Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Scrap Bin Books

When you make a paper or fabric book project, I hope you save all your scraps. When I make a project with beautiful papers like the 10 paper box a few days ago, I can prolong the experience by making a miniature item with what is left. This little book is 2 inches square with a 3/8 inch spine, and about 40 pages inside of very lightweight watercolor paper found in my scrap bin. 

An easy way to make a miniature of a favorite book structure is to take the instructions and divide all the measurements for materials in half, and photocopy any templates or patterns at 50% reduction. This will result in a book that is approximately one-quarter size of the original. For example, if your instructions are for a 4 x 6 inch book, 50% reduction will produce a book that is 2 x 3. When reducing the dimensions, you might want to add just a little extra for the turn-ins for covered board projects , as it is difficult to work with 1/4 inch wide paper for this purpose.

The other way is simply to let the size of the scraps dictate the project. A lovely little woven spine book that I taught at this year's ArtFest was created as a by-product of having some luscious Fabriano watercolor scraps from the previous year's summer workshop leather journal. (When you prepare as many as 50 class kits, you end up with some serious scrappage!) Let the materials you love the best determine the direction, and make it up as you go. Seredipity is good! 

I keep two scrap baskets on my paper cutting table. One is for decorative, text and cover weight papers; the other is for board scraps. When they reach overflow status, they are roughly sorted by size and transferred to larger plastic bins. When those bins overflow, it's time to make a donation to a local art teacher or to students if we are in summer session. 

Now I'm off to hunt up some old French postage stamps to collage onto the pages inside. Sometimes I actually do make books with content!


  1. What an excellent idea. I can't wait to go through a whole year of scrap paper cuts. Maybe I could have enough to do a Journal Novel Series. Thank you for sharing.


  2. I am going to say it again. I am so glad you are blogging. I love having this visual contact with you and what you are doing.
    Hugs to you, my friend.

  3. I too have collections of scraps of text and decorative papers, my own marbled papers, board, leather, book cloth - it's such fun to find ways to use them in books and cards. I hate to throw anything out.