I’m not much of a crafter. I went through a phase probably 15 years too young, when I was in college, and I kept a full-to-capacity storage bin of acrylic paints, brushes, hot glue sticks, stamps, scrapbook paper and other supplies in my bedroom closet. But sometime after graduation, I decided those things weren’t really me anymore. My last crafting effort was creating tea-stained mats for photos that hung in my bedroom during grad school—10 years ago.
But sometimes a project will catch my eye and I’ll wish its creation was within my skill set. That’s certainly been the case with wreaths made of book pages. I’m a sucker for anything covered in the written word; even my bedside lamp’s shade is decorated with lettering. And as a writer and aspiring author, books are particularly precious.
So when my friend Christina offered to teach another friend, Amy, and I how to create such wreaths, I was excited, if a bit skeptical about how mine would turn out. I know Christina’s far more versed in such projects (thus the offer!), and so I was eager for her instruction. The worst case scenario: We would walk away with so-so projects after a night of laughter and conversation.
Before we got together, Christina asked us to decide what kind of wreaths we wanted to make. (It hadn’t occurred to me that there would be so many choices, but Google “book page wreaths” and you’ll find an abundance of ideas.) I picked out a rolled-page wreath, sent Christina the picture and marked the date on my calendar. I literally didn’t give any more thought to how the project would come together.
Last night we gathered at Amy’s home for wine and wreath making. Christina mentioned that she had wanted to bring her husband’s outdated AP Stylebook for me, but he wouldn’t allow it. I just happened to have my 2003 edition in my car; although it’s out of date and I have two newer copies, I hadn’t been able to part with it. I dashed out into the chilly rain, retrieved the book from my trunk and, equipped with an X-ACTO knife, began slicing the pages free from their spiral binding. I read amusing or unexpected entries aloud as Amy began ripping and then rolling pages from books and Christina rolled my AP pages into small scrolls.
After we had accumulated enough scrolls, Christina covered the wire base of my wreath in pages to ensure it wouldn’t distract from the look. She then began hot gluing the scrolls to the frame. The bottom layer was comprised of rolled pages. We then topped it with two more layers of strategically haphazard pages, each tied with a piece of twine.
Meanwhile, Amy created a base layer of cylindrical scrolls and then topped those with pages rolled into a more conical shape. The finished effect was akin to a star burst, and we discussed the variety of items that could be glued to the center (ornaments, baubles, a miniature book).
Tonight I made my first visit to Birmingham’s new Paper Source and spent more on ribbon with which to hang the wreath than I did on supplies to create it. But that’s really not the point; the best part of this project was conversation with two women who I enjoy and respect.
Today’s subject line comes from Arcade Fire’s “Normal Person.” The song has nothing to do with wreath making, I’ve just been listening to their new album “Reflektor” a lot lately.