Monday, September 27, 2010

How To: Using Old Book Pages As Drawer Liners

I fell in love with old book leaves (as wallpaper) at Notes From A Cottage Industry. Then they appeared on furniture a la Miss Mustard Seed. I was itching to give this look a try; fortuitously a neglected sewing cabinet and a sheaf of vintage hymnals came my way. The yellowed music would disguise the ugly drawer bottoms quickly and easily. I know it's not exactly brain surgery--but as I finished up the little cabinet I noticed that each drawer looked just a little better than the previous one I lined. Trial and error is a pretty good teacher, but I thought I'd write a little tutorial to save you some of the "error".

You'll need a blank canvas.
And some old books: dictionaries, music books, textbooks, whatever.
** No books were harmed in the making of this tutorial. I couldn't bring myself to tear pages from a good book--you can see mine are beyond redemption.

I chose a variety of tones--from pale ivory pages to peanut brittle-color paper (and oh, was it ever brittle!).

Of course you'll need some glue (Modge Podge is great, so is plain old white glue, and then there's that old standby, liquid starch). Start by papering the corners first.

I overlaid the corners with the leaves, then I scored the paper with a straight pin and peeled off the extra.
Work from the outside edges inwards.
I precut this piece for the front edge.
Hmmm, now that you mention it that does look like a silhouette of Nevada!

Here it is in place.
I had so many choices I was able to pick and choose my favorite pieces.
This corner has a song that reminds me of my Aunt Bonnie as well as a Keats poem (I just loved the movie Bright Star and have been a Keats fan ever since). I've also used some seasonal or romantic song titles.

The very last pieces should be whole pages. Um, whole page fail here. Oh, how I wish I could go back and make sure the entire page of A Song of Autumn was front and center!
Like I said, it's trial and error and sometimes taking a photo really shows what can be improved.

I still have the inside lid to foofify--I'm looking for a sewing-related page to feature there.
Then I'll slap a coat or two of water-based polycrylic over the music so it'll wear well.

Sometime soon I'll have a before-and-after on this sewing cabinet. It was pathetically ugly, grimy and unloved to start with.  Meanwhile, I'm mulling over the pros and cons of hitting the edges with the sander and shabbying it up--what do you think?


  1. I just love it when someone pops in and leaves a comment on my blog, so I had to check yours out. I'm glad I did. I'll be checking in everyday now to see what you are doing next. I enjoy getting ideas from others. I've coppied so many of them.

  2. This is really a wonderful idea. I have an old wooden box with ugly insides and I may use a variation of this using old seed packets. I would definitely shabby up the edges.

  3. I just love this idea! A memory inside a drawer too.I would go shabby too.

  4. What a cool idea....hmmm....already thinking of what I have that I can apply this treatment to. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. Wow! Amazing! I would never think to do that and it is such the greatest idea. Really, you need your own HGTV show. :)