DIY: Vintage Electronics Organizer

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I found something super cool on my wanderings through the internet, and I end up (as I have noticed I often do) browsing through Design Sponge‘s DIY section. I came across something super special and awesome, but be forewarned, this is probably something that will take a little bit of time to put together, not to mention patience, but the end result is super impressive. Check out the full tutorial here.

You will need to do some shopping for materials:

  • vintage cloth-bound hardcover book with dimensions close to 6.5″ x 10.5″ x 1.75″ thick
  • black rubberized fabric like a non-slip black drawer liner material from the hardware store, but a thin neoprene foam will work, as well, You can also probably use vinyl from a fabric store.
  • 9 yards black elastic ribbon, 0.5″ thick
  • sewing machine, pins, needle and black thread
  • illustration board or thin mat board (same dimension as your book)
  • Elmer’s Glue and fabric glue
  • ruler, box cutter and cutting mat
  • black photo tape (available at art stores)

Your first step is to use your box cutter and (carefully, so as not to remove phalanges), to remove the pages from the book, keeping the covers and the spine in tact. Lay your book, face down, on top of your black fabric and trace the dimensions, and use your box cutter and a ruler to cut a rectangle 1/8″ smaller on all sides than the traced dimensions.

Next, take your elastic and cut it into both short strips (the width of your book cover) and long strips (the height of the cover), and cut enough of them to fill the book cover when laid side to side. If your strips don’t match up exactly, opt for one less and space them out slightly. Starting in the upper left corner of the black cut fabric, pin your long strips in a row and sew them down along the edge. Don’t secure the bottom yet, and don’t forget to remove the pins.

This is when you can add the short strips, and do the same thing along the long edge that you did with the long elastic strips.  you can sew this edge before arranging them if you would like.  This is the point where you will need to create a weave, and pin all the other edges of the elastic in place before sewing them. You will basically need to alternate laying the short elastic over or under the longer strands to create a basket like pattern. Take a look…

You do not want a symmetrical weave, as the more space you leave, the bigger the accessory that you can store. Keeping places where you leave 2 or 3 elastics exposed is a good thing.You can choose how big or small you want your spaces to be, and you may want to keep some accessories handy so you can test it out.

When all the short strips are pinned in place, and you’re happy with how it looks, sew around all of the other unsewn edges to secure them in place and trim any excess from around the edges.


Cut your illustration/mat board to the inner dimension of the front book cover. Use your sewing machine or an awl to poke holes around all four edges of the board. You can hand crank the sewing machine, which allows you to space the holes out a bit more.

Use a needle and thread to sew the board to the backside of the black fabric – behind the side of the elastic grid.You can do this easily and securely using a blanket stitch. Just make sure to pull each edge tight, since you’re sewing to stretch the fabric and tighten the grid.

Once your board is sewn to the backside of the grid and the grid is pulled tight, cover the three edges with black photo tape (or you can sew or glue on fabric tape if you prefer).

On the right-hand side of the fabric rectangle (the side that will cover the inside of the back book cover), use your knife to cut a 3.5″ horizontal slit for the pocket 1″ from the edges (not including the width of the spine) and 4.5″ up from the bottom edge. You can also cut 2 horizontal slits at 4 inches above the pocket and instert a thick band of fabric so that a phone can be held in place. You can really add whatever you’d like, and if you really like the elastic grid, you can do a second one of those too.

You’re now ready to add your lining to the book cover. You can use craft glue on the side with the paper board, but be sure to use glue that is good for fabric on the side with just the fabric backing. Add your glue (make sure to get to the edges), and press into place. Make sure to line up the edges evenly and press down firmly. Clean any glue mishaps, and lay the book open on the floor, cover it with a sheet of clean scrap paper and then put something heavy on top so that everything will dry flat. Let everything dry overnight. If you want to add any latches or elastics over buttons to help to keep this closed, you can do that. Or you can leave it just like a book.

I think that this is such a fabulous tutorial for such a unique gift. Love it so much.


Happy crafting!


Levitating Book Shelves

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers!

I thought I would bring you another quick DIY since the last one I presented took a little bit of time and effort. I want to bring you something that’s super cool. You might have seen them in some deep dark internet hole, but I bring you a tutorial for making floating book shelves (Or trinket shelves) that are made out of books.


The end look is really cool and is super useful if you don’t have a space where having bookshelves will really work (think basement apartments that aren’t that tall, for example) and they’re super easy to do. They just take a little bit of hardware and that’s it. I’ve used the tutorial from Instructables to guide you through but there’s many out there.

You’ll need a few tools and materials. First you’ll need to find a book to make into a shelf. A coffee table book or a book from a vintage store would look super neat, but pick one you won’t read again as this will make it unreadable. A thrift store is an excellent option for this, as well you can sometimes find old sets of encyclopedias that would make lovely shelves. You’ll need an L bracket that you can purchase from your local hardware store, small wood screws (flat top) and large wood screws, and you’ll also need a box cutter, pen, measuring aparatus (ruler or measuring tape), glue and a stack of books for weight.

Measure the mid point of the book (length wise) on the inside of the back pages of your book so that your bracket will sit with the book balanced on either side of it. Position your bracket at this centre point and trace it and the holes so that you have a reference point as once you’re ready, you will be cutting into the pages to make a little home for the bracket to live without bulking the book up.

You will also want to make sure that your book will be sitting flush against the wall so make sure there isn’t much space between the edge of the book and the bracket. Also, there’s a lot more photos that are included in the original tutorial so please make sure to check back for reference when needed.

Notice how the book is level and that the bracket is pretty close to the pages. This is good. And this means you’ve cut a little pocket just the right size for your bracket. But wait, there’s more…

…you have to cut a little notch in the spine so that the bracket can be pushed right up against the pages.

Next you will need to start screwing… er… Yes. You will need to screw down the book pages (using the flat ones) on either side of the bracket so they don’t move. You will need to apply pressure and please work on a work table and not your leg as this person is.  The writer of this tutorial recommended adding pressure to keep the pages from getting wavy from the screwing… and also (despite the photo that was taken) using a manual screwdriver worked better.

Next, glue (you can use whatever strong glue you have on hand) and then close the book and apply pressure. And by pressure, I mean, pile a whole bunch of other books on top while it dries overnight, pressure.

Your last step is to attach the bracket to the wall with the larger wood screws, and trying your very best to find a stud that you can screw the bracket into…. er… yes. And voila! Your shelf is complete and quite sturdy. You can use it to pile a few books on top and even display some nick knacks.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Happy crafting,



Unique Little Book Purse, DIY Style!

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Good morning, Thursday Crafters!

Today I have a nice little tutorial for you that I thought was super cool. It is all about finding a great hardback book and turning it into a purse. How, you say? Well I’ll show you. This tutorial is from Instructables, and you can find the whole thing here, though there are many tutorials that float around online.

First you need to find a book that you like. There’s a few really good places to go to find unique, hardcover books. Thrift stores will be one of your best friends as well as antique and used book stores. A lot of them are pretty cheap too, so you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to get a super cool book to be the cover of your purse.

You will next need to remove the pages of your book. Use an exacto knife/box cutter to remove everything cleanly. If you selected a book with really cool images or you’d like to reuse your pages, there are several tutorials floating around (and maybe I’ll post another one next week) where you can use the pages as a crafting material. You will need to cut a piece of fabric of your choice in the same size as the book cover, fold the edges in 1/2 inch and iron the fold so it will stay.

Your next step (you can skip this if you’re planing on making a clutch) is to get your handles ready. At many fabric or craft stores you can buy purse handles separately. But keep in mind this isn’t your only choice. Keep your eye out in your closet for purses you don’t use anymore or you can even check out the second hand or vintage stores to see if there is anything you can easily take apart. Every set of handles is going to be different. You will basically need a way to attach your handles to your purse, so if you only have metal D rings or places for straps, you’ll need to get creative and buy/make your own (as seen above).

Glue your fabric strips to the book. You can use a glue gun, though I prefer stronger industrial adhesives (like E6000) for things like this.

You will also need to glue your fabric with the fold side down onto the cover, covering the handle straps.

Use a large piece (or a couple frankensteined small pieces, and tracet he cover of your book onto the paper, making sure to MARK both ends of the spine of the book on your paper.Measure the width of one side of the book, and draw a line that is that same length about 75 degrees from where you marked the beginning of the spine.  This angle controls how wide your purse will open.    The smaller the angle the wider your purse will open.

You will need a mirrored image on all the other sides, and you can do so by strategically cutting and folding at the centre lines so that you don’t need to keep finding angles. 🙂 When you’re finished, cut two pieces of lining fabric out of this stencil.

Next you will want to sew the angles that you made to the straight sides with the right sides facing each other. This will help to create a box-like shape for the inside of your purse.

Do the same with the second piece, and then when you’re finished, turn one of the pieces inside out (so you have a result like the photo above).

Put the right side out piece inside the wrong side out piece, and sew around the top edge.  You need leave a hole big enough for you to put hand though so that you can…

… turn it inside out! You will need to seal the hole you used to do this, so you can either slip stitch it by hand or do a neat little top stitch on your machine.

Sew some velcro into this section of the purse so you can close it (or you can improvise and glue a clasp or tie across the top of the book when it’s done… or both)

Your last step is to glue the inside pocket of your purse to your binding. And voila! You have just made a pretty cool book bag. Literally, a book that’s a bag. Love it.

Happy Crafting!


A Book Binding Helper

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I’ve posted about making books quite a few times as it’s a minor hobby of mine since I love to read. One step that many get caught up on though is just how to mysteriously sew the pages together so they don’t fall apart. One book maker, BCcreativity, has seen to this need and made a helpful visual aid to walk you through the process.

What this shows is the final step of binding the top/bottom protection piece known as the end band. This band hold the pages together as one unit as well as keeping it attached securely to the cover. There’s sadly no text t accompany this lovely illustration but any questions you have regarding the process can be directly to their tumblr account ask box over here. This was a step that was never taught to me so I’m excited to start using it in my own books. Their blog is filled with lovely finished and WIP images so I highly recommend giving it a look if you’re thinking about making a book of your own.

A Bit of Quiet Time

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It’s a lovely Spring day out here and the sound of kids playing in the park across the street is filtering in through my windows. What a great time to be outside getting dirty and running around (especially because it wears them out), right? But  what about those times when it’s raining or you’re on a long road trip or waiting for a doctor’s appointment? I know the default nowadays is to hand them some kind of electronic device but if you want an alternative to that quiet books are just the thing! What is a quiet book? Generally it is a bound bunch of felt or cloth pages with themed learning exercises to entertain and maybe even challenge those young minds. There are plenty of great examples out there, the largest resource I’ve found for ideas is actually an entire blog devoted to the subject: The Quiet Book Blog.

The apples and the spots on the dinosaur are moveable!

The apples and the spots on the dinosaur are moveable!

I love the ones that make learning fun and interesting that may also work on fine motor skills. There are plenty of examples for quiet book pages that teach kids to use buckles, zippers, and zippers. Many of the books targeted to the younger children feature games to help them learn numbers, shapes or colors in cool ways like sorting socks!

Look at that cute little dryer, the sock devourer!

Look at that cute little dryer, the sock devourer!

Once I started searching for page ideas, I couldn’t stop and you know me, I need some geeky versions, too. I was NOT disappointed. There are plenty of amazing fandom based quiet book patterns out there!

QuietBookStarWars  QuietBookHarryPotter

The details and difficulty levels on creating these awesome books are all up to the creator. I have to give mad props to some of the sewing skills and ingenuity on some of the ones I’ve found, though. Many are like miniature cloth works of art!

All the best to help Mario get past that wiggler!

All the little details plus a slight challenge for motor skills!

I assure you that there are plenty more where these came from! Just think of all the possibilities…maybe a Hobbit based one with a Gollum fish counting page? How about a Doctor Who one wherein they have different hats/jackets/scarf/bowtie to dress up the Doctor? What a great gift these would be for that budding little geek!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through quiet books as much as I have. I think my to-do pile just grew another ten feet!

Have a great week and stay crafty!




DIY Spiral Binding for Books

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This is a subject I’ve been looking into a lot lately as I’m designing a planner book for my business and I thought I’d take today to share some of my findings for those who may also be curious about making their own books. 🙂 There are basically 3 main options depending on how invested you are and how much money you’re willing to spend, so let’s go most to least expensive.

1) Buy your own machine for coil binding.
Easily the most expensive as machines that will punch holes in no more then 6 pages at a time start at $80, but if you are looking to make books to sell it’s a great investment. The one pictured above is one of the least expensive, but very highly rated and called the GBC Pro Click. The nice thing about this product line is you don’t have to manually wind the spiral into it. Simply buy the side binding, line them up with the holes and snap it closed. Done! The limiting factor is only what sizes the coil binding lengths come in.

2) Let an office center do it for you
If you have the no how and the skill to design your own pages and print them, many office center places (Staples, Office Depot, FedEx/Kinkos) will coil bind your work for as little as $3. Costs for the cover/back are extra, and if you have a thick book (over 100 pages) it will be more expensive, but nothing over $10 unless you’re doing something incredibly fancy or hard.

3) Buy a hole puncher and wire like a true DIY!
If you really want to make it all on your own for the ultimate customizing, I have got the tutorial video for you. It’s by youtuber Sea Lemon and she easily walks you through making your own spiral book. All you’ll need is paper, a ruler, an Xacto knife, wire (16 gauge for smaller books), and a hole puncher; specifically with 3mm hole sizes.

As she mentions it isn’t recommend for large coil bound books but if you plan on making your own planners/notebooks/journals this could be the starting point for you until you have the money for option 1. 🙂


Vaporeon Inspired Journal

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Alright, I’m crossing my fingers with this one. This fabulous book maker has only just started posting their work and it shows quite a lot of skill so I’m hoping we will only see more of their style in the future.

While there is not a lot of detail done on this book, everything that has been done was clearly carefully planed and pain painstakingly handmade. That adorable leather Vaporeon? I was made using onlay techniques meaning each strip of color is no more than .2mm thick and offers almost no noticeable raised texture to the cover; and yes, each color is it’s own strip.

The rest of the details are just as subtle and beautiful. The end bands are hand sewn and the marbling on the top of the pages was created by compressing the book and then hand painting the effect on. Aqwell is an artist from Finland whose work definitely bears watching and if you’d like to see the other book she created you can find it on her deviant art account.


Color World

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Bit of different angle on the subject today. Instead of just featuring another crafter, today I’m going to showcase an artist who mostly works in the 2D space of pictures and books.

Color World is a multi book fantasy series (3 released with more in the works) about an empath that sees the world differently. The author, Rachel E Kelly,  is one of the many lovely people that we have met on the convention circuit and travels with her family as she promotes the series around the country. Since she is an author and not an visual artist you may be wondering why the feature today. Well besides the fact that they are hoping to start a monthly comic based of the book series via kickstarter, they are also big supporters of handmade items; often featuring art from the series made by other artists (and sold with their permission/contract of course). It’s a wonderful fantasy series set in modern times and I highly recommend checking out the book on amazon and then the Kickstarter to see their plans for the future. 🙂

Forgotten Resources

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I picked this up today, and I am so excited. It is a copy of Norah Waugh’s Corsets & Crinolines book, first printed in 1954, and just about impossible to find without selling your first born. I didn’t have to sell my firstborn, or even soul, to get this copy, however, and it made me realise how often we forget the resources we have at our fingertips.


With the advent of the Internet in everyone’s homes, most people don’t immediately think of their local library as a source for inspiration and help anymore. In fact, most people think of libraries and think of stuffy academia instead of colourful arts and crafts. But, in my experience, they can be absolute treasure troves for the artistic.

There are lots of books out there that will help with a given craft. Whether it is knitting, quilting, sewing, upcycling, embroidery, jewelry, you name it- your local library probably has something to offer. Embroidery is one craft that I’ve often found books good for, as you can find designs and step by step guides to various stitches. Sewing is another that I constantly use good reference books for.

While plenty of the new books are great and fantastic, oftentimes we dismiss the older ones. It is easy to forget that authors of today learned their craft somewhere, too. Even when I went to college for theatre, we had books on costumes, set design, construction, makeup, etc. There are techniques and know-how that we have lost, but we can recover some of that through the written word.

While some things are easier to learn through apprenticeships and on the job work, most crafts have had their secrets recorded for the ages somewhere if you go looking for it. It might not be as pretty and shiny, but a book on corsets from 1954 has just as much information (and sometimes more) than the websites that I can easily find at my fingertips.

“But my library doesn’t have an Arts & Crafts section,” you say? Ask your librarian about an Inter Library Loan. It may not be free, but most libraries operate a system that allows them to get in books from other libraries at your request. This copy of Corsets & Crinolines is one of those loans. For the price of waiting a little bit, and a small fee, I get access to a book that I would have to pay quite a bit to get otherwise. Sure, I will have to return it, but in the meantime, I can get the information I need out of it.

So when you’re stuck on a project, or just looking for inspiration, I recommend saving some of your hard-earned supplies money and checking out your local library. You never know what gems you might find.

~ eliste