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Book purse

Book purses were mentioned on here a little while back. I thought you might like to see the one I made. It's a nice accessory for the librarian side of steampunk!

I had my eye on some attractively bound Reader's Digest Condensed Books (I have no pity for them) that were in the local library book sale, but wanted a little more space than one book could give me. So I made a box-type purse out of three.

I started by cutting out the attractive endpapers for future use, then coated the text block edges with thinned-down school glue (using wax paper to keep them separate from the covers). Use plenty of weights on the books while they dry or they will warp! I then hollowed out the text blocks, as well as the bottom cover of the top book, both covers of the middle book, and the top cover of the bottom book. I gave the interiors of the text blocks several cots of thinned down glue, then glued them to their respective covers with school glue (leaving the top cover unglued to act as the lid of the purse. E6000 glue was used to glue the stacked books together into a solid block.

The handle is a leather belt with a nice buckle from a thrift store. To get good sharp bends as it wraps around the books, wet it down first and clamp it, then let it dry. E6000 glue holds it in place. You could use rivets to form the handle loop, but I just punched a couple of holes in the leather and used buttons tied together through the holes with string.

counter create hit

As the final touch, I lined it with some stiff cardboard and then the endpapers I had saved aside. Several coats of Future floor polish provide a protective clear finish.

At $4 plus glue it's a fun, inexpensive project!


( 69 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 18th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
That is an amazing idea!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
I'm guessing you used some kind of band saw to hollow the pages?

The end result is fantastic looking, very impressed.
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
the previous instructors recommended an x-acto or box knife, and small numbers of pages at a time
(no subject) - penwiper337 - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dyfferent - Oct. 18th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penwiper337 - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penwiper337 - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aisha_sama - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penwiper337 - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - charliestavern - Oct. 18th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
Wow, I totally agree. Fantastic idea, and pulled off really well! Thanks for the instructions, too. I'm definitely going to be looking for some crappy books to ruin now. :]
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Cool! It's really fun to carry around. Thanks for the comment!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
that's the coolest thing ever!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
This is one of the most ingenious craft projects I've seen in a long time! It's marvellous and has a very "professional" feel to it! :D
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
Totally fantastic! I love that you combined the three books for more space.

It is funny - I am actually working on a book purse at the moment!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Thanks! The world needs more book purses - I look forward to seeing yours!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
Is a thing of wonder!!!...BRAVO!!!...TC
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Re: That...
Eeeee, thanks!
(no subject) - kaileyhaber - Jul. 16th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - turkchief - Jul. 16th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
*claps happily* Ooh. Wonderful! Just wonderful!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
*blush* Thank you!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
I'm really curious to find out what you used to hollow them out as well. This is a fantastic idea and you've executed it brilliantly! Well done. :)
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
Sorry for the reost comment, but since it answers your question too...

I used my dremel. Alas, the width of the cutting wheels on the dremel means that it can only cut 1/2 inch or so into the text block from each side. The remaining pages had to be cut out by hand with an X-acto knife. Not too bad, but if I ever do it again I'm going to try borrowing a jigsaw.

Oh, and I went through about 10 cutting wheels. They apparently really dislike cutting paper.

You can cut through the pages easily enough with a blade of some sort, but having tried cutting the covers with a blade and failed miserably, I would have to say that a power tool of some sort is highly recommended for cutting through covers.
(no subject) - glitterninja - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - carriecavis - Jul. 16th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
marvolous idea! So different and inventive!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
Thanks! Though I was inspired by other people's hollowed books, so I can't claim all the credit!
(no subject) - jenniferogifu - Jul. 17th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Oh, quite loverly! I do hope you'll post a picture in school clothing!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
I actually wanted to, but I didn't have time to assemble an outfit. In the future, no doubt. Thanks!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
oh my god that is BRILLIANT. Must have taken AGES.
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
Thanks! Actually, it didn't take too long - I assembled it over the weekend for the most part. Power tools are loverly things.
(no subject) - fashionsunglass - Jun. 26th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
I am in love!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
haha, reader's digest condensed books.. books, are the only type of book i wouldn't mind destroying. great job, this is awesome!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
I know - they're just begging to be put out of their current misery and used for some nobler purpose, aren't they? Thanks!
Oct. 18th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
let me guess it was

I'm glad someone finally did something with my idea!

Oct. 18th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
I saw your post and started hollowing out a book myself! I can't thank you enough for that. <3
(no subject) - penwiper337 - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 18th, 2007 02:23 am (UTC)
Gorgeous. Just stunning.

I love the jewel tones of the book and how well they work with the warm brown of the belt handle.

Oh and the "ex libris" plate inside? Classic. You made my day. I'm adding this to my memories. ;)

*hands over a plate of internet cookies* You win.

(P.S. I'm a bit of a bibliophile so while the idea of cutting up books scares me senseless...I'm wanting to find some tripe of a publication to slice up and make one of my own. *grin* The bibliophilia also explains why I keep going on and on about this purse. Oh did I mention that I'm a bit of a purse whore? Yeah. I'm currently at my weakest. lol)
Oct. 18th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
I also found the "ex libris" plate hysterical.

This is a fantastic piece you've done; love it lots.
(no subject) - penwiper337 - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penwiper337 - Oct. 18th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - duchessofquirk - Oct. 20th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 18th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC)

Way awesome!
I gotta do this now!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
OMG hella hella awesome!!!!!11one

Sorry, my pure enthusiasm for your excellent project caused my little California-born slang to burst forth. Ahem.

Hurrah for this jauntily mischievous paragon of bookish wonders! Jolly good show!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)
Ha! Thanks!
Oct. 18th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
doode....that's so cool. no mercy readers digest!
Oct. 18th, 2007 01:43 pm (UTC)
They deserve none. :) Thanks!
Oct. 18th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
Best use of Readers Digest Condensed Books ever!
Makes this archivist quite jubilant :)
Oct. 18th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
As an unabashed bibliophile, I abhor violence to books, but that is a much better use of the ol' Readers Digest than it's intended use! Fantastic job!
Oct. 20th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
This is sooo brilliant, and if I didn't have too much to carry already I'd make one (quick, give me more reasons not to, because yours looks so great, even weight sounds weak). They do put them in such nice bindings, and the there's a stack down at the Goodwill down the street ... Maybe work on the single book with strap ...

Glory in this. You deserve to after all the work. Maybe gluing, then drilling the corners and using a fretsaw would be faster.
Oct. 31st, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC)
book purse
I love this. Without the belt as straps you could use the book box as a neat place to hide your goodies in the house.
Mar. 9th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
This has been listed on StumbleUpon.
Which is how I just found it.

Cute project, how heavy is it?
Mar. 10th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Re: StumbleUpon
Thank you! I've been dying of curiosity. :)

Actually, the purse is extremely light. The books use cheap paper, so they're pretty light to begin with, and once you cut most of the book away, you're left with something not much heavier than a cardboard box.
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