Thursday, 25 October 2012

Christmas Wreath from a Recycled Old Book

Previously the concept of cutting up a book would have had me crying blasphemy, but with the availability of digital media these days, an old book may not be worth all that much any more.  I had some old books that I was planning to clear out anyway, so I decided to turn one of them into a decoration for Christmas.  It cost me nothing at all (except my own time), because I used materials that I had lying around the house anyway.

Recycled Old Book Christmas Wreath


  • Old book, preferably with yellowing pages
  • Piece of scrap cardboard big enough the make support ring.  I used a cereal box.
  • Craft glue and/or sticky tape
  • Paint (optional) - I used red and green
  • Clear lacquer
  • Ribbon - mine was recycled from around a present we received earlier this year
  • Scissors, stanley knife, ruler, pen etc.

Create the backing support ring by tracing a dinner plate onto your cardboard, and a smaller plate in the middle of this.  Cut out your ring. 
Cut squares or rectangles of paper from your book pages - I used a small novel, and found that cutting the pages into 4 pieces was a good size. 
Using your fingers as a size guide, wrap each piece of paper into a small cone shape, and fasten shut with glue or sticky tape.  I found for this project, I needed around 200 paper cones (up to page 100 in the book!)

Turning pages into paper cones, and my cereal box backing ring (bottom left)

Start attaching your cones to the backing ring lying flat and on an outwards diagonal from the ring (see picture below).  I found sticky tape on the tips of the cones to be the easiest way, especially as when you are near the end you will have to lift the existing layers to place the last cones underneath. 

Starting to attach the cones

Keep layering cones on top of this, attaching them by the bottom tips only, and work your way around the ring.  Don't worry about it being uneven or having gaps - you can always come back and fill them in later!

Partway around the ring

When you get back to where you started, you will have to lift the first layers to place the cones underneath.  This can be a bit tricky, and I found the easiest way was to glue the cones in place by their sides rather than using sticky tape on the base. 
Use a bit of glue here and there between the sides of cones to anchor the whole thing together, especially around the inner and outer edges.  Use spare cones to fill any gaps that may have formed and to even out the inner and outer edges (I had to add heaps in at the end on the outer edge to get it smoothish!)  I really went nuts with the glue here, just adding tiny dabs here and there between the cones to hold the whole thing together. 

Finished paper wreath

From here you can decorate the wreath however you wish.  I used green and red paint to paint the inside of a few scattered cones, and left the rest plain so you could see the lovely colours and print of the aged paper.  Once the paint was dry I gave the whole thing a light coating of clear spray lacquer for a bit of protection, then once dry, I wrapped my ribbon around it and made a bow. 
To hang the wreath, slip a piece of string down between the cones at the top of the wreath and around so that it goes through your backing ring, and tie into a loop. Hang your wreath from this string. 
Sit back and admire your work!! 

If I had had coloured spraypaint, I would have loved to try just doing a light dusting of spray over the wreath to highlight the tips of the paper but not totally cover the print.  I think this would look lovely in either a green paint for leaves, or a white paint to emulate snow. 
Another option is to lightly brush the tips of paper with glue and dust with glitter (again I didn't have any so couldn't do this!) 

The finished wreath

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