Archive for May, 2013

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make a Book Cover Wallet

Hello everyone! Today’s craft tutorial is going to teach how to make a wallet out of a children’s book cover. We got a donation the other day of children’s book covers, and the woman who donated it challenged us to come up with a good way to use them in a craft project.

In making this wallet, we took our inspiration from the construction of duct tape wallets at the Wikihow website here:


Book cover



Hot glue

Step 1:

Take your book cover and flatten out the spine. Measure out and cut the book cover to 8”x 6” cutting both the front and back of the book cover. Glue the front and the back together to make it more stable.


Step 2:

Now to make a border for the wallet. Cut two 8” x ½” strips and hot glue to the top and bottom of the wallet, making sure there is a ¼” border on each side of the wallet. This photo shows the back side of the wallet, with the borders attached.


Step 3:

Fold the wallet in half, creating the pocket to hold bills. Cut two more strips of paper, 3” x 1” and use them to seal the sides shut.


Step 4:

Fold the wallet in half again. This is a basic billfold with no inner pockets, but next week we will be continuing the tutorial to show how to add pockets. Come back!



May 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make a Paper Kiwi

Happy Friday!

Today’s upcycled craft is along the same theme as last week’s paper apple, only it’s a half of a kiwi. We wanted to post another fruit related craft just to help jumpstart your creativity when it comes to crafting. The possibilities are endless!

kiwi 2


Damaged hardcover book

Scissors, boxcutter, or Xacto knife


Hot glue

Step 1:


Begin bycutting the shape of half of the kiwi half. Continue to cut each page in this shape.

kiwi 4

Step 2:

After you have cut each page, you can fill in the top edge with a green marker. Before coloring in the bottom edge, fuzz up the pages on this edge to make it look more like a kiwi’s skin. Next, you can color it with a brown marker.

kiwi 3

Step 3:

Take the first and the last page and hot glue them together. Then, take a black marker and draw some seeds on the green edges. That’s all there is to it!

kiwi 1

May 24, 2013 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make a 3D Apple out of a Book

Happy Friday all!  If you follow our craft blog on a regular basis, you’ll note the title has changed this week from Recycled Crafts to Upcycled Crafts. This is partly because we feel that our crafts go beyond recycling an item, which is taking one object and making it into another. Instead, we feel upcycling is a better term because for our crafts, we use only books that are damaged and would end up in the landfill if we didn’t use them for crafts. So if you do cringe at our book art, just think about it this way: We give damaged books a higher purpose.

Another reason that we changed the title to this series is to reflect the name of our monthly craft night, called Upcycle This. It’s the first Thursday of every month at 6pm. It’s free and we have all the supplies here!

And now for the 3D Apple.


Damaged book



Colored marker

Step 1:

Begin by taking the damaged book’s cover off. Don’t take the glue off of the spine, because that’s what holds the apple together.

Step 2:

Next, trace half of an apple on the first page and use the scissors to cut it out. continue tracing from that first page onto subsequent pages. We recommend only cutting a few pages at a time.

3D Apple 1

Step 3:

After you’re done cutting, take the red marker and color the edges of the pages. Then, glue the first page and the last page together and arrange the pages to where they’re fleshed out. If you want, you can add a twig and a leaf like Ruth did.

3Dbook apple

May 17, 2013 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

The Enduring Meaning of Family Traditions


Today is Mother’s Day; a day filled with brunches, flowers and phone calls..and most importantly family traditions. The family Bible has long been a tradition in American culture. Records of birth, weddings, funerals and heartfelt events, it is an heirloom passed down from generation to generation. This week we received such an heirloom…an 1892 Pronouncing Parallel Holy Bible, which includes the Old Testament, New Testamen, full color plates. It is much more than just a Bible this book contains “authorized and revised versions of the Old and New Testaments, arranged in parallel columns, giving the correct pronunciation of every scripture proper name contained in the Bible, by Prof. S. F. Williams, Complete Concordance: Marginal references, chronological tables, A history of ancient Biblical manuscripts, with facsimiles of the same, The earliest printed editions of the Bible, A history of the revision of the Bible, etc.” Marked “John Gately & Co., 171 Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois”. What makes this a potential treasure is that the personal pages have not been written on!  A few of the first pages are loose from the binding.  You can expect some minor tears and darkening of the pages.

Leather imbossed cover

Leather imbossed cover

Unmaraked family page

Unmaraked family page

Full Color Plage

Full Color Plage

May 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm Leave a comment

Recycled Crafts: Pipe Cleaner Bees

Hello everyone! Ever wanted to make your own bee from pipe cleaners but just didn’t know how? We’ve got you covered with today’s tutorial. As with the past couple of week’s blog posts, these bees were also featured at Maker Faire this past Sunday. We had a great time, got to meet so many great people, and can’t wait to do it again next year!

On to the bees…


Yellow pipe cleaner


Hot glue


Transparency paper

Step 1:

Take the yellow pipe cleaner and twist it into a hook shape. This will be the bee’s body.


Step 2:

Now make a smaller loop for the bee’s head, creating a figure eight. Be sure to wrap the end of the pipe cleaner around the middle of the figure eight to keep it from coming apart.


Step 3:

Take the Sharpie and carefully draw little lines across the bee’s body and one line on the top of his nose.

Step 4:

Take the transparency paper and cut out wing shapes, then hot glue them to the back of the bee. All done!


May 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm 2 comments

May The Fourth Be With You


Get it?! We hope you do. Today is Star Wars Day and we are celebrating by finally posting about a book we received by donation awhile back. This book is not just any book, and whether or not you are a fan of Star Wars, you will appreciate just how cool it is that someone donated it so that one day its sale could support the Austin Public Library.

If you’ve never heard of Star Wars Day, check out the official website which includes coverage of Star Wars Day celebrations worldwide.

The book in question is The Art of Ralph McQuarrie, published in 2007 by dreams & visions press. Only 2000 copies were printed, and this special slipcased edition was limited to 250 individually signed and numbered copies. This copy is 151. (Further, it includes a special bookplate to 600 copies signed by the authors with appreciation for customers who pre-ordered the book.)

Because McQuarrie played such a vital role in making the Star Wars story into a reality, the book is considered a collectible for any major Star Wars Fan. But it also includes much more of McQuarrie’s work which has, in the words of George Lucas upon McQuarrie’s passing in March of last year, “inspired at least two generations of younger artists.”

Coincidentally, last month, the Austin Public Library announced the library’s 2013 READ poster featuring Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in Star Wars! Stop by the store to see our display through the weekend, and May the Fourth Be With You!

Follow the jump to see more pictures.

(As with any books you find on our blog, contact us during business hours (512-323-5123) or stop in the store to find out more!)


May 4, 2013 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Recycled Crafts: Making Jewelry Out of Aluminum Cans

Happy Friday everyone! Maker Faire is almost here, it will be this Sunday May 5 at Palmer Event Center from 10am to 6pm. We are excited to be a part of it, and so we’re giving you another sneak peek at what we’ll have on display there! Today’s post highlights our latest efforts in making jewelry out of aluminum cans.

Here’s an example of two barettes that we made using scrapbook punches and hot glue.

Aluminum Can Jewelry 2

These are bracelets using the same scrapbook punches. To connect the flowers together, we nailed holes in them and put in jump rings between each flower.

Aluminum Can Jewelry 1Aluminum Can Jewelry 3

It’s fun to hunt for brightly colored soda cans to use, but be sure not to overindulge on sugary drinks in your creative efforts! We mostly used sparkling water and juice cans.

Hope to see you this Sunday at Maker Faire!

May 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

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