Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gilding the Lily

In an earlier post I gave instructions on how to style a bookcase.
This was the result of my styling.

I like the collected-over-time look of my bookcases, but I've always been drawn to the uniform look of the Restoration Hardware bookshelves with the books covered in
a solid color.  Here's one of the shelves I like.

Restoration Hardware
I decided I'd like to give it a try and found some large books at a sale.
My only requirement was that they were all similar heights.
They were perfect for covering.  I purchased some white craft paper on a roll and I was ready to go.  Anyone who has covered a text book can do this.

I measured the width and doubled the measurement.  To that I added the width of the spine plus 8 more inches to allow for the fold overs on the front and back covers.

Next I measured the height and added 4 more inches to allow for the folds on the top and bottom.

I unrolled the craft paper onto my sewing cutting board.  The grid helps me measure  and draw a straight line.  I used my metal square also to make sure all was straight.  I then covered the books with the same method I use for school text books.

Here they are covered.  You know me though, I just couldn't stop there.  It was time to gild the lily.  So much for the Restoration Hardware look.

I decided to add images to the spine of the books.  The first thing I did was copy an old clock face I had.  I then cut it into thirds.

I glued the image to the spine with Mod Podge.
I also top coated the images to protect and seal them.

I really liked how it turned out.
Since I still had more books, I selected another image and cut it in quarters.

I liked this too so I copied some antique architectural bookplates that I had and cut them into strips and applied them to my other books.

You can see that I used three books for the building and decided to turn the two other books with a different architectural print on their sides.  I staged this photo in my laundry room.  I haven't shared that room yet, but I have three over-sized architectural prints in stainless frames.  I thought they would be a good back drop.  The urn and the finial are also part of the laundry room decor.  Underneath the items is a weathered and mottled mirror.

Yes, I'm out of control with this.  I had several vintage cardboard childrens' animal toys.  I decided to copy the elephant, then I cut him into fifths to fit the books I had.

I did a twist with this one.  I had some orange wrapping paper left over from Christmas.  I have to say that it was much easier to work with the wrapping paper.  I also removed the white back ground from the elephant copy before gluing him down.

I think I like the elephant the best.  What's your favorite?


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  1. What a fantastic idea! I love this! I am definitely doing this. Have a wonderful week.


  2. Kathy!!! Love this....LOVE the Elephant! He is so hip! I am totally stealing this idea as soon as I get my own space again! I also really like the architectural ones...this idea has so much possibility! I love that you were inspired by Restoration Hardware, but made it totally you. I think yours a better...RH's are too tame for me and apparently, you too! Thanks for sharing

  3. i love this idea!!! how fun! if i were back in college i would have done this with my text books- woud have looked prettier in my dorm room!

  4. Kathy, What a fabulous idea and each one is wonderful! I think the clock face is my favorite.

  5. Love it. Not the white, but the images & additions! Very creative!

  6. I LOVE this idea--and it is limitless! Trying to figure out where I'm going to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Love this! I've been considering covering our books too- the added art to the spines is a beautiful idea! Thanks for sharing at Transformations and Treasures!

  8. They all turned out so great! Wow, love them :)

  9. Kathy, how incredibly creative you are! Those books look awesome - love how you ran with an idea and made it really special.

  10. Kathy, I just wanted to drop by again and thank you for linking this to my party. Love these!

  11. I LOVE this idea! So clever and creative. And something anybody can do. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Kathy - I love this idea! (Looks like I'm typing the same comment as shabbylisaw above - but that's how I feel too!) What a great way to dress up old books! Thanks so much for sharing your creativity in the DIY project parade! ;)

    Happy 4th!


  13. Gorgeous and well done and witty! Perfect for that bit of style and whimsy.

  14. wow i love this idea...I was thinking you could even do something personal...like the family home you grew up in in sepia or black and white...could even look cool on the spine of your scrapbooks! thanks for the inspiration!

  15. That is so INCREDIBLE! Your talent always blows me away and this project is no exception. I love that you took an idea and made it your own (and better in my opinion!) and how they all look like mini works of art. :-) Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

  16. Wow, I love it! So creative! I would really love to do these covers for my bookshelves! Great idea!!

  17. What a unique and neat idea, Kathy! I love the clock the best! Great job! :)

    xoxo laurie

  18. Clever twist on the covered books. The elephant is my favorite mainly because the elephant is the mascot of my university. I'm not a fan of the all white but do love all the books with images. Love the idea of using significant family photos, etc. Because no books were harmed, it would be a quick, budget friendly addition that could be changed.

  19. I am perusing Graphics Fairy as I type a thank you to you for an awesome idea!
    Super ingenious!

  20. Saw your books featured over at The Picket Fence, Kathy, and just had to come by and tell you how fantastic I think they all look. I love all the different images you used and how they are like pieces of art on a tabletop!

  21. I like the coral best! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing with us.

  22. Fabulous idea! Pinned and ready to do.

  23. Love this concept! I think the elephant image(s) is my favourite.

    new follower and will pinning this for future reference

  24. My favorite is the coral. Each one is awesome!


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