BOOK it!

Amrita Prasad
Sunday, 7 January 2018

If you don’t know what to do with old books, get creative and add them as decor pieces in your house

Books are a man’s best friend — whether you read them to gain knowledge and perspectives, or to deck up your house when they are old. When we say deck up the house, stacking them up on bookshelves or displaying them in your study is not all. Books, when old, especially the hardcover ones, can be upcycled to create craft and items that can be used to add beauty to your homes. With Kindles and ebooks capturing the markets, the pile of old books in our houses is lying unused. While you can always donate them to others or pass them on to your siblings, kids and friends, there’s still a copious number at home. Hence, to declutter your homes and infuse a new life into these books, turn a little creative.

“Don’t let them gather dust. Upcycling books will not only give you some amazing new items, but it is also a great way to follow the ‘go green’ mantra. From a small hanging shelf to boxes, headboards, lamps, planters, book marks, clocks, vases and so on, you can turn your old book with hard cover and a few with paperback into anything you imagine,” says Reena Sengupta, a paper artist from Delhi, who also makes clutches, bags and other utility items.

Your book may get outdated, but that doesn’t mean it can’t tell you the time. If you have a hardcover book, you can turn it into a clock that is eco-friendly and cheap. Sengupta advises, “Buy a clock movement or you can utilise it from an old clock, knife, glue, a pair of scissors, and a clock battery. Begin by making the book hollow for the clock movement to fit in and then punch a hole in the cover. Start assembling the clock pieces and then add the battery and your clock is ready. You can place it on your table or on the headboard. It looks antique and attractive. You can choose a bright cover if you like.”

While pot planters are common, having book planters in your house will add a lot of quirk to your décor. If you love both books and greens, making a book planter will be a delight for you. “It is quite easy and workable. Take a book that you no longer require, and cut a rectangle out of the book and using tapes, seal the bottom and the surrounding depth within the book. Then fill soil and plant your favourite indoor plant. However, I recommend using succulents as they do not require much moisture,” says Sailesh Shinde, a city-based artist.

While you need light to read a book, ever thought you can light up your room with a lamp made from a discarded book? Using simple items like a hardcover book, plywood, electrical material, and some paint, you can illuminate any part of your house. Although the process may be a little time consuming, the end product is marvellous. Says Shinde, “Cut the pages from the book and create a frame from the plywood. If you want, you can colour the frame using acrylic paints. Now, with help from someone who is good at electrical work, get the wiring done and fix a bulb in it. You can create different designs and place multiple lamps in your house.”

If you love reading before going to sleep, then the idea of making a headboard using old books will definitely excite you. All you need to do is stack them up! Sengupta says that having headboards with books is an amazing way to make your bedroom look quaint. “Place a good-sized piece of wood behind or above your bed and arrange books on them. Use different sizes, colours and thickness to create a quirky effect,” says she.

Books and flowers seem too romantic. How about getting them together? “Simple! Stack two-three books together and attach them using cellotape so that they stay together, make a cut in between to get a hollow space. Place some flowers in the cavity and you are ready to deck up your tables,” suggests Shinde. You can also get a little more creative and go for advanced designs by cutting pages and making a vase.

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