I took a road trip down to some friends’ wedding a few months ago. On the way there (we drove a camper), I had a project— tearing apart a few paperback books and turning them into a book page garland for the wedding! By the time I had it long enough, I had sections hanging from cabinets and the microwave, and whenever we opened the windows, my garland-sections would twist and wave in the wind (sometimes coming apart). They were terribly in the way, but hey. We got them to the wedding.
Once at the church I tied all the sections together and we got this:
I even had leftover garland-sections to make a wreath.
Looking through the pictures, I realized just how many decorations I made or provided for this wedding. I designed the invitations and programs, brought the painted bottles from another wedding (which we used to hold the bridesmaid’s bouquets of baby’s breath before and after the ceremony) and made the cake topper. It was a book-themed wedding, and it was lovely. (click the photos to enlarge)
The garland was fun to make. I know it’s viewed as sacrilege to tear up a book, but honestly, I’m OK with it as long as it’s a easy-to-find book that’s not particularly expensive or rare. I used some books that I was planning on consigning. It would have been more romantic to have used something along the lines of poetry or a favorite book of the couple’s, but I’m a bit too thrifty to spend money on a book that is going to be taken apart. There was a weird satisfaction in ripping off covers and tearing out pages. It was a constructive sort of destructiveness, you know. But it’s not really as gruesome as people might think. If you’re really nervous about destroying a book, go buy a trashed pocket paperback from the thrift store.
DIY: Book page garland
-cream or white twine
-four or five unwanted or carefully selected books (I’m not sure how many I used for the double-door of the church. I didn’t think to write down how many books I ended up using)
After you get over the initial pain of tearing off the cover (don’t worry, it’s natural to feel an aversion to it), start tearing out all the pages until you have a neat pile of loose leaves. You can keep them whole (like I did) or cut them in half (to create a smaller, lacier garland– I will do this next time).
Take a leaf and start pinching the center, like an accordion. Only fold the pleats in the very middle. The rest of the page on either side should only be gently bending back and forth.
Squish the center. The goal here is to have it crumpled and pliable, so the string will have something to hang onto.
Now, wrap the string around the center– starting below the ‘bow’ of paper, and ending up straight, like so:
Pull the string tight.
Now repeat with another page, and this time when you are ready to wrap the string, lay this page-bow opposite the direction of the page-bow below, forming a sort of X.
After a bit you’ll end up with the beginnings of your garland!
So there you have it. Once you have it the desired length (since I couldn’t measure the door ahead of time I had to guesstimate), wind the string around the end few page-bows to keep them from untwisting, tie and cut it, and you’re finished.
I learned how to do this by examining a similar garland at a different friend’s wedding the month before. Her wedding was indoors, with low lighting and white Christmas lights. The book-page banner looked magical.
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