Making antique French books: Part one


I’ve become fascinated with different ways to create the look of antique French books. This technique  is the first of four I’ve tried and it turned out great. My inspiration was the stacks of bound books at Restoration Hardware.


At a garage sale, I managed to pick up 20 books of Shakespeare’s plays in a couple of different sizes for $2. They worked great  and I like that they are actually literature rather than potboilers. Seems more consistent with the project.

First tear off the covers, making sure you get the spine cover off, too. Tear off the front pages until you get to a page that’s nice looking and has the title or an introduction. Brew some instant coffee (or use the dregs from your expresso machine) and paint coffee on the spine, the front few pages, and the back few pages of each book using a paintbrush. Make the center of the page lighter than the edges. Let them dry and if they aren’t dark enough–brush on more coffee. Pay attention to the shades of tan on the book spines–you want a variety of shades, from light to dark, in each bundle of books.

Take three or four books that match in size and offer the spine colors you want. Drill three holes in each book very near the spine–one near the top of the page, one in the middle, and one at the bottom of the page. Then thread aged string through those holes, tie them off, and cut the ends of the string very close to the knot. Then stack the four books in the order you want them and tie the whole stack in rustic twine. Voila!

If you want, you can even add some calligraphic titles on the spines. In my next post I’ll try something different with hard cover books.


One thought on “Making antique French books: Part one

  1. Pingback: Five popular past posts | Gustav and Gayle

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