Paper Book Art

I work in the printing industry and for my job we collect and store paper sample books from the different vendors for our sample library. These are books with small sheets of all available papers for reference. Over the years we end up with expired books or multiple copies of the same ones.

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We were moving desks at our company, and weren’t going to have as much storage, so I was cleaning out our paper book library and simplifying it down to one copy of each and only current books.

This left me with a huge pile of books that would be recycled or otherwise destroyed. I couldn’t bear the thought of all of this beautiful paper going to waste. So I tore out all of the sample sheets and took them home, with no plan for what I would do with them.

I thought I could use them for small gift tags or other little projects.

One day I remembered an art gallery we had been to. There was a piece there that really spoke to me. It was made of hundreds of little squares of paper. So I knew what I had to do…

I purchased a 1” x 1” square hole punch, a canvas and Modge Podge and went to town.

(This isn’t the one I bought, but similar enough to get the idea.)

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It probably took me about 2 weeks to punch out all of the squares, doing it in small stints when I had extra time. I sorted the papers by color, placing the squares into individual plastic containers to keep them separated until I was ready to start gluing.

2012-09-29 20.58.23Now, my original plan, and typical style would have been to do straight lines in a rainbow pattern, but I thought I would break my mold a little bit. So instead, I drew an abstract shape on the canvas as my guide.

Instead of rainbow order, I marked the order to start in the center and worked my way outward, alternating sides.

To lay down the squares, I started at the outside edges and worked my way in. I wanted the papers to lay on top of one another and finish with paper on top in the center. I made sure to lay the papers over the edges so that it would go all the way to the edge and simply cut off the excess once it was dry.

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I placed Modge Podge down in a small area first, then layered down the paper squares, making sure to overlap and not have any canvas show through. I also tried to rotate the papers so all the touching papers were different. Once the papers were down, I went over them again with Modge Podge to seal them into the piece.

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Once the piece was complete and dry I took it to work to hang in my office. However, since we moved back into an open space, the piece is now safely stored in my closet at home.

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I’m not a huge fan of the completed piece, I would have preferred the more rigid striped pattern, but a true artist is never satisfied with their work, right?

This piece is available for sale if interested. It is available in my ETSY store.

I also have tons of squares left over, so I could do a commissioned piece as well. Just let me know.

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