After an appointment yesterday morning I found a few spare minutes to pop into my favorite home decor stores. One of them being Restoration Hardware. I couldn’t help but notice all the vintage books they use in their styling. They fill jars and wooden bowls and create huge stacks on bookshelves and side tables. And they are totally lovely. But have you really stopped to consider how much it costs to use vintage books in big stacks and piles? If you buy them from RH, you might be spending your kid’s college fund. And at most vintage markets a good old book (with little value on the antique book market) will run you anywhere from about $6-12. More for bigger books. Now you need how many to fill that basket? Yikes!
I found these old Readers Digest books at a thrift store. I love the Readers Digest books for their colorful covers. They are great to use for decorating on their own. And these are a pretty easy and cheap find. I paid $1.00 a book but if I searched more, I’m sure I could get them for even less at a garage or estate sale. I saved the books that had the pretty covers but I was left with books whose covers just aren’t that great.So it was time to bust out the Exacto knife and cut those covers off. Don’t worry, no book covers were harmed in this project. They are intact and ready to be crafted into something else down the road.
Here comes the fun part! You’re going to need tea bags, lots and lots of tea bags. Brew up some really strong tea. I used about 10 tea bags per every 4 cups of water and I ended up making a few batches since I aged so many books. I also just left the tea bags in the bowl. For some of the books I just piled the used tea bags on top to stain the top pages.
Luckily, California living allowed me to just put all the books on my back steps to dry. But if you are snowed in, you could place these on a drying rack for a few days. Or if you have a front loading dryer that has a shoe drying rack, you can place the books on that and run the dryer for a bit. You want your pages to get dried out and wrinkly. The older looking, the better.
When they were dry, I stacked my books and wrapped them in twine. But you can also roll them up to put in jars.