Thursday, August 6, 2009

DIY Old Book Photo Frame

Here's a unique way to display special photos. I would love to be able to say that this is a simple project, but in reality I found the concept to be a wee bit simpler than the process.

I saw this idea several years ago in a decorating magazine. As soon as I saw it, I thought, "These old book photo frames would make fabulous gifts! I'll just whip up a bunch of them for friends and family!" Please note that I had that thought before I attempted to actually make one. Now this was a few years back, so the details are a little bit hazy, but I do have a vague memory of almost setting our garage on fire with the Dremel. Almost.

If you would like to attempt one of these book frames, you'll have two main challenges to overcome:

Challenge #1: Finding an Appropriate Book to Carve Up. This is a challenge because you want to use a book that is attractive enough to display, but not one that is a priceless collector's item. I don't want to receive blog hate mail when you watch "Antiques Roadshow" and learn that the book you just diced up was worth more than your convertible. Also, if you value books and reading, as I do, you may have some qualms about chopping into a book. I was lucky to find a copy of The Prince and the Pauper that was lovely and old...but already ruined. When I found the book, many of the pages were covered in "scribble scrabble", so I felt OK about reinventing this book as a frame.

If you plan to make these as gifts, you can have fun selecting titles to match your gift recipients' hobbies, interests...and neuroses. Or you might want to match the title of the book with the theme of the photo (pair a love story with a wedding photo, for example).

Challenge #2: Completing the Rest of the Project
Make paper templates of your "mats" to trace onto the book's cover, endpages, and text pages. The endpages are the decorative papers on the inside cover of the book before the title page, and they make for a really nice "mat" if you don't goof up when you cut did a certain blogger who shall remain nameless. (Hint: The name of her blog rhymes with "The Sled Bear Frog".)

Play with the layout to make sure that you'll see words all around your photo "mat"...and not just on 3 sides. (Another error made by aforementioned unnamed blogger.)

Remember that your largest opening will be on the book cover and the openings will get smaller as they move through the book pages toward your photo.

Use a craft knife with a really, really sharp blade...and extreme caution.

Cut the cover before you cut the pages, as the latter will be more forgiving of mistakes.

When cutting book pages, don't try to cut too many at once.

You may want to save the timeworn book pages that you cut out for card making and other craft projects.

Secure your photo into the book with double sided tape. You may want to use a color copy of your photo so you don't damage the original photo with the tape.

Have fun, and don't burn down your garage!

This project has been posted with other great DIY projects at A Soft Place to Land. Since I'm hooked on this project--whether it endangers my garage or not--it has also been posted at Hooked on Houses. Finally, since I made it myself, this project has also been posted for Make Your Monday at Twice Remembered and the "I Can Make That" party at Just a Girl.