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DIY Wednesday: Book ’em Dano (aka Fall Pumpkin from an old book)

I love Fall. It’s about now that I’m missing my life in Maryland with the colors changing, the weather actually being pleasant and genuine pumpkin patches to visit. Oh well, a parking lot patch seems to be our fate this year (Thanks so much Florida!). So until we venture out in the heat to pick our pumpkin, I wanted to take a shot at making one from my hoard of random books I aquired (read hostile takeover) from my parent’s library. I love this book in particular because of the patina that was already on the pages. I did hurt me to cut away the beautiful redish-orange edges of the book, but the pages are still nice and aged. As they should be, the book was written in 1966 and I’m pretty sure this came from my Grandmother’s house after she passed. The woman kept EVERYTHING!

 So I started by getting my supplies together, everything I had on hand. I love that type of project!

  • A book paperback or hard cover: the thicker the book the larger your pumpkin will be, the closer to the binding you cut your shape, the fuller your pumpkin will appear
  • An Exacto Knife
  • A pair of scissors
  • A stick from outside
  • Mod Podge or 50/50 mixture school glue and water
  • A paint brush
  • Craft wire – if you don’t have any one hand, you can use a few of the ornament wire hangers you have floating around in your Christmas decorations.
  • Wire pliers (optional)
  • Green Tissue Paper
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue (not pictured)
 Step 1: Remove the cover to your book and trace the general shape you want your pumpkin to be. You can use a template from some paperboard, or just continue to follow the shape of the front pages you’ve already cut away. If you’re concerned your line will show in your final project, simply tear that page out. You can see how I changed my mind about the shape of my pumpkin, the line that dips down deep into the binding was my first go and I didn’t want my pumpkin to dip down that much before the “stem”. I also left the bottom flat so that the pumpkin would have more real estate to sit flat on when on display.
Step 2: Using your Exacto knife, begin cutting your pumpkin shape out. Be patient, this is a process and depending on how thin your pages are some might tear. Also, this part gets messy. My big pregnant belly caught much of the scraps of paper that were flying around.
Step 3: If you are so inclined, you can now color the edges of you shape to give it more of a distinctive fall color. I chose to use a gold stamp pad to give a little bit of sparkle. You can also sponge a thin layer of craft paint onto the edges and wipe away the excess. Just let dry or you’ll have painted fingers.
Step 4: While your ink or paint are drying, you can start crafting the leaf and vine. Grab your craft wire and a strip of tissue paper for your vine. You can choose the length and shape of your vine. I chose about 6-8″ of wire. With 3 equal lengths of wire begin wrapping them around each other to give your vine some strength. If you don’t have wire pliers, don’t worry, you can TOTALLY do this with finger strength. I just like to use the tools I have to justify having bought them  🙂
While you’re at it cut yourself another length of wire for your leaf. Again this is totally up to your discretion. I think I chose about 4-5″ and shape it into a leaf shape. I also cut one of the lengths of wire a little bit longer to create the vein of the leaf.
Step 5: With your wire cut and shaped, cut out pieces of your tissue paper. The vine will require a piece of tissue paper about 2″ wide . Paint a bit of glue down the length of your tissue paper and place your wire on top.
Begin rolling your tissue paper over the wire and itself, gluing along the way as needed, and create a long skinny paper covered wire. 
Shape as desired. I wound the wire around my finer and stretched it out to create that curled vine look.
Step 6: Cut out a piece of tissue paper at least  3 times the width of your leaf and place in the middle. Slap some modpodge on there and fold your tissue paper in thirds over your shape pressing firmly around the wire frame.
Cut around your leaf shape leaving a small border of paper. Apply a small amount of glue/ModPodge around the edges of your leaf shape and fold the extra tissue over sealing with additional glue to keep the paper from unfolding.
Step 7:  With your book cut and dry and vine and leaf made, you can begin forming your book into it’s pumpkin shape. Begin by running a generous amount of hot glue along the spine of your book and gluing your stick to it with about 1″ to 1½” sticking out of the top.  Place more hot glue on the exposed portion of your stick and carefully bend the spine of your book around the stick until it forms a circle. You can also glue the outermost pages to eachvother to help create a continuous fanning of the pages. (Sorry no picture. My camera lied to me and only gave me a VERY blurry image of this that wasn’t worth sharing.)
Step 8: Glue your leaf to one edge of your shaped vine and attach to the pumpkin’s stem by either wrapping the vine around the stick and or gluing your vine to the stick. I just wrapped mine around so that I wouldn’t see any hot glue. This way I could also move it around until I found the best placement for it.
What you’re left with is a super cheap or free Fall decoration just waiting to be enjoyed. Fan your pages as desired until you get that full look. Remember old books that have been closed for a very long time or even new books that haven’t been broken in yet might resist spreading evenly, but in time it’ll succumb to your will and give you that fully look you’re going for. (This picture really doesn’t do my final product the justice it deserves. The subtle yellow-ish/orange of the pages and the slight sparkle from the gold ink on the edges of the book make this pumpkin so beautiful and it’s a crying shame my camera is too crappy for you to see it’s full potential)
I want to see your finished projects, so be sure to comment and/or link to what you’ve created.
Michelle
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