Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paper Review: Book Pages

Time to review another paper, this time I will talk about the joys of taking a book and tearing it to pieces for the use of crafts. Those who are upset by the reuse of books might want to look away will be graphic.

Texture, Color, Size: Book paper comes in a huge variety of sizes, it is all determined by the book itself so that category is a little irrelevant here. Colors come in the standard 'book' color, the slightly gray, the lovely antiqued old book pages, and if you are feeling adventurous...with pictures! The main draw for using book pages is the words, it is what makes it stand out from just regular printer paper. The words (and occasional pictures) give the paper an air of mystery, trying to read the writing between the folds. The texture varies between books as well, newer trade paperback pages are easier to fold because they have not become brittle with age. They are a lot 'pulpier' than most papers I have used and they are very unforgiving with folds...basically if you make a mistake there is no hiding that fold, just think of dog ears on a book.

The crane can be... problematic. The smaller the paper (this was made from a 4inch square) the harder it is to manipulate, especially the finer folds, like the nose. It seemed like it was trying to unfold itself. Book paper is a strange paper to use! The cranes you can make with old books are lovely, but very delicate, I made three and two of them tore when I was pulling the wings apart, so there are some complications.

Star: The stars are fun, but you have to make them pretty small (face it, most book pages are not very long)  and using older more brittle pages is just out of the question, they just crumple! After lots of delicate manipulation of the paper you get some really lovely stars. Best suited for jars since they are so delicate, even after a good varnishing.

Minigami: I don't want to do that...ever again! Because the paper is so organic yet delicate, the smaller the sheet of paper you use, I find the more messier the finished result is. Also the smaller the sheet, the less wordage you get, which is my favorite part of using this paper.

Before I discovered the oh so clever idea of using paperclips to hold the petals while the glue dries...this kusudama was the hardest I had made (also the third so, that could be why) With my origami paper I found I could glue them and set them on my computer and allow the warmth to dry the glue...with book pages I had to hold them until the glue dried making this a very tedious kusudama. When I had finished it turned out to be one of the prettiest kusudamas I have made (I still think that actually) the writing just makes it look fantastic. I recommend using this paper for kusudamas!

Ah the sonobe, such a lovely design! I have made one of these so far and enjoyed it. The only real downfall is it is easily smushed. Delicate paper books are!

Availability: Books are everywhere! You can find them for free if you are willing to rummage through recycling or on places like freecycle and craigslist. If you know of a specific book you want to make into something...well, there is Amazon. There is a seemingly infinite pile of books in the world! I for one, am still hunting one written in Chinese!

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