My new little book page pumpkin.

My new little book page pumpkin.

(Warning: if you’re horrified at the idea of ripping a book to shreds in the name of a cutesy DIY project, you should maybe stop reading this book page pumpkin tutorial right about now.)

As a book lover but not a literary purist, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at some kind of book art for ages. I have my sights set on beautiful (and intimidating) Christmas creations, but somehow the stakes seem much lower for fall crafting.

Fall, as a general rule, is forgiving. And pumpkins are round-ish. And with those two encouraging thoughts, I dove in.

I started by picking up a copy of Shopaholic Ties the Knot at my library’s book sale for $0.25. My first choice—based on size, shape, and my visceral reaction to gutting a perfectly decent paperback—was a trashy romance novel. But then I realized that even if you hack a book to pieces and stretch it like a fan, you can still read the words. My little book page pumpkin could very well end up on the kitchen table if it turned out cute enough, and I didn’t want my kids reading sex scenes—even fragmented ones—over breakfast.

(I still haven’t read anything by Sophie Kinsella, but I fully intend to one of these days. Sounds like summer reading to me.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

Once I had my book in hand, I free-handed a pumpkin template, based on that little ceramic pumpkin in the picture above.

Then it was time to get started in earnest.

I splayed the book out wide, right down the middle, and traced my pumpkin template onto the book’s pages. Working 10-15 pages at a time, I used sturdy craft scissors to cut out the pumpkin shape.

(Note: remove the book’s cover first. I didn’t, because I expected the cover to give my pumpkin shape and body. It turns out that the cover just gets in the way.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

It worked just fine, but took longer than I thought it would. If you’re the planning-ahead sort, I highly recommend a little $4 X-acto knife instead of scissors.

(Related: I found you can really manhandle the book and it still won’t fall apart.)

When I was done cutting, I stood the pages on end and fanned them out to form a globed shape, then used a hot glue gun to secure. (Basically, I used the hot glue to attach page 1 to page 300.) Photo squares or glue dots would also work just fine for a book this size.

My newly-formed pumpkin looked a little lopsided at this point. I fluffed it a bit by using my fingers to spread the pages out evenly, then reinforced my work in a dozen or so places with thin lines of carefully applied hot glue.

To tint it gently orange, I gave it a quick spray with Krylon spray paint (in Bauhaus gold, because that’s what I had on hand).

After I finished with the spray paint, I grabbed a twig out of the backyard, snipped it down to size, and attached with hot glue. Then I added a bow for good measure.

This little pumpkin is now happily sitting in my entry, with a velvet pumpkin and a real one from Trader Joe’s, on a little demilune table the Nester inspired me to drag up from the basement. (I am loving her 31 days series on vignettes. This is my favorite post so far, for obvious reasons.)

How to turn a paperback novel into a book page pumpkin. This is a highly satisfying DIY: fun, fast, easy, and the results are adorable.

Now I have Christmas book crafting on the brain. Trees, angels, and ornaments here I come. Wish me luck?

Have you seen any book are projects? I’d love to hear all about them in comments.

DIY book page pumpkin

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  1. Sara K. says:

    This is cute! I have a Christmas angel made from an old hymnal. Granted the person who made it didn’t have to cut anything up, only fold some pages down, but it’s really neat to have some book art!

  2. Cute! I love how it turned out. When you do read some Sophie Kinsella, I heartily recommend I’ve Got Your Number, or Remember Me. I haven’t read the Shopaholic series yet, although a friend gave me a bunch of them.

  3. Anne says:

    I love it! I am looking forward to the next Shopaholic, I must admit. I thought they were funny. (Movie- no.) I love Nester’s series, too. She inspired me to start something on my mantle again. In fact, I stumbled upon her blog during the book page crafts. I just kept clicking and clicking. One of my other favorite book page crafts is Young House Love’s (cry) entryway art that involved blowing up a page with a large P on it. You know, those first pages of chapters that have the very first letter of the first sentence set in a larger font? Always loved that.
    (Whoops, they used a magazine. Could use a book though!)

    • Kelli says:

      They’re like having a conversation with a mishap-prone girlfriend 🙂 Her next book comes out this week and she’s giving a talk at my town library next weekend. I’m kinda excited to hear her speak…..

        • Kelli says:

          It was really fun. I went to a reception they gave for her before the public talk and she is just utterly charming. Then when she gave her talk I was laughing so hard I was crying. Totally lovely and so so funny. I absolutely love meeting the people behind the creativity (writers, musicians, actors…).

    • Anne says:

      I vaguely remember seeing that on YHL ages ago but had forgotten all about it. But since we’re making gallery plans for the new house, I’m sure glad you mentioned it again. Thank you!

  4. Faith R says:

    Okay, so I have always been strongly averse to the idea of destroying a book to make arts & crafts seeing this and thinking about how yes, the words would be there on my table as I go about my day it makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be cool to do this with a cheap mass-produced copy of an inspirational/devotional book? Maybe even a collection of Psalms (would that be totally sacreligius?) anyway, my thought is that you never know what encouragement might leap off the page at just the right moment. Like “my utmost for His highest” might be the perfect thing for this… I also have one if those cheap “daily promise” books my grandmother gave me a couple Christmases ago… Hmmm I may try this.

  5. Jeannie says:

    We used to make Christmas trees out of books. And by “used to,” I mean I did it in grade 5. I think we folded the pages (very, very patiently) rather than cutting them.

    For another take on book art, you might want to take a look at the work of Laura Hennessy (I first heard of her when she won the Visual Art prize for Ruminate Magazine a couple of years ago). It’s breathtaking!

  6. Tim says:

    Speaking of pumpkins, we did my wife’s annual pumpkin picking gathering yesterday. She organizes this for a few of her colleagues/friends, all school teachers and their families. There is a local pumpkin patch (it’s HUGE) and the owners give a price break to the group since they’re teachers. It’s fun to see the friends with the little kids as well as the older ones who come along, all of us pulling these carts behind us as we pile them high with pumpkins.

    Our haul was 2 really large, 8 medium and three really small pumpkins, all of various colors and shapes. Now they’re at the front door to great visitors, and after Thanksgiving we’ll paint them to look like Christmas ornaments.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I wrapped book pages all around cheap round plastic ornaments and modge podged them. Then I used twine to string them to my tree. Now I have beautiful literary looking ornaments

  8. Anne! I’m kind of horrified that you cut up a Sophie Kinsella 🙂

    I love the Shopaholic series – I read them all one month (October 2011) while recovering from surgery and they cheered me up so much.

    Your pumpkin is very, very cute!

  9. That pumpkin is adorable! I just might have to give this one a try!

    Regarding Sophie Kinsella; definitely summer reading, and I would recommend Can You Keep a Secret and I’ve Got Your Number.

  10. Virginia says:

    I didn’t realize the pumpkin would be so easy! Ok, I’m totally doing it this afternoon. I have a Matilda by Roald Dahl that needs either to be crafted or recycled. Hooray!

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  12. Lorraine says:

    I love this. Your directions are very clear.
    Congratulations…I’ll be sure to check out how to do a Christmas Tree 🎄

  13. Leigh says:

    Sophie Kinsella – Can You Keep a Secret? is the best. Shopaholic series – yuck. I thought the first one was funny back in my early 20s. I tried one and she just seemed so immature and vapid it was really hard to believe her as someone’s wife and mother.

  14. Joy Shelden says:

    If you don’t like the idea of destroying a book, why not try using an old phone book, or newspaper ads? You can stiffen up the paper with Mod-Podge or paint.

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