages with this glue mixture and set aside to dry. I put a piece of plastic wrap on the two sections of pages and weight it down with a heavy book and dry outside in the sunshine. The object is to have these two sections of pages all hard and glued together. (Ignore the fact here that my pages are already cut out. I took these photos out of sequence :
(Photo 2) Measure and mark the area of the pages you want to cut out.
(Photo 3) Before starting to cut out the pages, I found it made the job much easier by drilling a hole in each corner of the marked off area. That way your box cutter has a stopping point as you slide it through the pages.
(Photos 4 & 5) Using a sharp exacto knife or box cutter (I liked the box cutter best) carefully cut within the lines you have drawn. Do this carefully and slowly.......only cutting out about 10 pages at a time, removing the bits and pieces left behind as you go. This is time consuming but please don't rush. Continue to do this until you have cut the depth of the opening that you want.
(Photo 6) At this point I use a rough nail file to clean up and smooth the edges. Then I again painted the outside edge pages again and the inside cut out portion with the white glue mixture and let dry thoroughly.
(Photo 7) If the book is a dark color, (most are) it is best to give it several coats of white paint. This will make the color paint take much cleaner and easier.
(Photo 8) Now you are ready to paint your "hidey" book the color of your choice. I love the soft greens, pink, cream and soft blue. I just used a regular craft paint for this. Let dry and if you like, you can add a label to the book binding with white glue. I have used copies of vintage seed packets and antique post cards.
(Photo 9) I then antiqued the book some more with my nail file and used an antiquing medium for more patina. I just used what I had, which was an Americana craft paint called Asphaltum (brown). I put just a little on a soft cloth, rubbed it on the inside pages and gently wiped on. I put it on the cover of the book more sparingly in just a few places. I then did a very light whitewash with a diluted white craft paint. Let it dry and for a little extra protection I give it a matte finish.
Embellish any way that makes you happy and Voila.....there you have it!
Being that this is my first tute I probably left something out or didn't explain it very well, so I welcome your questions should you decide you can't wait to make one for yourself. My email is right over there>>>>>>>>>>>> on the side bar. :) See you for Pink Saturday!
P.S. This is VERY important. Don't do what I did and lay your brush down after gluing and forget about it. When you return it will be hard as a brick and ruined. Keep your brushes soaking in water until you return. :)