Do you have a suspiciously large collection of trashy bodice rippers that you don’t want to admit you own? Do you own them for science? Do you need a good, simple DIY project to do while you’re stuck in front of the AC in the middle of a heat wave? (Seriously, New York, WHY.) Well, we’ve got a great, easy project for you that’s also good for the environment – recycled bookmarks made from your favorite romance novels! Although, theoretically, you could use just about any book (like, maybe, that worn-out old copy of Prisoner of Azkaban you have lying around that you’re just too emotionally attached to, but can’t read anymore because it’s falling apart). I decided to use romance novels for this project because I have a lot. I have a lot because of reasons.
For this craft you will need:
- a romance novel to sacrifice to
- pretty paper (I used some from a pack of origami paper Unique Geek and I acquired at Michaels, but you can use almost any patterned paper that makes you happy)
- graph paper
- stiff but thin cardboard (I used a book cover cannibalized from a novel I found particularly bad and loathsome, but you can use a cereal box or anything that makes you happy really)
- Exacto knife or similar object that is sharp, pointy, and can cut stuff.
- glue stick (I don’t recommend superglue, hot glue or wet glue because you want this to be as flat as possible, and all of those would distort the paper)
- some pens
You should also make sure you are working in a well lit place, have plenty of space, and something to cut stuff on – like perhaps a cutting board, cutting mat, or the bodies of your fallen enemies. However, I recommend a flat surface, and blood stains aren’t that romantic… unless you’re one of those people.
1. Fold graph paper in half. Draw half the outline of what you want your bookmark to look like, with the middle ending on the folded line. Try to make it even-ish.
2. Cut out the shape with exacto knife and unfold. This is now your template for the bookmark, and we advise that you follow it. Or don’t. It’s your funeral.
3. Line up the edge of the template with the edge of the cardboard. This means less cutting for you. For easier cutting, tape down the template over the cardboard – we’re just going to cover it up so no need to worry about the surface. Cute kitty tape optional.
4. Cut with exacto knife, following the edge of the bookmark. Don’t worry if it is uneven; you can trim it later.
(At this point you should have something that kind of, sort of, maybe looks like this. Or whatever shape you picked, really. If, however, you picked a rectangle and now have a piece of cardboard shaped like Chthulhu, we have a serious problem in the house. And with your exacto knife. And by problem we mean apocalypse.)
5. Pick the page you want to use; tear it out of the novel carefully. Breaking the spine helps if it is a softcover. If it is a hardcover, use the exacto knife along the inner edge very lightly. For bonus points, we recommend using a page that contains words like “throbbing member” and “moist”. We won’t lie, it’s not for science; we just think it’s funny.
6. Use the template to cut out a bookmark-shaped piece from the book page you’ve torn out. Do the same with the patterned paper you picked out to complement it.
7. Put glue on one side of the paper, taking care to cover the edges – this is so that they do not peel off from use. Stick it onto one side of the bookmark. Don’t worry if it is not quite the same shape; you can trim it down later. Just make sure it lies flat and that there are no air bubbles or peeling edges.
8. Put the book page on one side of the bookmark, and the patterned paper on the other side of the bookmark. You should have something that looks like that at this point.
9. Take a leftover piece of the page (or a new one if you already used it all up). Fold it in half and draw half-hearts on it. Make sure the hearts are on the side with the fold, not the side with the edge. Also take care to make them small enough to fit on the bookmark.
10. Cut out the half-hearts and unfold; you now have pretty page hearts.
11. Take a moment to admire your pretty hearts.
12. Do the same with leftovers of the pretty paper. Admire your heart-making abilities because you are a creative type and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Like, seriously. Let your inner hipster loose. Take some macro shots of your hearts and instagram them. Don’t forget the bokeh filters. Those are a crucial part of the process.
13. Take your hearts and your marker, and put a soft outline around each of them. Just swipe the marker around the edge, and let the ink soak into the book page. Since the paper used for romance novels is usually thick and cheap, it will soak in very quickly and look kind of cool. It also helps the hearts to stand out when we go on to the next step.
14. GLUE! Get that little heart covered in glue on one side. Make sure the glue covers the edges of the heart, so it won’t come off easily.
15. Find the place you wanna put it and stick it
in on. I recommend putting book page hearts on the pretty paper side of the bookmark, and the pretty paper hearts on the book page side of the bookmark, for a cool contrast.
16. Do the same with the pretty paper hearts on the other side.
17. Trim the edges that look uneven, and clean up the bookmark a bit. Glue down anything that isn’t gluey and stuck to where it should be stuck to.
18. Take a marker and use it to outline the edges of the bookmark (and conveniently cover any place where you may have messed up). Don’t worry if it slips like mine did – in the words of Bob Ross, there are no such things as mistakes, just happy accidents. Have a few happy accidents. It’s fine. There is no bookmark police to judge you. I ended up making a bunch of black swooshes around the edge on both sides; it’s not a mistake, it’s art.
19. Cut a small hole in the top of the bookmark (or use a hole punch, you clever girl). String a ribbon through it. I used some old silk ribbon I got at a garage sale; it was new but wound very tightly around a piece of cardboard for probably years. I should have ironed it but I have no doubt that the crease will straighten out over time (plus I am lazy).
20. Admire your handiwork because you’ve just made a bookmark and you intend to use it. Caw caw.
I also have a shorter bookmark I made with different paper from the same paper pack. You don’t have to only use hearts; you can make stripes, or flowers, or daleks if you are feeling particularly talented. I recommend finding questionable words and phrases, and making them the main feature of your bookmarks. Cause, reasons.
And, finally… Here’s a surprise for those of you who made it this far into the post. We’re gonna have a small giveaway. One lucky commenter will receive a pair of handmade bookmarks, in their choice of colors. All you have to do is comment with the colors you want your bookmarks to be, and your email address. Because of boring reasons, this giveaway is only open to people who reside in the continental 48 states (that is, not Hawaii, Alaska or Canada. Sorry) and only to those who have not won a giveaway with us before. A winner will be selected randomly on Friday and revealed in the Friday post; we will get in touch with the winner via email as well (which is why I’m asking for an email address in the comments, seeeee?).
Leave us a comment below to enter!
Update: Winners are commenters Nikk and Nasra, chosen via a Random.org drawing. Here’s a few preview shots of what they will receive: