Crafty Romance

I’m always fascinated by what folks do with romance novel covers on Etsy. If you have a giant pile of romances laying about the house (like sloths!) and you don’t know what to do with them (and really, who does know what to do with slothful romances?) here’s some Etsy-approved ideas for craftmaking.

Only the best covers can become pendants. But if it’s a woman’s backside, is it really gay? And if a gay tree falls in the woods, is there wood?

You can also make greetings cards out of them, though it’s always better if you (ahem) refrain from referring to them as “sleazy romance novels.” Sleazy. Wow. Haven’t heard that one deployed in awhile.

But if you’ve got a ton, and I mean a TON of romances you want to display and not nearly enough bookshelves to lovingly place each one face-out on the shelf for maximum admiration, how about…furniture?

Get your Mod Podge and Get Crazy: side tables and coffee tables everywhere are absolutely screaming for this treatment.

I have to say, that’s kind of awesome and I’d totally podge the dickens out of a bedstand with romance covers—but not as a coffee table. All the cardstock edges would make the surface uneven, and what if there’s a glass of wine on the coffee table?

So, what crafty things have you seen done or wish you could do with books that you’re not going to read but have wonderful cover art?

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  1. 1

    I love the tables and imagine that the sealant on top would make the top fairly even. So cool what people think to do with book covers!

  2. 2
    AgTigress says:

    All the cardstock edges would make the surface uneven, and what if there’s a glass of wine on the coffee table?

    Not when they are covered with multiple layers of polyurethan varnish, as we are told they are.  That would smooth out the irregularities nicely.  Of course there will be a glass of wine on the coffee-table, but I don’t think it will fall over.  The owner of the coffee-table might, though.
    And I don’t see why the gay stories shouldn’t be gay in the modern sense, if the reader happened to be female…

  3. 3
    AgTigress says:

    ‘Polyurethane’.  Don’t know what happened to the final ‘e’.

  4. 4
    Beki says:

    I have a sister-in-law who is educated beyond all reason who refers to romance novels as sleazy.  Or sometimes as porn.  Which is annoying since she *knows* I write and long to be published in romance. 

    The funny thing is, if it were any other type of covers, she’d do these projects in a heartbeat!

  5. 5
    Andee says:

    I love the thought of doing some kind of craft with romance novel covers.  As a wedding planner, I’m always looking for great themes.  They would make great table identifications for your reception…you could incorporate them into wedding scrapbooks and all kinds of wedding or bridal shower decor.

  6. 6
    Miranda says:

    I’ve seen some links to birdhouses made with old books… but my favorite is to use them as art around the house, framed up real nice and easy to interchange for a different tone.

  7. 7
    AgTigress says:

    I have a sister-in-law who is educated beyond all reason who refers to romance novels as sleazy.  Or sometimes as porn.

    Hmm.  She may be ‘educated beyond all reason’, but she is clearly not at all scholarly in her correct and precise use of language.  And her manners evidently need some work, too, if she is casually insulting you with those incorrectly-defined adjectives for romance novels.  Just shows that education doesn’t always ‘take’.

  8. 8
    Susan says:

    But if it’s a woman’s backside, is it really gay?

    It can be lesbian!

  9. 9
    Mary Lamb says:

    These are great!  Can’t wait to get a house of my own with a room of my own and decorate with the wonderful coffee tables and end tables!

  10. 10
    Silver James says:

    I’ve seen handbags made with covers. They were awesome! I thought about contracting the designer to make me one with my cover but then saw the price. Ouch. Still very cool! Maybe I should figure out how to be crafty and make my own.

  11. 11
    Lauren D says:

    Oh man, I have 3-4 huge storage bins literally stuffed full of cheesetastic clinch covers I started collecting a few years ago to make purses out of. I never got the sewing machine I needed to do it, and I don’t really want to make purses anymore anyways. So now I have hundreds of mullets and rainbows and rearing stallions and no clue what to do with them. I do have a bedside table in desperate need of some jazzing up though, so I think I found my new summer project!

  12. 12
    Dawn says:

    I love the tables. I think I’m going to try making one of those for my writing room.

  13. 13
    Ellie says:

    If you guys want to do the tables…the tables listed in the etsy sale can be found at walmart.  I know that the end table is less than 20.00 (because I have the same one on my sun porch), but I’m sure that round ones can be found at hobby lobby or michael’s.  I think they’d make a really cute side table for a reading area/nook/room.

  14. 14
    Kristina says:

    Ohhhh I have the most boring little side table at home that is just screaming for some quality time with me and a bottle of Mod Podge.  Of which I have plenty along with some new sponge brushes.  YES!!  My long weekend is starting to look very good.

  15. 15

    In the UK, a new outlet has opened, the Literary Gift Company. I want that literary duck.

  16. 16
    Ros says:

    Lynne, thanks for the link!  That’s all my Christmas and birthday presents sorted for the next year or two. 

    And I totally want heart-shaped confetti from M&B novels if ever I get married!!

  17. 17
    RebeccaJ says:

    Ahhh, memories.  For some reason, my mother used to flip out BIG TIME if she ever caught us reading those comic book romances. Makes me laugh to this day because I have idea why they bugged her so much. I understood her motivation for banning Jesus Christ Superstar I got, but this? LOL! Too funny.

  18. 18
    Bibliophile says:

    My current project involves hunting down Barbara Cartland novels with Francis Marshall covers to make into bookmarks. I would love to have a collection of pristine cover art framed and hung like family photos on my walls, and not just romances, but any kind of great cover art. However, since I trade books on BookMooch, I hesitate to tear the covers off any book, so there is a bit of a conflict.

  19. 19
    Sue says:

    OK – I’m showing my age, but when I saw this, I had to suggest laquered lunchboxes – cut out your favorite pictures, glue them onto metal lunchboxes ( if they still make them – kids still have them), and then laquer over your creation – very fashionable ( once upon a time!)

  20. 20
    Tina C. says:

    Bibliophile wrote:

    However, since I trade books on BookMooch, I hesitate to tear the covers off any book, so there is a bit of a conflict.

    You could take the ones you want to a print shop and tell them that you want a copy of the cover, in color, on cardstock, because you don’t want to destroy the book.  If anyone could do that for you, they should be able to.

    Beki said:

    I have a sister-in-law who is educated beyond all reason who refers to romance novels as sleazy.  Or sometimes as porn.  Which is annoying since she *knows* I write and long to be published in romance.

    I’m “educated beyond all reason”, especially considering what I do for a living and how much I get paid to do it, and I would never be so rude as to say that to someone that I didn’t know, let alone a relative, even if I believed it to be true.  (Which, given both my reading tastes and the fact that I’m here, I obviously don’t.)  That she has said that to you once, let alone multiple times, knowing that you write romance, strikes me as passive-aggressively hostile.  Have you ever confronted her on it?

  21. 21

    Omigosh…those pendents are just too adorable for words! I also love the table…I’ve always wanted to post book covers collage on my closet doors. Hmm…I just might pull out swag book covers that I’ve gotten in the past and start the project…we’ll see. *must go rummaging in my closet now*

  22. 22
    Brooks*belle says:

    You know how in WWII they printed maps on the silk lining of aviator jackets?  Well I can TOTALLY see a women’s trench coat lined with fabric printed with a collage of romance novel covers.  Wear only that and a pair of high heels and you’re all set for seduction!  Or just wear it on normal days and feel flirty and naughty. :D

    If only I had the talent and technology!

  23. 23
    Kristin says:

    I have to say, I kind of like those tables.

    And, I love Brooks*belle’s idea.

  24. 24
    Beki says:

    @TinaC—Do I confront her on it?  We argue about it from time to time for sport.  I’m not one to hold back my feelings on the matter.  She’s one of those people who cannot read a book with a plot, but WILL spend weeks plodding through War & Peace to be able to say she did.  I love her as she’s my sister (in-law) but yeah, the passive aggressive thing hits that nail squarely on the head.  (rolls eyes) What else can I do?  one day I’ll be published “in my field” and she will not be.  And I will certainly, in the most ladylike of manners, gloat. 

    I’m eyeballing those tables at Wal-mart now for this project.  Just imagine all the Sweet Valley High book covers done for a kitchy teen room!

  25. 25
    Shaina says:

    i always had this crazy idea of making an “art car” out of pages of old cheesy harlequins. meaning, get a car and then cover it with pages (possibly with awesome sentences highlighted), lacquer over it, get a funky license plate, and show it off! i’m sure the covers could go on the car too…maybe on the rearview mirrors? accents? lol.

    dunno if my dream will ever come true (probably not) but i can sure dream…

    secondary to that, i wanted to do my bedframe in the same fashion, but my parents (who paid for it) said no way. it’s just a plain unfinished wood frame from ikea, just BEGGING for decoration, but alas.

  26. 26
    Miranda says:

    I haven’t done this, but you could scan in the picture, and use a needlework transfer program to make a cross-stitch pattern.

    I’ve taken a couple of pendant making classes using the Amazing Glaze resin. You can do all kinds of collages and even go 3-d with beads or found objects!

  27. 27
    orangehands says:

    This reminds me of the bag they gave out at RWA last year; I love that thing.

    I have a question that I’m sure someone here can answer: Is it legal to sell these items? Because aren’t book covers copyrighted, and can’t you not use someone else’s product on your product and then sell it?

  28. 28
    Kwana says:

    I love the night table idea. Just wonderful. I’d totally do that too.

  29. 29
    Suze says:

    I once watched a decorating competition show, where the decorating teams had to do a room in somebody’s house based on an interview.

    This one team got a couple who LOVED to read, and they had to re-do the sitting room, where the couple kept all their books.

    So they got rid of the tons of shelves stacked with books (so tacky!) and replaced them with less shelving, filled the new shelves with decorating tchotchkes, and—because the couple loved books so much—went and got some “old” leather-bound books from some second hand store, cut off the spines, and glued the spines to the uprights on the shelves.

    That way, they explained, the couple could enjoy the look of books without having them take up all that valuable shelf space.

    I still boggle over that one.  Can you imagine?

  30. 30
    KristieJ says:

    Wow!!!  Those coffee and end tables give me a great idea!!  I have all kinds of cover flats I’ve been collecting and not doing anything with.  I have an old set of end tables and a coffee table that are just sitting in the basement doing nothing really but I’m a pack rat.  I should decoupage them with my cover flats and when I get my ‘library’ back, they would make a perfect accent!!!!!!!

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