Make with the Sauce!

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wallpaper made from books...
ralph simpsons
ouiserboudreaux wrote in saucydwellings
embarcadero suggested that I post this here.

My husband and I have been using our formal living room as a "library" with four large bookcases. The room seemed boring and we wanted to do something unique.

So we made our own wallpaper out of book pages. We scoured used book stores for copies of our favorite books and then cut them up. We primed the walls, then using wallpaper paste slapped pages down. It took a long time (several months) and we estimate about 1,000 pages.

Once it was done, we sealed it with a special polyurethane blend I got from a woodfinishing store who had used it before to seal decopage on a table and chest. Two coats worked great and gave it just a tinge of antique color and a smooth, nearly waterproof finish.

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You guys did a beautiful job! :)

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It really has a wonderful feel to it still despite the sealing. Very fun to just run your hands over it.

I got the idea from Southern Living where someone did it with Italian newspapers. but they used a heavy varnish and made it very antique-y, almost burnt/rust more than the text.

I didn't want that, the floor is a hardwood color spice so it was dark enough for me. But this is a big house (3,000 sq) so if you do something, it needs to be distinct enough to not get lost.

And we wanted people to be able to stop and to read it. The front door is right outside the archs, so this is one of the first things people see.

that's really one of the coolest things i've ever seen!

i have this huge fetish about writing/the written word/letters/text/books/typography. i would swoon if i had a room like that!

We had a lot of fun doing it.

For the parts of the walls we knew would be most visible, we use favorite pages from our favorite books. Like right about eye level on both sides are my favorite Dorothy Parker poems (the men seldom makes passes and her snide one one suicide, resume).

And one book was written by a friend and mentioned me, so that got a good spot.

i was thinking that i would have the hardest time because i would want to hand pick all the pages.

i love dorothy parker!

It started out fun but you do get tired of picking pages. And even if it isn't a special page, we felt like we needed to make sure it didn't have extreme curse words.

We do intend to sell this house at some point as well as have kids so having a room with a lot of four letter words wasn't a good idea.

So we actually had these discussions - what words were ok, what sex stuff was ok. Damn and ass were ok but we tried to avoid s**t, MF, f**k, p***y and other words to describe sexual anatomy. My husband kinda had concerns about David Sedaris and a chapter called I like guys but he finally oked it when he read it. And we had to check pages from the Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy very closely since it was really full of curses and some gross stuff.

Beautiful!! Thank you so much for posting the pictures.

That's GREAT!!!!! I'd love to see it again when you get all the furniture in it as well. I love the idea!

Thanks! We've moved the four bookshelves back in -seven feet tall honey stained, two on each side. We stained them about four years ago so it is finally getting richer/warmer every year.

I'm waiting to get a new floor lamp for the corner between them.

And I made a bench from an old coffee table and painted it the white of the trim and made cushion but I hate the color of the cushion (I thought it would be more cardinal or burgundy but the fabric was red - now I think it needs to be a earthtone).

I was thinking of just chucking that all together and getting a futon to go under the windows. Thought it might be nice to just relax in there with no tv, no radio, just the books.

And we have three dogs, so their beds stay in there too.

I just built 2 book cases for what will be my bedroom when I get the moldings on them. 8' tall, and stained a red cherry mahogany. I have to admit that the stain job I gave it leaves a little to be desired (it was a virgin effort) but with the books on them they should be fine. I really find the feel of a room lined with books very relaxing, which is why I chose to do a bedroom filled with them. I had intended on having 3 book case units( 8'x9' instead of 8'x6') on the wall these are going on, but the light switch and alarm panic button were in the way. I'll post pictures when the room is done here as well.

Wow, this is a great idea, i've been looking for something to do in my office.

Carbon, you might just want to do one wall or consider using newspaper unless you don't mind mess for awhile. We started at Thanksgiving and I tried to work some every day (maybe only 30 mins an hour but sometimes like both of us for three hours) And we only finished laying pages like two weeks ago.

I will say, it was cheap - it cost less than $200 total (old books, wallpaper paste, wallpaper brushes, smoothers, sealant)

it looks really, really good. Great job with varying the page shades too.

Do you mind posting the brand of sealer you used? thanks!

We definitely had to go older for dark shades - and older books tended to have stronger pages too.

We used VanAqua 480 - Amber Urethane Topcoat. It comes in satin, semi-gloss and gloss. We wanted just a light tone, so if you want something darker, you might want go with something else.

I got it at www.woodfinishingsupplies.com/Waterbornes.html

The guys there were great in helping us select the product but it took awhile to get the stuff. They couldn't ship b/c it was too cold where they are based - fair enough of course but they didn't tell me that until I'd waited like 10 days already.

So you might want to go to your local hardware store and tell them you need a urethane topcoat that will seal and dry clear (regardless of any coloring, it should still be clear).

And wow was this stuff thin - it ran like hell. We had to be very careful.

I'm stunned. This is just beautiful.

wow, that's fantastic. i've thought of doing something like that before, but haven't really had my own place to do it in. it's great to see it as a reality though and take it as a bit of inspiration. i concur with the other poster who encouraged you to post pictures of it once the furniture has been moved back in.

Oh that is so beautiful. I'm awed.

That is fantastic. Very well done. I absolutely love it.

You must have a LOT of patience, my second thought (after oooh pretty) was that I'd probably get frustrated after a few days (or hours even) and just start slapping the pages on helter skelter.

Good work!

I saw once on a home show where the decorator did the same sort of thing with maps of the world, she used tea to stain the pages before she put it up with wallpaper glue.

Wow! I don't know what else to say other than...Wow!
It looks great! Really, really great! :)

That is just so cool! *grin* I'm doing something similar with a phone book to make address books. *grin*

And I think I finally know what to do with my boring bookcases and the insides of all those old thrift store books I got just for the covers... ;)

When I saw your miniblinds, I thought it would be really neat to do it to them, too. Maybe horizontally, so it doesn't blend completely. Or vertically like the walls so it *does* blend...

Awesome job, and you have more patience than I can ever imagine. ;)



They actually aren't mini-blinds. They are three inch wood blinds, which would probably be even easier to continue a design with since they are so sturdy.

I considered it but they cost $4,000 (for the full house) so I was afraid of messing them up!

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