How to turn a book into a painting


Day 169: Glad at Heart

One of the things that makes me really happy is “teaching” people. I never tire of explaining to someone how to do something art-related. There’s a great how-to website out there called Instructables for this very thing. I have used it a few times to learn, but today I decided to take photos as I went and create my first Instructable to show others this simple technique for creating upcycled art with old books. Since it’s taking longer than I thought to wrap up, I’ll finish that and post the link tomorrow. For now, today’s piece is “Glad at Heart”, a 5×7 mixed media painting using pages from The Iliad and a heart embroidery illustration from a vintage Good Housekeeping. 🙂

UPDATE: Instructable complete! Want to make your own upcycled book art? Check out my how-to here.

9 thoughts on “How to turn a book into a painting

  1. aloha Marianne – yeah. i saw this the other day. i like things you’ve done in this too. the gradation of color and the shifted text creates a lot of detail to explore – rich and intriquing. cool on that. – aloha Wrick


  2. Jennifer says:

    Hi there ~ I found your blog from your post on instructables. I just wanted to pop in and tell you that I’m so glad I found your tutorial and blog. I found your tutorial inspirational and I really needed that right now so Thank you for sharing.


    • Hi there! Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it! You know, Jennifer, I’ve been doing this daily art project thing for almost 6 months now and it’s kind of a difficult time in my life coincidentally. I find that making art is a great form of therapy/coping, and I’m always inspired by other people, so it’s so wonderful to hear that my instructable inspired you! I hope you’ll try it out, it really is great fun. Thanks! Take care.


  3. I saw your instructable on this today – it was featured. I love this. The image of the stitched heart, the circled words “glad at heart”, and the spattered paint drops that are suggestive of , combine to send a message. I see it as a message that pain is sometimes be necessary, even good.
    But maybe I’m over analyzing again. Anyway, you did a wonderful job on the painting and the instructable. Thanks for sharing it.


    • Hi there! I love your username. DarkAutumn is evocative. 🙂 Thank you! What’s great about this method is that the words really guide you. When I started this piece, I hadn’t seen the ‘glad at heart’ yet, and I hadn’t picked the embroidery image yet either. It just kind of worked itself out organically. Which is why I thought it would be fun to share and fun for other people to try. I’m so glad you liked it! I hope you’ll come back to the blog now and then, I’m making something new every day until the end of the year. Thanks!


  4. Zoe says:

    Hello hello! I came across your Instructable the other day (love that site) and followed it here. I’m a Photoshop junkie and I love love love books, so the idea of layering images and incorporating text is pretty much right up my alley. 🙂 Thanks for posting it and keep up the amazing work.


    • Hi there! Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve seen one or two completed pieces that people have taken on after reading my instructables, and I have to say, it’s so satisfying. It feels like having an art-baby through a surrogate mother.. or something. You get the point, I think! I’m glad you’re going to try it out, you must show me the results. I really appreciate the encouragement. 🙂


  5. paradeincircles says:

    You instructable is incredibly cool. I saw it a while back and have been thinking about it ever since. I scrolled through dozens of pages on to find this specific entry and was happy that it also led me to your blog. I’m gonig to give the project a shot very soon. Please post more instructables!


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