Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Create unique decor...lovely, easy and pretty much free!

In Madrid, there's a whole street of open-air booksellers' kiosks. As I wandered down the line, I came across these:

And these:

Beautiful! They really got me thinking about the ends of books. (The butler did it! No, not the endings of...oh, stop it, Michelle.)

I had two thoughts. A gift idea and a home decor technique. First up, decor.

I don't know about you, but I don't have room for all my books. Overcrowded shelves full, packed cupboards full. I try to relieve the pressure by placing stacks around the house. My husband's set of Horatio Hornblower novels sits piled up on the TV cabinet, here they are:

I wouldn't do this craft with any truly old or valuable books. But here's how I added a cool factor to this stack of boring trade paperbacks. Step one: bundle them tight with rubber bands (or you could tie them with twine).
Step two: tape on a stencil. I used painter's tape so it would peel off easily.

Dab some paint, using the stencil technique of very little color on a dry brush or sponge.
See? You are beginning to work some stencil magic!

I added a second color, and some additional sections of stencil to fill the space a little more. Peel away the stencil, and check out your creation!
I kinda love how this came out! I was going for an old world, masculine feel (they are very macho tales). Behold, my new decor:
The other thing I especially love about this project: I stacked the books in order of volumes in the series, numbers one thru eleven - so as long as you have your pattern showing, they will always be stacked in the correct order for re-reading.

Now, I titled this post 'pretty much free.' If you don't have a stencil on hand, there are lots you can print free from the web, and cut out yourself. But if you'd rather not be snipping out little stencil bits, here's another, quickfire technique...

I took my raggedy, beloved Tolkien paperbacks (bought when I was a kid, and read dozens of times since), and bundled them up as before.

Taped on a paper doily...

Dabbed blues, greens and purples...

...and here's how they turned out.

Just how I wanted them to feel. Comfortably shabby-chic. They will now live on a table in the living room, instead of squished into a packed bookcase. I think they will be much happier there.

My next post will be 'book end project' number two: a gift idea.


  1. Michelle... this is cool! Love that you took this idea and came up with a way to create this! I have been thinking about doing something creative with books... but haven't figured it out just yet. You should link this up to some parties!

    Kendra @ Creative Ambitions

  2. So clever! We have a similar situation with the Sharpe's novels by Cornwell, the stenciled design would make them look good and keep them in order! And the Tolkien books look great, gently loved and a bit shabby chic.

  3. Cute and creative! Thanks for linking up @PonyTails&FishScales!

  4. Wow, this is innovative and I like the way you are making the most here. I love my books too.....hmmmmmm You got me thinking.....

  5. What a great idea!! Now maybe I can pull out some of my stacks of books from all the hiding places! Thanks for the idea!

  6. So cool! I love it!

  7. Oh my word! What a great idea! Love it.

  8. Great idea!

    I came here via Funky Junk. Hope you can visit me sometimes over at Pittypat Paperie.

  9. I absolutely love this idea! And it is one I haven't seen before - truely unique! I hope you don't mind, I would like to link it to my facebook page. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  10. Who would've imagined!! How great..