human behavior

DIY Brick Bookends

Posted in Crafts by humanb on December 3, 2013

My due date was two days ago, but I’m not complaining since I only just finished my final nursery craft project yesterday: a pair of bookends made from bricks.

Like other craft projects, this one wasn’t original. You can watch a video on how to make brick bookends here and below are a few photos of different projects I found online. Each project has its charm, though the bricks are transformed into books with varying degrees of realism and flair.

example_bookends

The simplest transformations involve hand-written text and hand-drawn lines, and the bricks are obviously not real books. As the script and detail improve, so does the illusion…

example_bookeends2

One Australian guy seems to have made a successful business out of producing brick bookends. The Melbourne-based company, Light Reading, produces brick books with the use of stencils (it seems).

light_reading

Some of the Light Reading creations look more realistic than others.

light_reading4

And some are decidedly more artistic and inspired in their design: proper works of art.

light_reading3

The quality and defects of the brick clearly help shape the end result in the most successful pieces.

light_reading2

But you still always know that they’re bricks somehow.

I’m not sure how much Light Reading charges for its bricks (before shipping) but I doubt any price would entice me to buy something I could make myself. It’s just a brick, after all, though in some instances, gorgeously transformed.

Alas, I decided mine needn’t be gorgeous, hip or inspired for my final nursery project. I’d settle for fun. 🙂

Of course, this project would only make sense to me if I already had the raw materials required to complete it. To my great fortune, my mother-in-law had her front driveway partially re-paved a few years ago.

brick_drive

And had 80-odd pavers left over that sat forgotten behind her car port.

brick_stack

I didn’t bother cleaning the bricks. They were still in almost pristine condition, so had a new look about them which already dictated that I would have a cleaner, neater end-product.

My first step was simply to cover the long edge and short edges that would represent the book ‘pages’ with painter’s tape…

brick_prep

Before painting my ‘book covers’ with acrylic paint…

brick_paint

bricks_prepages

Once the ‘book cover’ was dry, I re-applied tape to paint the ‘pages’.

brick_pages

I asked my husband what children’s book titles he preferred, and he offered Treasure Island. I decided my blue book would make the best Treasure Island – a purely coincidental replication of one of the Light Reading bricks above. For my other two titles, I chose Lord of the Flies (to be in black) and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (to be in green).

Before applying the text along the spines, however, I decided to create thematic symbols for each title. After a quick search for the right clip art, I made simple reverse stencils from index cards.

brick_stencils

After painting a block of gold or silver along the spines, I applied the reverse stencils and repainted over the entire area in the book cover color, leaving only the gold or silver behind the stencil remaining.

brick_stencils2

brick_nolines

With the aid of painter’s tape, I painted simple lines along the spines as well. Only one brick received any special treatment to its front cover though. After applying the larger anchor to the cover of my Treasure Island book, I decided that I wouldn’t attempt to do more to any of the covers. I just couldn’t be bothered.

bricks_no_print

At this stage, I was delighted with my brick books, their degree of realism, the simplicity of the design and the ease of the project. Things got a lot harder, however, when it came to considering the text.

I initially tried to handwrite the text with gold and silver markers and my husband wasn’t impressed. I admit that the results were sub-optimal. That I was writing with the swollen, stiff and painful hands of a pregnant woman post-term didn’t help.

Next, I tried to find an alphabet stencil small enough to paint the text, letter-by-letter, but I couldn’t find anything in the local stores and didn’t want to order anything online and wait for it to ship.

I even tried to create a stencil by printing text on card stock and painstakingly carving the letters out with an Exacto knife. That was a tedious exercise in failure.

I finally had to settle for gold alphabet stickers and found only one kind that could work. I was limited by the font, and the letters could have been slightly smaller, but I’m pretty happy with the result.

complete_flat

I had to settle for the authors’ initials at the top because the letters were too large. The initials at the bottom represent the faux publisher, the first letter of my husband and my surnames.

As I only had gold adhesive letters, I painted them silver for Lord of the Flies with a liquid silver pen.

bricks_complete

Sure, it’s a tight squeeze for the text of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I think this set of bookends achieves what I wanted for the nursery in terms of aesthetics…

brick_complete_pages

And function…

flies_context

One bookend was all that was needed for the windowsill.

flies_context2

And the other two will hold a few books on top of the chest of drawers.

lion_treasure_context

So now my work is done! No more nursery craft projects to complete before the baby is born. Of course, I’m two days over due already, and my doctor won’t induce labor until I’m 12 days overdue.

So if you’re interested in what other craft projects I might complete in future, stay tuned, because I may just need to find something to do over the next week. 😉

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10 Responses

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  1. Light Reading Melbourne said, on February 7, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I love your craftsmanship – your bookends have turned out beautifully!

    • humanb said, on February 7, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Wow. Thanks so much. That means a lot coming from you! Thank you for the inspiration. 😉

  2. MeMe said, on May 17, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I thought it was okay. Didn’t care for the stickers. Would of went for a more “vintage” look. Well, gotta go.

    • humanb said, on June 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      I tried handwriting the titles. It looked horrible. In the hands of a better calligrapher, you’d be right, but the stickers were best in this case. Trust me. It gives an embossed look and actually looks more like “vintage” old fashioned books than handwriting would have.

      • Angela said, on September 10, 2014 at 2:28 pm

        I like what you did! And…I like the stickers. You explained how and why you chose to make the item and it turned out beautiful. Great work! Thanks for giving credit for your inspiration as well.

  3. Anonymous said, on June 13, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Great Project. I way thinking of adding felt on the bottom so the bricks wouldn’t scratch my shelves…

    • humanb said, on June 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Me too, but then you would see the felt if the bricks are ever stacked on their sides. Mine have scratched the shelves already though so I might felt them in the end.

  4. theixiancom said, on July 13, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    These look amazing, thanx for the idea!

    • humanb said, on July 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks! 😉

  5. Corinna Ashley said, on September 4, 2014 at 10:55 am

    These are very cool! I wouldn’t have thought of felting them (as I see mentioned in the comment above), but it’s a really good idea. I adore the different designs you gave them.

    (thanks for stopping by my blog. Your mom had given me the link to yours and I’ve been meaning to make time to check it out. I love your blog, and the variety of topics you cover!)


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