Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Altered Books • Monogram

Continuing in my exploration of using vintage books for decor, I experimented with using an old book as the form for a monogram letter. Reader's Digest Condensed Versions seem to be plentiful in the free book market and they have covers with patterned papers and contrasting leatherette bindings. The one I used had gold edges on the top surface of the pages as well.

To create the monogram I started at the computer working in the page layout program Pages which is part of the Apple iWork series. Having always used a Mac, working in this program is natural for me but I expect similar things can be accomplished in MSWord as well. First I explored different fonts looking for one that had a big bold M. You do need to consider letter choice for this project. This type of book monogram only works with letters that have a straight left side.  M is perfect as is B, D, E, F, H, K, L, N, P, and R. Others can be created if you used a squared-off font. Letters like A, C, G, O, Q, U, W could be modified. Letters like S, T, X and Z will prove challenging. And different fonts handle each letter differently. I liked the Gill Sans Ultra Bold uppercase M because the middle didn't descend all the way to the floor. For other letters I might choose a different font.


Once I had my desired letter I took a screen shot of it - (Command-Control-Shirt-4 key combination on a Mac) and pasted that as a jpg (not text) into a new layout document. In this new document I drew a rectangle the same size as my book. I then stretched the jpg letter until it matched the size of my book. By changing the font into a jpg I could stretch to a different proportion than the font design. I needed it to be taller than a classically proportion M.




The green rectangle was the size of my book. I stretched the M to fit it and then slid it over the rectangle. I printed the M and taped it (using removable tape) to my book. Working on a band saw, I carefully cut along the edges of the letter.


When done, I removed the paper template and the book was done! I did decide to cut in on the right side adding a little serif to the font. Few projects are as easy as this one!




4/22/12 Update - Welcome!
Looks like I am getting tons of visitors here from Pinterest today. Welcome! I encourage you to browse around for a while. Check out the links below to other book type ideas. If you are a DIYer then be sure to check out my Tutorial tab above. I am an active blogger that posts about many creative topics although recently I have completed some popular craft projects. I encourage you to follow my blog and get the regular updates or follow me on Pinterest because I do post my new projects there as well.  Stay in touch and share your projects with me.
Have a wonderful, creative day.
Marji

8/6/12 Update:
Here is an example of an Upper Case R re-deisgned to be accessible with a band saw. It would be stronger if you used a drill press and scroll saw to cut out inner spaces but if you are lacking the tools this solution might work for some letters. O is tough though!


Previous Posts of Interest:
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

56 comments:

  1. You sure make it look easy, but I know most of us do not have your skills! Love the whole display- well done!

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    1. Bettsi,
      Thanks for commenting. I look forward to your regular comments. On this project it really was easy. The only part that makes so most can't do it is having a band saw. I am lucky because my husband is a sculptor and has a wood shop. The band saw is a great tool to have access to. I have to be sure to completely clean up my mess though! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Marji

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  2. What a creative idea! I love the look of this so much! It would be great if you would like to stop by and share this at our link party http://herestohandyandy.blogspot.com/2012/04/pinteresting-link-party-week-35.html#more.

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  3. This. Is. So. Cool! Firstly, what an interesting way to spice up a conventional monogram. Secondly- who would have thought of cutting a book with a saw!? My mother is an AVID reader and I can just see making one of these for her. Or even using one as a wedding scrapbook- having the base book be a sketchbook with blank paper, and people write on the pages? what a versatile idea! Oh, and I'd be honored if you had the time to stop by my debut episode of Sweet Sharing Monday (weekly party w features!) - http://saynotsweetanne.com/2012/sweet-sharing-monday/

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  4. I love it! Just yesterday I saw the most wonderful monogram letter, all covered in yarn. And now I've found an even more interesting one!

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  5. That is so cool! I wonder if my husband has a band saw...

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  6. That's really great ... I wish I had a band saw. I'll have to find a friend who does. I love the above comment about using it as a guest book ... such a fun idea!

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  7. What a great idea - I have a huge stack of cute Reader's Digests just waiting to become something. I have been stuck on what to actually do with them though. Love this idea - if only I had a band saw! Maybe I will play around with the saws we do have and see what I can do. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for commenting. Let me know if you are successful with something else. Then we can share the idea because most people don't have access to a band saw. Maybe I'll try one on the smaller jig saw today. Send pictures!

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  8. I love this. You did an awesome job. I'm going to have to ask around and see if anyone has a band saw.

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    1. Thanks for commenting. It took less than 10 minutes of band saw time so you should only need to "borrow" a little bit of time! Marji

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  9. This is such a cool idea! I wonder if a jig saw would work? I guess it's worth trying haha! :)

    -Bonnie @ Revolutionaries
    www.revolutionariesblog.com

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  10. Bonnie, thanks for commenting. Let me know if the jig saw works. Sending pictures or links. Marji

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  11. This is so awesome! Such a great idea! I truly love it and want to do my own:0)

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    1. Melissa, This was one of those ideas that took very little time. I love projects with big impact for little time. Send a link when you have finished. Thanks for commenting. Marji

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  12. I love this! Usually, I am not for destroying books but those Reader Digest ones are pretty useless otherwise!

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    1. Agreed! But the patterned covers work nicely for this project!

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  13. This is SO awesome!! Wow! Just popping in from TT&J :)

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  14. That is amazing! I would not trust myself to cut it though. :)

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    1. Band saws require paying attention - as do all power tools - but I find it much safer than a table saw. Thanks for commenting.

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  15. This is so awesome. I am obsessed with books and one day I hope to have a whole library room. (A girl can dream!) Can't wait to try this out.

    Jessica @ www.prettyprovidence.com

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    1. I have always loved books but have reached a point where there just isn't enough space for all of them. We have been donating books to our library for years now. Thinned the collection by at least 75% and still have hundreds - a lifetime of books! thanks for commenting Jessica.

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  16. This is such a cool idea! Would make a lovely wedding gift.

    Way to go!

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    1. Caroline,
      It would as long as the initials are the correct letters. Don't think this would work with J! The idea could also be used as centerpieces at a wedding with a literary theme.
      Marji

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  17. Awesome! The pattern on the book really makes it pop. Very unique.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, The pattern seems to be a standard on the Readers Digest Condensed books. I got several at a give-a-way and all had patterned covers. The patterns do vary as do the color of the binding so you can search for one that matches your interior. Marji

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  18. What an awesome idea...saw it on pinterest. :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I am lovin' Pinterest today! It is sending lost of people here!

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  19. Super, super cute! Love it!!! Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Very cute idea. Clever, creative, unique. Love it!

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  21. I do not have these tools available to me and I bet lots of other people are like me. That said, you should sell these on Etsy. I'd be first in line!

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    1. I will be 2nd in line!!! Our last name is Massey!!!

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  22. This is so cool! How creative! I would love for you to link this project up at my link party – Well Crafted Wednesdays! You can find it here:

    http://thewellcraftedhome.blogspot.com/2012/04/well-crafted-wednesdays-link-party-1.html

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  23. I have seen these and wondered how they were made. Thanks for the tutorial! Love it!

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  24. What a great project. Wish I had a band saw!!

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  25. Such an awesome project! I'll have to keep this idea in mind... thanks for the inspiration!

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  26. I saw this over at C.R.A.F.T. And followed the link...I always find really cool journals, mainly unused. I'm thinking about doing this to one of those as a baby/wedding gift and making scrap book like inside for first this or that where they can fill it in. Or, have guests write something in it. Thanks for the push for another craft to start on!

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  27. This is really cool and that is my Initial (last name) but sadly I don't have a scroll saw or know anyone that does to do this for myself. :(

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  28. really do LOVE this!!! My son asked for a scroll saw last Christmas, so I am SET!!! Thanks for sharing your creativity!! You inspire!

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  29. What a clever idea! I've admired all the book art projects but this is my favorite! I wondered how hard it would be and when I realized it was a saw, I was thrilled...I can do this too! Thanks so much for sharing at The Shady Porch!

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  30. Thank you everyone for taking the time to visit and comment. I guess I need to think up some more book ideas because it sure is a popular topic. Next time I'll try for one not requiring a band saw. Has anyone ever visited one of those rent-a-shop locations where you can rent time on a band saw? I've never seen one but I hear they exist in cities- ( I am not in a city!) Wonder if they would allow you to cut books? Anyhow, stay tuned, start following and I'll keep sending ideas your way!

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  31. Lovely!!! just beautiful! featuring these today on our facebook page! :)

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  32. My husband and I just made two of these monogrammed letter books today for our granddaughters. We made an E and a M. I placed the letters that I made on the computer onto the books and my husband, (God Love 'Em) cut the books out with the band saw. I am going to cut scrapbook paper in the shape of the letters and modge podge them onto the front and back of the book I used. Thanks so much for such a great idea! These things might even become Christmas gifts for family and friends. Hmmm....just gotta get the books!

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    1. Judy, do you have a picture up anywhere that I can see? So glad to have inspired you. I am thinking of making a set for my brand new grand daughter for her nursery.

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  33. Seen this on Pintrest, I LOVE them & actually have access to a ban saw!! My question is what tool do you use to cut out middle for letters such as-A R B O D??

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    1. I would use a drill press to drill a hole and then a scroll saw to cut our the interior space. Or I would design the letter in a contemporary font that allows for access for a band saw. I'll put at image into the blog post as an update giving and example of this with the upper case R.

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  34. Your monogram book turned out great - thanks for posting the tutorial and I have this linked to my books project post as well today!

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  35. Love, love, love this!!! My last name is a "W" so I'll have to play with it. Thanks for linking up to TT&J!

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  36. Oh, my gosh, I just love this! This makes me want a band saw! LOL! :0) http://pinkgerberdaisies-kady.blogspot.com/

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    1. Has anyone tried this with a jig saw?

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    2. Marji - I tried it with a jig saw. The results were less than satisfactory. There are two problems, the hand-held jig saw has a much rougher cut and the cut was not 100% vertical. I switched to a scroll saw which is much slower but has a much cleaner finish. My daughter is getting married in a couple of weeks and she wanted "MR & MRS" from these for the wedding. Can't wait to do the "&"....

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  37. Just created my own using your tutorial as inspiration. Sadly, we didn't have a band-saw and had to create our own way of cutting a book into a "C"
    Enjoy here: http://sunshineandthekiltedchris.blogspot.com/2013/02/do-it-yourself-monogram-book.html

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  38. How on earth did you get the covers to be larger than the pages....like a real book?
    I don't see how the band saw could do this. How did you do it?
    Great idea!!

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    1. It is a real book! I started with a Readers Digest Condensed book because of the attractive cover and just cut away!

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  39. Wow! This project is so good. I love making new things from old ones specially books. You can do so many new projects from them. Your post has worked as an inspiration. I want you to have a look at this amazing book by Altered Upcycling. It shares many new projects too.
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Books-beautiful-ornaments-ebook/dp/B00MGJADUK%3FSubscriptionId%3D0ENGV10E9K9QDNSJ5C82%26tag%3Dflatwave-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB00MGJADUK

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