art / Book Reviews / Crafts and Hobbies

Book-Up Your Office Space

I love to read books, I love to view books that are incorporated into a piece art, so why not make books functional in the office as well? I recently picked up “Paper Made!” by Kayte Terry that was just published this May. The book includes 101 unique craft projects using paper (old newspapers, magazines, pages of books, and cardboard). What made me grab this book was 1) I am a crafty person (I knit, draw, paint, sew etc.) and 2) because I love Terry’s work in Anthropologie’s window displays.

Terry ideas for using paper are creative as well as functional whether it be a pencil holder, a flower pin, or a purse. In the first page, she instructs you to take a piece of paper in your hands and to crumple it, tear it, fold it, rip it, weave it. She shows you that a single sheet of paper provides “endless possibilities.” Get ready to take paper crafting and raise it up to a new level.

I recently decided to spruce up my office area when I realized that my desk had about 2 layers of bills, magazines, and newspapers as well as an array of pens and pencils scattered everywhere. I needed to be more organized and Terry inspired me to make a few items for my desk. Out of the 101 projects to do, I chose four which were all created using two old books.
My first endeavor was to take care of all that loose mail. I choose to make her “Book ‘Em Wall Pocket” and I made two (one for incoming mail and one for outgoing). I had hardcover books that recently encountered water damaged (translation: I spilled my drink on them) and half the pages were damaged. So instead of just tossing the books, I re-purposed them. All I needed for this project was a razor blade, hot glue gun, two hardcovers, and cardboard. I cut out the pages as instructed to make the book “hollow.” Something I love about these DIY projects is that you can add your own flair. To spruce them up, I added some “bling” (silver beaded string) as well as pages from the book for the labels. Part One: In, Part Two: Out.

When I am working, I usually just pat my hand on the desk until I find the pen or pencil I was looking for. I decided to make the “Spare a Square Desk Organizer” which is basically comprised of paper, toilet paper tubes, and a ribbon. I didn’t have 4 paper tubes so I just used three. This one was the easiest. I used pages from the book from the previous project. I also used Mod Podge glue on the outside to seal the paper and give it a slight shine. The same ribbon from the Wall Pocket project was used to tie the paper tubes together. While flipping through the pages, one of the chapters was entitled “Into the Lair of the Chief Librarian” which I felt was so fitting so I glued it to the front. It’s all about personalization!

My cactus plant looked so out of place so I created the “Pulp Fiction Bowl.” Although the project called for pages from a mass market, I still had tons of pages leftover from the other projects so for continuity, I continued to use the left over pages. All I needed was white glue (Mod Podge), strips of pages, and a blown up balloon. The balloon acted as a mold and I brushed on the strips of paper with the white glue. After it dried, I simply popped the balloon and out popped the bowl. For the finishing touches, I cut the top to make it even and then used the left over ribbon to wrap around the top and made a bow. Now it is a perfect place for the cactus and to throw loose paper clips.

Lastly, since the cactus doesn’t flower, I made the “Something Old, Something New Fascinator.” I made a few adjustments so it could double as a flower decoration and a flower hair clip. The book provided a web link to the cut out pattern for the petals and leaves. It was easy to trace the pattern onto the book pages, cut them, and put them together. While going through the book, I noticed that it used an interesting star image in its page breaks. I cut the small stars from the pages and placed them on the outer edges of five petals. I made the petals from blank spots of pages and the leaves out of the pages with words. The smallest detail, like the star, really changed the whole look. I liked the star image so much that I cut out two more and put them on the pencil holder.

By using the same book for each project, I created a matching workspace. I liked using simple black and white pages of a hardcover novel because I feel it makes more of a statement against the everchanging colorful stacks of books on my desk. But if you like color, most of these projects can be done with magazines. I am already itching to make a dozen of the flower pins from colorful magazines!

Terry’s book is full of ideas, each one functional, beautiful and inspiring. This book is perfect for beginners and advanced alike and each page has a difficulty rating. The materials list is simple, the directions are easy to understand and follow, and the end result is truly satisfying. Now when I look at my work space, it reflects who I am.

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