The birds are out in full force this Spring. Every morning, I am awakened by a symphony of chirps outside my window. Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of a hummingbird at my azaela bush. Today, I very narrowly avoided an attack by a mama duck that made her nest in the groundcover under my hydrangea bushes. I can't wait to see those baby ducklings making their walk to the water in a few weeks. I'm feeling so inspired by the birds outside that I wanted to bring some indoors!
Don't worry, we aren't getting pet birds. We do have a bird cage in our living room and Todd always asks if we can get a bird, but the answer is always and will always be NO. #SORRYTODD
Instead, I decided to make some quick, five-minute book page art out of a book I picked up awhile back at an estate sale, Birds of America. I'm always on the lookout for books like this at sales and will scan the spines for any nature books that might have paintings or sketches in them - flowers, birds, horses, chickens (YES! I totally scored a super cool chicken book last week). This particular book only set me back $1!
Birds of America did not disappoint and was chockfull of beautiful images of birds. The color plates were made from paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, one of the most prolific American bird artists. If you're into ornithology, you know who he is. His depictions of birds were not only technically accurate, but absolutely gorgeous.
Now, usually when I cut up a book to upcycle it, I start by removing the spine and binding. But, I really loved the written parts of this book and planned to remove less than 10 pages from this 289 page book, so I wanted to keep the binding in place. This is where an exacto knife comes in handy!
I used the middle of the book to help guide the knife for a nice, straight line. I wanted to cut two pages at a time, so I applied moderate pressure to cut through a few pages. My steady hand got a little shaky on a few of the pages, so I straightened them up with a quick slice of the paper cutter. These don't have to be perfect, but you don't want jagged edges.
Now that the pages are out, it's time to "frame" them. Because the book is an odd size, I decided to go with a clipboard instead of having a custom frame made. I see clipboards at Goodwill, garage sales and estate sales all the time and they are usually super cheap - like $.25-$1 each. However, I didn't plan ahead with enough time to hit up all my usual spots and I'm super impatient and wanted the project done ASAP, so I ordered some from Amazon. They don't have that used, vintage feel, but they were about $1 each, so I'm happy.
I really liked how these clipboards have a hanger that pops up if you need it. But, I really wasn't feeling the bright shiny bar with "amazon basics" engraved. So, I took some masking tape and covered it right up!
I was able to do all of these in less than 30 minutes! Honestly, cutting and placing the masking tape over the Amazon logo took the longest. And, as a bonus, most of the pages have another equally beautiful image on the backside. So if you get sick of orioles, you can just flip it over for a purple finch. You better believe that when Halloween comes around, I'm flipping over the raven side. Sorry field sparrow, but you can be on display the other 11 months of the year.
How fun are these eggs? I missed them when I did my first pass through the book and was delighted to find them on my second pass. I take back my previous statement about the tape taking the longest, narrowing down which pages I wanted to use actually wins that prize.
These inexpensive works of art can be displayed in a variety of ways. I originally envisioned hanging these in a cluster on the wall, but after I finished, I think they would be equally cute laying on a coffee table or a desk.
Next time you're out and about and come across a book with beautiful pages, grab it and make some quick art! Or, if you're like me and have an entire basement full of books, I bet you have one just waiting to be displayed.