From The Repurposed Library: A New Sewing Box

If you’re reading this blog, you are most likely a person who A) loves crafts, and B) loves books. If you meet both of those criterion, then chances are you'll be interested in one of our newest STC Craft titles: The Repurposed Library.

When we first acquired this book nearly two years ago, e-readers were new on the scene. The Nook may not have existed yet, but we could see which way the wind was blowing. The Repurposed Library felt like the perfect response to a tech-savvy world that’s changing before our eyes. Both ironic and beautiful, The Repurposed Library presents craft projects to make, literally, out of old books, lifting obscure tomes off of dusty shelves, and putting them in a new light. 

I edited this book and worked closely with the author, Lisa Occhipinti, from beginning to end. When I finally decided to make a project from the book, I was drawn to so many things—from the decorative book bursts made from folded book pages to the shelves made from a sturdy stack of drilled hardcovers—but the sewing box seemed like an excellent choice for me since I love to sew and am constantly leaving my notions about. Shown above is the inside of my finished sewing box, and below is what it looks like when it's closed.

I must say, the hardest part of making this project was picking out the book. As a book lover, it is very hard to find a book you feel okay about putting under the knife. Especially with old books, there’s a certain amount of reverence—a sense that it has been passed through many hands, perhaps loved, perhaps not—and that you are now the keeper of this book in a vast "world library." So, I’m not going to lie: I bought four used books before I found the one I felt okay about transforming into a sewing box. Luckily, Lisa provides us with a very helpful section on selecting books—from how to identify first edition and rare books (which you should not cut up) to the importance of evaluating sentimental value—so when I found the book I wanted, I felt good about my choice.

I chose an old Reader’s Digest Condensed Book from the 1950s. The books in this series all have wonderful, decorative hardback covers hiding beneath their jackets, and almost no value whatsoever. As an added bonus, there are cute little illustrations throughout, which I’ve been cutting out and gluing onto homemade cards (shown below is a card I sent to my mom for Mother’s Day…)

The sewing box project couldn’t have been easier. To get started, you simply remove the pages from the book with two slices of an Xacto knife down the inside spine (the pages will all be glued or sewn together, so they come out in one big chunk). Then you measure your balsa wood, which you can find in sheets at craft or art supply stores, and trim it to size with an Xacto knife (the wood is very soft and easy to cut through). Then comes the fun part: You get out your hot glue gun and glue the compartments in place! I managed to complete all of these steps, beginning to end, in under two hours.

If you’d like to try your hand at making the sewing box, download the instructions here! And if you’d like to see more projects from the book, click here.