I was brought up to treat books with something bordering on reverence so, although I admire the many book-based art and craft works I see on line, I hesitate to attempt them myself. There are some books, though, that have been so "well loved" by the time I get them that even I can overcome my qualms at pulling them apart.
This is particularly true of thrift store children's books. By the time they make it to the store shelves, they've often been handled so many times that they are near to falling apart without any help at all from me. Their pages are tattered and worn and decorated with crayon drawings.
I like them a lot. They have colourful illustrations that are useful for projects and a ton of personality too, simply because they are so very tattered.
They're inexpensive too!
I bought a stack of Little Golden Books at a "dollar-a-bag" sale at one of our local thrift shops last fall, and have been using them to make cards ever since.
So far, my $1.00 investment has yielded me illustrations for more than 30 cards, and I still have some pages to use up.
Since Father's Day is coming up soon, I thought I'd show you the card I made my step-dad, using a page from an old Family Circus book.
I began by removing the covers. To do that I pulled off the book's spine. There are some fairly sharp staples in there so be careful.
Once the spine and its staples were removed, the book came apart easily.
I chose this page for my Father's Day card.
I measured the illustration. If I used it as it was, I'd have to pay extra postage for oversized mail. One of our local stationary stores had a special on colour photocopying, so I spent $0.39 + $0.02 tax to have a copy made at 80% of the image's original size.
Consider carefully before choosing to have a photocopy made.* At sale price, my photocopy cost $0.41. It would have cost me $0.85 in extra postage to mail an oversize envelope. The regular price for colour copies in our area is $1.00 page. Had the copies not been on sale, I would have chosen to pay the postage.
I cut around the image, removing all the background colour and print from the page.
Once I had trimmed the picture, I dug through my scrap box to find a piece of paper suitable for use as a background.
I printed my caption onto the background paper (I used my computer printer but you could certainly do this by hand, too),
then glued the image onto the background paper below the caption.
I used a glue stick to affix the image to the background. I like glue sticks. They're inexpensive, readily available, and they don't dry immediately. If I need to re-position an item I've glued, I'm able to peel it off the background and then put it back where I want it to be.
I trimmed around the image and background to get the card size I wanted. It measured 6 inches wide by 4.75 inches tall.
Next, I printed the inside caption (Have a relaxing Father's Day) on a blank piece of card stock.
Here's how I calculated where to position the caption:
Once the caption was printed, I measured 4.75 inches up from the bottom edge of the card (as shown in my diagram), scored my fold line, and folded the card across.
Card making magazines and scrap booking instructions will tell you to use a bone folder to score fold lines but, really, any hard, thin edge will do. I use the tip of a knitting needle to score my lines. It works just fine
Using the bottom of the folded card as a guide, I used a ruler and an X-acto knife to trim away the excess paper.
I glued my assembled image onto the front of the card, using the bottom and left edges as a guideline. The image wasn't a perfect fit, but close enough.
Again, I used a ruler and X-acto knife to trim the card down to its finished size. I also trimmed away the little un-matching bits from the bottom and left edges.
And that was it: the card was finished. All that remained was to write a personal message inside it and mail it.
Cute, isn't it? I was pleased with how it turned out. :)
*Usually if the card or image is a gift or for personal use rather than for profit, it is permissable to use an image from a book. If you are making cards or other artwork for sale and plan to incorporate either a page culled from a book or a photocopy of an image used in a book, it is always good practice to contact the publisher and request permission to use the image. Failure to do so may be construed as a violation of copyright law.
Give credit where credit is due: Whether you are using an image from a book for personal use, for a gift, or with publisher's permission for sale, you should always make a note on your finished work correctly attributing the source of the illustration, its original publishing date, the publisher, and the name of the illustrator.
The illustration I used to make my step-dad's card was made by Bill Keane and comes from the book "The Family Circus:Daddy's Surprise Day." It was published in 1980 by The Western Publishing Company, Inc., and copyrighted by The Register & Tribune Syndicate, Inc.