Saturday, October 24, 2015

Literary Fall Decor: Recycled Book Pumpkins

I love books and I love pumpkins. Combine the two and you've got some really awesome literary fall decor! The second I stumbled upon a tutorial for crafting pumpkins from recycled books, I knew it would be my weekend project. (Here's the tutorial I used.)

The library where I work has a book sale cart, and I selected three sad, lonely, dirty, worn paperbacks to get new life as Halloween decorations. Yes, of course I felt a little guilty about destroying books, but I'm 99% sure they would never have been purchased -- and even as I felt bad, I was happy to be recycling something that may very well have ended up in the trash. And now they're serving as fun fall decorations at the library, so their lives as books have come full circle.

The stems are sticks from my backyard, the curly-cue vines are floral wire from Michaels, and  I colored the pumpkins orange by diluting paint with water and dipping the edges in, as suggested in the tutorial. I tried the ink pad method for my first pumpkin (the bigger one in the above photo) but I achieved much better color with the paint. And I used up my whole orange ink pad rubbing the pages, which was a bit of a bummer.

Some tips if you decide to make your own bookish fall decor:
*Choose older books whose spines are already worn and broken-in. This will make it easier to bend the book into a circle shape.
*Use a really sharp (or brand new) Xacto knife blade.
*It took a while, but eventually I found a good method for cutting the pages. Cut about 15 pages at a time with a cutting mat separating those pages from the rest of the book (This prevents cutting pages partway and having to trim them up with the Xacto knife. And if you're only trimming one or two pages at a time, it's much easier to tear the paper, which is no fun!)
*It's ok if your cut edges aren't perfect -- you can even them up with scissors.
*The two smaller pumpkins were from the same book. I cut out a pumpkin from the bottom half of the book, making sure to keep the spine on the upper half in tact, then just tore it in half after I'd Xacto-ed my pumpkin from the bottom.
*It's ok to really bend and smoosh the book to force it into a pumpkin shape. It's not going to go willingly and you'll have to manhandle it a bit!
*After I dipped my pumpkins in paint, I used a paper clip to hold the two ends together. This helps keep the wet pages from sticking together and helps end the spine into a circular shape.


  1. Oh I love these so much!!! I am the opposite of crafty though so not sure I could do it but they turned out wonderfully!

  2. Great way to use an older book, and perfect fall decorations for the library.


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