Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Library Book Cover Art

My husband and I are very fortunate to have a den in our home.  Very fortunate - because, you see, we have a lot of books.  A lot of books.  And those precious books needed a home.

We decided to turn our free space into a library.  We loaded up bookshelves on one side of the room and realized that we need to find some great artwork to counterbalance the awesomeness that was our Wall O' Books.  Unfortunately, there was very little that wowed or impressed us.

So one day, while pondering life and staring at the Wall O' Books, I thought, "Why not use the books as inspiration?!"  Thus, the Book Art wall was born.

The process was very simple, though {honestly} a little time consuming and costs less than $50 to complete.

Here's What You Need
Pictures of Book Covers
Hanging Nails
Masking or Painters Tape
Scrap Paper
Paper Cutter
Tape Measurer
Hot Glue Gun (if necessary)
Hanging Hooks (if necessary)

The Frames
My husband and I spent quite a bit of time collecting the frames.  We wanted a variety of shapes and sizes - the color of the frames was irrelevant.  We usually bought them on sale or clearance at various different stores - Hobby Lobby, Michael's, JoAnn, Pier 1, Ross, TJMaxx, Marshals.  Remember that frames consistently go on sale at the craft stores!  I believe, we spent about $30 total for all of our frames.

After collecting frames, we went to Home Depot and bought 3 cans of white spray paint, satin finish.  We took all the frames outside and gave them a fresh new look.  The frames that were already white also got a makeover - the finish needed to be consistent across the entire display.  Most of the frames took multiple coats, but when we were done, we had an awesome collection of frames.

At this point, we had to  pause and make sure I had a way to every frame on the wall.  Some were table top frames with no hooks.  No problem!  I simply pushed hanging hooks into back of picture frames and hot glued them.  It wasn't pretty - but it's up against the wall and will hold the picture, so it's okay.

Figure out how we want our frames to go on the wall.  To do this, we replicated the size constraints of the wall on the floor {shamefully} using books to mark the boundaries.  Since hindsight is 20/20, I recommend grabbing a roll of masking tape and mapping out your space on the floor.  Doing it on the floor first will allow you to see all of your frames as they will be sitting next to each other on the wall.  We did a lot of rearranging before we were happy with which circular frames were next to which square ones, that design next to that one, and so on.

The Book Covers
We used a regular, ordinary, everyday, point-and-shoot digital camera... and a steady hand.  It was one of the many times in my life that I wished I had a tripod.  Use good natural light to get the best out of the cover shot.  Do not use flash!  Most books have some form of a glossy finish and you'll end up with a "light" dot on your cover.  You can see we did an assortment of our favorite grown-up books and children's books.  Halfway through the project we came up with the idea of taking pictures of literary artwork/sketches inside of books and using those instead.  Obviously, we ditched that idea, so I pass it along to you.  Do whatever strikes your fancy!

Once we had our covers all shot, we decided which frames would house which photos.  This step is especially important to do before ordering your prints if you have different size/shape frames.  You need to decide if The Giver is going in the 4"x6" or the 5"x7" frame prior to ordering it.  To plan this out, we used a very sophisticated post-it note system.  On the post-it, we wrote the name of the book and the primary color of the cover.  This helped us visualize if we had too many blue covers next to each other or all the green covers were on one side of the display.

Got them all figured out?  Print them off and put them in the frames!

Getting Your Book Art on the Wall
This is where I had to get creative.  How do I get the frames on the wall in the way that I planned?

First we measured and mapped our space constraints on the wall with masking tape.  This should match the constraints you laid out on the floor.  {I apologize for the atrocious picture, haha}

Next, we traced the frames onto scrap paper.  This should be a general outline of the frame, it doesn't have to be perfect.  I was sure to mark were the nail would need to go onto the paper {This is a great trick!}.  I cut out the traced image and immediately taped to the wall with masking tape to match were it was on the floor.  Do this will all of your frames. 
 Make any necessary adjustments needed for spacing.  I had to move quite a few of mine around.  I believe I actually moved a few after I took this picture. 
Are you happy?  Great!  Remember those marks you made on the paper where they should be hung?  Hammer the nails in!

Remove the paper by just tearing it off the nail and remove the rest of the tape on the wall.  Hang your frames and you're done!  Phew!  A lot of work and a lot of steps, but toootally worth it!

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