Crafting: Book Vases

Do you fancy yourself a Bibliophile? Or maybe you just love the look, feel and smell of old books. Either way, this one’s for you! Today I’ll show you how to make a ‘vase’ out of a hardcover book. It’s the perfect piece to decorate your favorite reading nook or a book shelf and is easy to make requiring just a few tools and no special skills.

What you’ll need:

Hardcover book
Cardboard
Pencil
Craft knife (or a scroll or band saw)

The book I used I found at a thrift store for $1.00. I especially loved the green coloring on the top edge. If you feel bad destroying good books, look for ones with missing or torn pages.
Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the book and draw your vase shape. I’ve created a JPG of the shape I drew and you can download it here. It can be sized up or down to fit the height of your book. If you draw your own, keep in mind it will be twice as wide when it’s finished, so you’ll want to make the shape much thinner than you would think for it to look proportional when cut.

Cut your template shape out of the cardboard and place it onto the first page of the book, snug against the binding. You can trace it with a pencil if you’d like to have a guidline if your template moves, but it’s easiest to cut along the template. I taped mine in place at the top and bottom to hold it secure.
With a sharp knife, cut along the template, gradually slicing through all pages of the book.
Alternatively, if you have a scroll saw or band saw, you can do it in a fraction of the time! Just trace your template and go. (I recommend removing the cover before cutting the pages with a saw.) I cut half of my vase by hand and finished with a band saw, to try both techniques.

When cutting by hand, I found it easiest to move the template further into the book as I continued cutting, every 1/4″ of pages or so.
Once complete, cut off the covers, leaving the spine binding in tact. Open the book and fold it backward, gluing together the first and last pages with craft glue or a glue gun. Hold for a few seconds until secure.
I used a thin pencil top and bottom to keep the shape of the center hole while gluing.

Spread out the pages and you’re done! Since you do end up with a small opening along the spine, you can use this as a ‘vase’ for a silk flower stem or some dried pieces like I show in my opening photo. You can also create a small cluster in different sizes and shapes for a unique arrangement.
The possibilities for this project are only limited by your imagination so get creative and have fun — happy crafting!
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16 thoughts on “Crafting: Book Vases

  1. terri.falvey says:

    hello, i'm trying to make some of these and i'm wondering if you have a good trick for getting the pages to spread out well? i'm struggling to get them even around the back where the 2 ends meet…

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  2. lillyella says:

    hey terri!
    you'll find that every book will spread a little differently depending on its binding, age and wear – you may just need to kind of break the pages apart about every 1/8 to 1/4 or so, running your fingers between along the spine. A little manual fidgeting should eventually help even it out! You can also glue more pages together evenly throughout, maybe every 1/4 of the way around.
    I hope that helps!
    nicole

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  3. Anonymous says:

    What size book do you recommend for this project? I just tried it tonight and although the book was about 250 pages, it wasn't nearly enough to go all around, barely even half-way around. I don't know if the pages were too thin or the book wasn't thick enough..

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