By Elvira Sanchez Kisser, Woodburn Public Library
A creative way to use old books heading to sights unknown is to create a decorative garden planter out of them. I was inspired by garden projects found on Pintrest and found some great instructions at http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/diy-book-planters-145212.
Supplies you will need: books (the older the better. If the paper is already brittle and yellow, it cuts much easier than newer books), potting soil (small bag), succulent plants (about 1-2 per teen), glue, wax paper or plastic bags, x-acto knives, rulers, pencils.
The plants are the costliest part of the project, but you may be able to get a deal from a nursery or even buying them at a mainstream home improvement place will run you about $1 a plant. You can save by having each teen use only one to two succulents.
- Please caution the teens to be careful working with x-acto knives for cutting the holes out. Keeping this in mind, here are some tips for creating successful book planters without the sight of blood.
- First place a generous amount of glue on the spines and edges of the book. Using glue bottles works great with a sponge or regular brush to spread the glue.
- Next, let them dry or use a hair dryer to speed the drying process.
- A good solution to keeping the limbs on your teens is to make them score a fairly small square and check them. Teens are very ambitious and like to try and cut out the largest square possible, not realizing this will make their project take longer and create a weaker container for their plants.
- Then have them cut the holes using a ruler as a guide while standing. You will get lots of moans from this instruction, because they feel it’s harder and they love to sit. Having them stand they can see what they are doing better, exert even pressure in cutting and the using the ruler prevents slippage of the knife while creating a barrier between said edge and their fingers.
- After the dangerous part is done and they have pulled all the inside sheets out of the book, have them line the hole with wax paper or a small plastic bag.
- Once lined, add the plants and then fill the space with extra potting soil. Trim the wax paper and spray with a little bit of water.
If you have a beautifully crafted title page, I suggest cutting the title page out and gluing to the garden facing page. Remember, smaller is better and safer. The teens will accomplish the garden in the time allotted and with all fingers in tact.