Read, Reduce, Recycle!

I’ve always been a fan of recycling, but the first time I discarded a book, my heart sunk that I had no way to re-purpose it before recycling it’s pages. I knew there must be some crafts that I could do, but I hadn’t done any before and I wasn’t sure how difficult they’d be.

I finally took the leap sometime in the spring, and the project I did was making a book clock. It was surprisingly simple, and the result was a beautiful birthday gift for my mom. Basically, to make the book clock, you have to cut a square in each page of the book using a box-cutting knife, glue the pages together, and then cut a hole in the front cover. Then all you have to do is buy a clock kit from Micheal’s, or another craft store, and put the base of the mechanism inside the hole you’ve created in the pages and the stem of the clock through the hole in the front cover. Glue the clock numbers in a circle and there you have it!



The project made me want to make lots more things with books, but I haven’t had the chance to do that until this fall, when I completed the reference weeding. With all the reference books we were going to recycle, Marjie and I decided that we could do various craft projects with them. The first craft project we found that was a really cute Thanksgiving centerpiece were paper turkeys with feathers made out of book pages! All it took was some ripped out book pages, tape, and a stapler! Taking one page at a time, I rolled it up to make a small cone, securing it with some tape. Then I stapled all the tips of the cones to a piece of card stock, so it made a fan of book pages. Then I cut out a piece of construction paper to resemble a turkey’s head and gobble, and taped that on the front of the turkey! It was a really cute addition to our other fall/Thanksgiving decorations, and it was so simple, that I ended up making one for my family’s Thanksgiving day centerpiece!


In the next few weeks, after some serious Pintrest searching, Marjie and I found someone that had made a 3-D pumpkin by cutting pages of a book and gluing the two covers together. Since we were going into December, we decided to make a 3-D snowman.

First, I found two books that were the same height, and I removed their hard covers until i just had the bound pages. Then I cut a tracer out of one page of the shape I wanted the snowman to be. The next three class periods were devoted solely to cutting, because unfortunately there is no way around the intense work of cutting each page of the two books to match the tracer. Once the books were cut, we realized we had forgotten to cut the shape for the snowman’s head!! So I had to find another book to cut the next hump for the head of the snowman. But after all the cutting was done, Marjie helped me glue the pages together in a 3-D fashion, using the super-strong, book-repairing glue that we had in the library. Since we had the extra pages for the head of the snowman, we had to cut a base out of cardboard on which to balance it,  and of course we used excessive amounts of “snow” (glitter) to hide the fact it was cardboard. Once all the pieces were glued together, we piled on more glue so that we could sprinkle fake snow and glitter over the rest of the snowman. Then I glued a red ribbon along the edge of the cardboard as a scarf, and made a 3-D top-hat out of black construction paper!

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The project took 3 weeks of class to finish- a lot more time that it took the library volunteers to make some folded snowflakes and book trees (fold most of the pages of a book to a triangle and set up in a stand). But all of the decorations bring out the winter spirit in the library, and I can’t tell you how many compliments we’ve gotten on all of them!!

A book-recycling project we might do after break is create a charging dock out of books- we’ll see how we manage that one!


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