Monday, August 8, 2011

Salvaging Antique Books for Decor

So if you are anything like me you like decorating with old book.  Leather bound are the best.  But when you find them they are not always in usable condition.  I recently had the good luck to find and purchase a box full of old leather bound books.  About a third of them were usable.

 Which means that two thirds of them were in the condition you see on the left.  This book is just one example of the condition of the remainder of the lot.  So, I gathered my 'faux book repair' stuff and set to work.  Please note that if you have a valuable book, this is not the method to use.  This method makes books solid enough to use in decor and is probably all kinds of archival nighmarish, so keep that in mind before you start.

Above right you see that I use color copied marbleized end papers to cover the fact that I used clear packaging tape to put the book back together. (the original end paper I used for the copies is in the foreground)  I also use Tacky Glue where needed, these along with the spray glue used to apply the faux marbleized paper, are, I am sure, full of nasty acids that will further destroy these books over time.  Since these books are foreign language and old texts, they really have no actual value, other than their 'pretty repaired faces' .... so ....

After taping the cover back on, spray glue applying and trimming the new end papers, and sometimes using  tacky clue to glue on the spine, if needed, I fill the crack (visible above left) with a tiny bead of tacky glue.  Then using the bands that come on asparagus and broccoli, I band the books to let the glue dry.
The bands are great because they cause curved pressure on the spine, which is just what you need, and help to have the spine and front or back boards make contact with the thin bead of glue you filled the crack with helping it to form a bond.

In this picture you see a book with its original end papers in tack, on top of a book with my faux end papers.
Saving these books is great, they look super in stacks, or with statuary on them.  They help you add layered height to your displays.  And they add age and implied education to the scene.

If, however, your books are beyond help, this is what my friend Marci does with the salvageable papers.  Paper a screen or a wall.  Use them to decoupage the inside of an old trunk or suitcase.

A love of books and a desire to be surrounded by them is so comfortable.  You may find other ways to add charm to your antique decor as well. At any rate, have fun saving old books from a fate worse than decorating.

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