Recycle it! — 3 Bookmaking Materials You Already Have

I’m always looking for ways to reuse and recycle, because it’s the cheap green thing to do! Seriously, it saves so many bucks resources and is great for my wallet the environment. So do the miserly socially-concious thing and follow these tips.

And you won’t feel bad about the environment OR your budget.

board games coptic binding cover

Use old game boards, such as these thick bingo cards, as covers for a coptic bound book. Courtesy of flickr user Vitarlenology.

1. Board Games

Let’s face it—your beaten up version of Candyland is missing too many pieces for you to be able to donate it to Goodwill in good conscience. And you’re pretty well past the stage of needing to build up your color-matching skills. But, that board! So beautiful and colorful! And still intact! Though there is that corner that’s kind of bent from when you hit your sister over the head, but we all know she was cheating and totally deserved it, anyway.

A great way to reuse old board games is to use them as book covers. They are about the same thickness/stiffness (weight) as book board or box board, so they work great. Plus, they’re already snazzy looking so you don’t have to cover them! Use them in a Coptic binding with some lovely colored thread. Or, glue some book cloth in between to form the spine and make some regular ol’ covers. It’s a great look, and easy, too!

2. Gift wrap

Granted, you don’t want to become your mother, who insists you open all your gifts carefully so that you don’t rip anything. I’m not suggesting that you crazy with this.

But every once in a while, at my birthday or during the holiday season, I get one of those gifts. You know, the one from that person you secretly think about hating sometimes because they’re such a perfect over-achiever, that looks so beautiful you’re afraid to touch it.

If I see some gift wrap that strikes my fancy, then I’ll be careful in its removal. It’s great for folded book covers or to cover your ugly book boards. Be aware, they aren’t super durable and will hardly be archival, but it’s an inexpensive, easy way to get cover material (and recycle!).

3. Scrap paper

If you’re like me, you end up with a lot of scrap paper. Whether it’s from a bad run-in with the printer (who knew that it would print eight copies when I only needed one?) or leftover handouts from some social function, save these.

While you’ll probably never use scrap paper to make a super-functional book, they are great for practice. And practice makes perfect, right? And I’m light-years from perfect, so I need all the practice I can get.

If I’m planning a project that will use expensive materials, I might make a smaller practice book called a dummy. The dummy will let me practice the technique and get familiar with it. It can also help me iron out any wrinkles so that I go into the project knowing what I’m doing.


And now, I want to apologize for my weeks of absence. Life has gotten a little crazy lately! My husband heard back from graduate programs he had applied to, so there was a lot of thinking, number-crunching and ultimately, decisions to make, and that has been taking up a lot of my time.

Aside from that, I promised you a couple of things, specifically a video tutorial of how to determine paper grain and a how-to. I have worked on both intermittently, I promise, but it turns out that my video shooting/editing skills are not all that they should be. I appreciate your patience and continued support of this blog.

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