DIYdiy projects

diy project: brenna’s book page fabric

by Brenna

I love the look of old book pages. The toasty brown edges and pale centers of the pages pair perfectly with the stark black type. Simple design with such a vintage feel, but so fragile and brittle. To fix their fragility, I coated the paper with silicone. This technique preserves the fragile pages, making them flexible, waterproof and durable with a feel similar to oilcloth. With a little basic sewing, these plasticized pages are turned into useful durable items with a vintage appeal. Since I am constantly writing notes and ideas, I made a tiny envelope to hold note cards and a small book to jot ideas. Last, I made a cleanable writing pad for under our computer with a fall inspired elbow-patch mouse pad. Enjoy! – Brenna, paper & ink

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • paper of choice (old book pages, decorative paper, newspaper, etc.)
  • household silicone sealer (must say “silicone” on the package)
  • scrap piece of cardboard to use as a small spreader
  • scrap newspaper to protect work surface
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • spray adhesive
  • scrap fabric
  • large piece of paper (at least 15 x 21)
  • piece of heavy poster board or chipboard with dimensions larger than above


For all projects except writing pad:

1. Lay out the paper to be coated atop scrap newspaper.

2. Squeeze out a heavy line of silicone all the way across the top of the paper.

3. Using the scrap piece of cardboard, squeegee the silicone down the paper spreading a thin layer of silicone over the paper. Let the silicone dry.

For the tiny notebook:

1. Cut a 6 ¼ x 5 ¼ inch piece of coated paper. Fold in half.

2. Insert 7–10 3 x 5 inch note cards or scrap paper into the fold.

3. Sew down the spine of the notebook to secure the pages.

4. Sew a loop of coated paper to the open side for a pencil holder.

For the envelope:

1. Cut a 5 ½ x 8 inch piece of coated paper. Make a fold 3 inches up across the short length of the paper. Repeat above the previous fold.

2. The short third of the paper is the flap of the envelope. Cut it into a soft triangle shape.

3. Starting on one side of the envelope, sew the side closed. Continue to sew along the edge of the flap and down the other side to close. This envelope holds 3 x 5 notecards.

For the writing pad:

1. Apply spray adhesive to the uncoated pages and stick them to the large piece of paper (mine measures 15 x 21). Overlap the pages slightly.

2. Sew over the edges of the pages and around the entire large piece of paper. I left some loose threads for visual interest.

3. Using the same coating method as above, coat the entire large piece of sewn pages with silicone and allow to dry.

3. If you are using this under a computer, cut a piece of scrap fabric about 6 x 6 for your mouse. I rounded the corners of the square using the edge of a glass as a template. Apply spray adhesive to the fabric and stick to the coated paper where you would like your mouse to live. Sew around the edges of the fabric to secure the fabric to the paper.

4. Apply spray adhesive to the chipboard and adhere the large sewn and coated paper piece to the chipboard.

5. Trim the edges of chipboard.


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  • ♥♥♥ this! I have a book in japenese/chinese that this will work perfect for! I bought it for origami but this is soooo much better!

  • Love this idea…I have an old cookbook from my Italian grandmother and wanted to share with my cousins, but didn’t want to give up the cookbook. I’m going to make 39 copies of one of the pages where she made notations in the margin in Italian, and make the envelope (39 of them) to share with my cousins. I’m hoping to copy the page 39 times and use a copy instead of the actual book page…the book is in bad shape and I don’t want to tear it apart.

  • For those looking to save the paper in its current stage: Some 20 years ago I cut up a newspaper into 2 inch squares. I left one square as the control and in turn soaked each of the others in different home preservatives as recommended by whomever, from milk to hair sprays . Then I put all out in the sun all day to yellow as they in fact did. The one soaked in Borax dissolved in water to this day looks new. I did not have milk of magnesia on hand that day but I have heard that mixing that with club soda is a good preservative. I do not know if they would undo the ravages of time but the Borax seemed to stop further action. Try your own experiments using solutions with a base rather than an acid, see what works for your project. If you don’t like the smell of silicone perhaps there is another glue you can tolerate.

  • The silicone I used never dried, either. It was very sticky. Anyone have any ideas? Did you use a certain brand?

    • Silicone that is to old will not dry. Learned this the hard way sealing our slider door, what a mess it was to clean up.
      When in doubt buy new.

  • I gave this a try today and was impressed that the silicone does basically create a plastic coating on the paper, but I had serious difficulties creating a smooth surface.. Not sure if anyone has any tools they recommend? I am covering a large surface area. I am going to be shooting on this surface as well and was disappointed how shiny the silicone dries but maybe I’ll try coating it in talcum as others have!

  • I like the valuable info you provide on your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and test
    once more here frequently. I’m moderately certain I’ll be told many new stuff
    proper here! Good luck for the next!

  • Hi, I use pva to make paperfabric . . . it is like laminating papers in glue which then hardens . . .I am sure that process would work with this too . . . i.e.layer up the pva glue as it dries

  • Can you write on top of this ? I am wanting to make a book cover for a Bible – I am wondering if this will help paper be more durable – but would like to be able to doodle on it. Thanks

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