Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thrift Store Home Project: Children's Book Illustrations as Wall Art

I could happily write a series of thrift store home projects, or a whole blog of them if I really got down to it. My husband and I make a hobby of decorating and redecorating our home.  It's easy to do when you're constantly compelled to buy beautiful things and need a place to put them.  Given that our purchases cost us so little, we donate and collect from thrift stores on a steady cycle, all the while rearranging and redecorating at home.  One of my favorite things to collect is old books, especially old children's books...always with the thought that I may use them for an art project some day.  This week we did just that!

I am especially loving these illustrated English nursery rhyme books by Kate Greenaway.  Steve actually found these in a garbage pile at an elementary school!   I love the balance between playfulness and romanticism and sophistication in these books.  The aesthetic of her drawings blends right in with a lot of the things we currently have displayed on our walls and shelves.

For this week's framed illustration project, we used many recycled frames that we collected from free bins and thrift stores over time.  Once we had a proper amount of frames to create several groupings of art, we began poring through our collected children's books to find our favorites.  We took most of the pictures from the Greenaway books for this grouping below. 

We also grouped together some darker images by James Daugherty, Maurice Sendak and Aubrey Beardsley (who, by the way, is not creating work for children in most cases).  These drawings were grouped with other similar pieces from books such as the Wind in the Willows and a Children's Illustrated Dictionary.

When you are shopping for frames, consider buying a piece of framed art just for the frame.  Often an undesirable wall hanging is priced super cheap though it's frame may be perfect for your project.

Did you have a favorite book as a child with images that come to mind?  You will likely be able to find a copy of the book, used and dirt cheap, through an online bookseller.  I have multiple copies of Little Bear, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, so I feel free to slice one up when I have a use for it.

Remove individual pages from a book with an exacto knife, then trim all edges evenly with a sliding or rotary paper cutter.

Some of the frames that we had collected came with matting that we could reuse.   I also used black card stock and white onion paper for backing.  The onion paper is actually vintage typewriter paper.  I bought a big box of it years ago and I use it very sparingly (hoping it'll last my lifetime!).  Double stick tape also comes in very handy when matting and framing.

Be prepared with a staple gun or some picture hangers to attach to your frames.  Often they are not equipped with a hanging device that suits the orientation at which you want to hang the frame (vertical/horizontal).

To hang collages on the wall of many little framed pieces, trace each frame onto a sheet of paper and cut the paper to size.  Using a little piece of tape, loosely attach the papers to the wall in configuration, moving things around as desired, until you've got the arrangement planned to your liking.  Leave the papers up and replace them with the art pieces one at a time.  Perfection!


1 comment:

  1. What a cool idea! I've been known to troll through thrift stores too... You never know what treasure you will find. Have a great week Hannah!


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