Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY YA: Book Safes

What's a bibliophile to do when there are books that won't be read anymore?  Turn them into art!
And give Batman a new place to hide.
We took old books that were never going to be read again and turned them into book safes.  (What's a book safe?  It's a book that looks normal on the outside but is hollow on the inside, so you can hide your treasures in it.)

Here's what you need to make your own:
*  An old book, preferably one that isn't worth anything
*  A box cutter or Exact-O knife
*  A ruler or other straight edge (we used large craft sticks)
*  Glue (we used tacky glue, but other kinds should work as well)
*  Water (to mix with the glue)
* A small cup (to mix the glue and water in)
* A paintbrush, preferably one that you can throw away after
* A piece of scrap paper big enough to cover a whole book page

Step One:
Choose your book.  Open it up by a chapter or two, so if someone opens the cover, it just looks like a normal book.  Mix the glue with just a little bit of water until it's the consistency of paint.  Holding the book open, paint the outside edges of the book with the glue. 

Opening the book up by a chapter or so gives the hiding place some cover, if someone opens the cover.
Step Two:
Put your piece of scrap paper into the book on top of the glued pages, and close the book.  This is to keep the pages you glued from sticking to the pages before that point, so it won't all stick together and glue the whole book closed.  Put your book under a few heavy books (we used dictionaries) and leave it to dry completely, if possible.  (When we did this craft at the library, we didn't have time to let the glue dry completely, so we gave it about 20 minutes.)

Step Three:
Once your book is dry (or you're tired of waiting), open the book and carefully remove the scrap paper.  Using your straight edge, draw a box around the part of the book that you want to hollow out, making sure it isn't too close to the edges, since you want a nice, strong box. 
I traced around the words, since that seemed like a good size.
Step Four:
Being very careful, use your box cutter to cut down the lines you've drawn, making sure not to cut toward yourself.  I found it useful to cut perpendicular to myself, turning the book and repeating as necessary until the hollow space is as deep as you want it.  This can take a while, since you're only cutting through a few pages at a time.  Have patience! If you're getting frustrated,
it may be time to take a break and come back to it later.

Sometimes it's helpful to cut diagonally to lift the pages out.
Step Five:
Once the hole is as deep as you'd like it to be, take your watery glue again and paint the insides of the cut edges of the book.  This is the time to repaint the outer edges of your book, if it came loose at all while you were working on the inside.

Step Six: 
Dry completely, and enjoy!

It doesn't look like much? Good! It's not supposed to!
A Few Notes:
* Corners are tricky.  I found it helpful to start in the corner and cut toward the middle, then start at the opposite corner and cut toward the middle.  It's very hard to end a cut at the corner.
* If your pages have fuzzy edges, you can shave them down with the edge of the box cutter.
* Remember, you can always take a break and come back later.  This one takes some time.

Stay tuned for some of our upcoming DIY YA projects, including Galaxy shirts, Doctor Who crafts, and delicious flavored lip balm!

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