Monday, 10 March 2014

Upcycled old book crafts

I've always liked crafts which make use of something old and unloved, and turn it into something beautiful, meaningful and useful. Today's upcycling craft project involved giving this old book a new lease of life... 

This copy of Louisa May Alcott's 
Little Women had certainly seen better days, so I rescued it from a nearby charity shop for next to nothing. As you can see, even before today I have used its pages to make gift tags, pictures as presents and even as part of the presentation for my Pink Robot "woodland" range of brooches.

I have one of these gorgeous heart pictures displayed in my own house- I used a heart-shaped hole punch to capture meaningful words which applied to myself, my husband and our lifestyle- for example, our picture refers to "tea", "Scrabble", "sewing" and "guitar". I have given these as wedding gifts (especially to far-away couples, or as a token gift when we can't attend a wedding), house-warming gifts, and gifted them to show family and friends what they mean to me. 

New baby/ baby shower picture: This one is a perfect gift for someone who has had a new baby, or to give at a baby shower. It's really bright yellow (the camera hasn't quite picked up how vibrant this yellow is) so is perfect to celebrate a baby boy or girl. The white frame makes the cheerful background stand out. I chose a beautiful golden heart in the corner, to finish this piece.

New baby/ baby shower gift
Close-up shows a golden heart in the corner
Wedding pictures: These ones contain words which capture the excitement of a wedding. Something like this would be a beautiful gift for a bridesmaid to give a bride. The golden, embossed background combined with the white frame really says "bridal" to me, and the purple heart in the corner adds a feeling of "royalty". The close-up picture gives a better idea of the flock-style pattern. The other design gives a simpler feel, using only 10 hearts. 
Golden embossed wedding hearts
Golden embossed wedding hearts close-up
Wedding picture using 10 hearts
New home pictures: These pictures make a really different and personal gift when visiting someone's new home for the first time. I tried out two different designs here- a simple one using a floral background and nine hearts, and the purple one using 40 hearts. The purple one is actually one I gave to a friend a while back (I couldn't capture the green colour in the one I made today on camera.) I think both are beautiful and unusual. 
Floral new home picture

"New home" with 40 hearts
The best thing about these is that you can make them really personal. For example, if you know the recipient well, you can seek out words that mean something to you... an "in-joke", their hobbies, whatever makes them unique. Below is a picture using words to describe a friendship. These are time consuming to make, but they are one of my favourite crafts. 

"Friendship"- show a friend what they mean to you!

Please follow Make Thrift Love Life on Bloglovin'


  1. I love this idea! Although I'm not sure I could bring myself to cut up an old book! A friend of mine had paper roses made out of blue paper with the words of her favourite books printed on for her wedding bouquet - I'm sure she'd love something like this.

  2. Your friend's bouquet sounds lovely! I must say, I am the biggest bookworm around and also blanched at the thought of cutting up an old book. However, I do make a point of only using otherwise unsalvageable, ripped or damaged books, destined for the bin. I see it as giving the book a new lease of life, instead of getting thrown away.

  3. Cute idea!! What a meaningful gift. Thanks so much for stopping by House in the Heights, I'm excited to follow along with your blog!

  4. How fun: hearts!!! How come I didn't think of that!!!
    “hugs” Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique
    Happy Spring!!

  5. Thank you for your comments! Glad you liked the post x

  6. Hi Gayle,

    These are beautiful! (Can't tell you how many times I read Little Women as a girl). You have given me some great inspiration for future gifts!
    I'm looking forward to following you on Bloglovin'.


  7. Thanks Val, you're right- it does mean a lot more when the book has personal significance.

    Thanks for the follow, looking forward to keeping up to date with your blog too.

    Gayle x

  8. Such a cool way to use old books. We crafters can really save books from piling in the land-fills. You can also find many amazing projects regarding upcycling old books in this Book of Books as well It shares many interesting projects. Altered Upcycling also has an awesome website and lots of free ebook offers if you sign up.