Recycle a paperback book and make a unique pumpkin decoration for Halloween.
This is an easy recycling project that looks superb if you are decorating in a black and white theme; it’s also equally effective as a stand-alone feature or as part of a Halloween centerpiece or table display.
By Jane Lake
I’ve been wanting to make one of these for a while and happened to have a paperback book that was so well worn that it wouldn’t have been accepted back at the thrift store where I bought it.
I have an aversion for putting books in the recycle bin if there are other possible uses – so this is what happened next.
What You Need:
This is a very short list:
You’ll need a paperback book of about 300 to 400 pages. My book was over 600 pages so you can use longer books if you cut them down like I did. More on that in a minute.
You’ll also need:
» » a small amount of black paper or black felt to make the facial features
» » a dried pumpkin stem or a short stick from the garden
» » tacky or white glue
» » scissors
FOLD PAGES IN HALF THEN FOLD EACH CORNER
I have seen similar paperback pumpkins made very simply, by just folding down the top corner of each page and leaving the bottom flat. This isn’t a bad idea if you’re pushed for time or you want to make multiple pumpkins in a hurry. Still, because I made this Paperback Book Snowman a few years ago, I knew you could get a more rounded shape by folding both the top and the bottom corners of each page.
Open your book and begin by folding the first page in half, so the edge of the page is close to the book spine.
Now fold down the top corner in a triangle, with one edge of the triangle against the spine.
Fold up the bottom right corner, but leave at least a half inch margin near the spine. This will create a flat area at the base of the pumpkin and allow it to stand upright.
A good way to fold each of the bottom corners in precisely the same way is to decide on a line of print that you will line up with the top edge of the corner. My bottom corners were folded up so that the top edge of the triangle came up to the sixth line of print.
This was a quick visual marker that made sure each corner was the same size, allowing a nice margin along the spine and ensuring that each bottom corner was the same size .
REMOVE EXCESS PAGES
You can see from my photo, taken from the top, that about three-quarters of the way through my book, it became more difficult to fold the corners and it was obvious that not all the pages were going to fit into the pumpkin shape. If your book isn’t as long, this might not happen. But if this is the same for you, carefully remove any excess pages by pulling them away from the spine binding.
Keep folding pages until you think you’ve done enough to make a nice, big, fat pumpkin shape. Remove any pages that aren’t needed, leaving behind the front and back covers.
CUT THE COVERS
Next step is to cut down both the front and the back cover so they are just slightly smaller than the rest of the pumpkin shape. Unfold pages that are adjacent to the front and the back covers and glue the covers inside these pages. Then glue both ends of the book together so that it fans out to the completed pumpkin shape. This is where you get to stand back and admire your fantastic work.
ADD THE FACE
But hold on – we’re not quite done. Grab the scissors and a scrap of black paper or felt and cut out Jack O’Lantern eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Glue them in place.
FINALLY, ADD THE STEM
Last, but not least, apply tacky glue to a dried pumpkin stem and set it on top of your paperback pumpkin. (You did save those terrific gnarled pumpkin stems from last year, didn’t you? I did, but I confess this was only because I bought a pumpkin with an awesome stem which promptly fell off when I got home. I was peeved. And no way was I going to waste it. I knew it would come in useful someday. And it just did.)
If you don’t have a pumpkin stem, step out in the garden and harvest an interesting branch that you can trim down or make one from a twisted piece of brown paper glued into shape.
Display your new paperback book pumpkin wherever its smile will make you smile. Done!