For some reason, my husband loves hollowed out books. I had been promising to make him one for forever, and I finally got around to it! I love it when those back-burner crafts get done!
This is a rather time consuming craft, for what it is. It took me the better part of two hours without drying time. With drying time, I'd say about six or seven hours. It also uses a sharp blade, so be careful!!
I'd say a beginner (with patience) could do this!
For this project you will need:
A sponge brush
Before we even get started, let me tell you a few pointers to make this a lot easier for you. Use a brand new blade! It will help you immensely! Of course, the thinner the book, the less time it will take, but the smaller the compartment will be. And lastly, do not skimp on the Modge Podge! If it takes three coats instead of two, then give the book three coats! Patience will pay off greatly in the end for this project both in quality and how long this lasts. That being said, my husband has been using this book for about two months with no problems at all! So I'd say, yes you can give this as a wonderful and unique gift.
The hubs has an obsession with old books as well, so of course I went on eBay and found a set seven of these books for less than $10. I know, some people will be screaming obscenities at me for cutting up a book. Believe it or not, I'm a huge book reader. But I wouldn't read these books, and I figure I'm saving them from a much worse life than being turned into a hollowed out amazingly awesome Shawshank Redemption-esque book. Plus, I have SEVEN copies.
Now let's all breathe, and continue!
You'll want to preserve your cover and save it from the stickiness of your Modge Podge, so the first step is to cover your cover in plastic wrap! Open the book to the covers, and tuck in your plastic wrap all the way to the binding. The wrap sticking to itself was enough for me to keep the wrap in place, but if you need a little more security, feel free to use a few pieces of tape on the plastic. Just be careful not to catch the book pages!
Once your cover is safe and sound behind it's protective barrier, it's time to break out the Modge Podge. Using your sponge brush, saturate the pages (while the cover is closed!). Only get the edges of the pages, do not open the book and saturate the inside! We need that part to stay soft!
This is the difficult part. Place your book underneath something heavy and walk away! Let it dry! This will take a few hours, my first coat took about an hour and a half. I just used old college textbooks to weigh mine down (I knew I had been keeping those for something!) When you check on it, and it is dry, you can remove the weight from the book and open the cover. Be sure all of your pages are stuck together! If they aren't, repeat the Modge Podge process over and over until they are. I recommend at least two coats for durability!
Once your pages are all stuck together, it's time to start hollowing out your book. I measured a one inch border around my book, and cut a piece of cardboard to that size (see the picture for what I mean... the cardboard is two inches smaller on the width and length than the book is!). I traced around the cardboard onto the page of the book. This will be your guidelines for cutting out the pages.
Now it's time to start slicing away. Only try to do a few pages at a time, it will be easier on your hands and you have to push a lot less. Your lines will also come out cleaner. Once you have a good indent started, you can start making "X" shapes through the pages after you cut the border around them and it makes it a lot easier to pull out pages. This took me an entire Disney movie to do, but at least the kids were entertained.
Ta-da! A hollowed book! It doesn't have to be perfect, we are going to line it with felt, afterall. This is such a messy project, I really wish I had a trash bag there. But, it was worth it. You can see how the first cover page in my book decided to come up after a while of cutting, but that's ok. A little Modge Podge, some time to dry, and it stuck down just fine. Be sure to do all the re-Modge-Podging before you line the book.
I decided to go almost all the way down through the book pages, but not all the way. This way, I didn't take a risk of damaging the back cover on accident. All that time and work, it would be a shame to have to scrap a project because I poked a hole through the back cover.
To line the book, I just used a cheap 25 cent sheet of felt I picked up at my local hobby store. I measure how deep the book was carved out, and added twice that measurement to the cardboard cutout I used to measure how large to cut the hole in the book. Then I cut that measurement out of the felt! For instance, if your cardboard template was 6x4 inches, and the hole in your book is 1" deep, then your felt you cut out should be 8x6 inches!
Snip the corners of your felt diagonally toward the middle on each corner. If you are cutting something off you are doing it wrong! All you have to do is cut a slit on each corner! This is so there is no bunching of fabric when you glue it in. Using hot glue, glue the felt (centered well!) into the book, then glue on each side. Lastly, glue each corner in, and overlap the fabric where you need to to get it nice and smooth looking.
Let it dry, and voila! Your own hollowed out book to hide all your goodies in! I really do suggest, if you are planning on using this to actually hide things, use a book you would actually have on your bookshelf. Nothing says "look at me" like a huge book on Psychology on your manga-filled shelf!
Have fun and happy crafting!