A Love for Books - Meet the Trashy Crafter

Happy hump day all!  Thanks for another AWESOME Monday Made It!!!!  I am still going through all the links!  As I promised I am back to let Kim from the Trashy Crafter share her story.  It's a wonderful one, so please take a sec to read all about Kim and her passion for books!  Also, if you didn't enter the giveaway to win a set of Kim's bracelets, there's still time.  Click HERE to go enter:)
And now I'm gonna turn it over to Kim!
Books are magical, they give you the ability to go on a jungle safari one minute and a deep see dive with mermaids the next, but what happens when books have gotten lots of love from years of use? The pages get creased, dog-eared and ripped, they bend or even start to fall off.  That’s where my Mom Helen and I come in, and this is where the story of Trashy Crafter begins. 
My name is Kim, and I have pretty much been a crafter since I was old enough to hold scissors in my hand and not eat the Elmer’s glue.  As a little girl I would come home from school each day, and as long as my homework was done I could create crafts all afternoon at my Grandma’s house until my Mom and Dad came to pick my sister and I up after work.  My Grandma made beautiful crafts and sold at lots of holiday craft shows. Crafting ran in my blood and it was bound to become a part of my life some way or another.
One day while I was in my senior year of college, my Mom and I went to the local thrift store. While there we noticed they had these auction bins out front of the store full of damaged and outdated books.  We found out that when books would not sell at the thrift store because of being damaged or outdated, they auctioned them off, and if the folks sifting through the auction bin thought they could not sell the book or it was too damaged, it was just thrown away. 
Needless to say my Mom and I were heartbroken that all those beautifully illustrated children’s books were just thrown away… so we grabbed about 25 books each in our arms and took them home.  I was really busy with school at the time, so the books sat in the corner of my room for about 3 months.  I was trying to think of a useful thing to turn the books into when it hit me!  I was very lucky to have a 3rd grade teacher that was very crafty, her name was Mrs. Bryant.  She had taught us how to roll magazines pages into paper beads (I’m sure many of you have done this in girl scouts or grade school).  I made my first few beads and knew from then on, I was hooked. The most magical part about it to me is that you not only create beautiful, colorful unique beads made from something that was going to be thrown into a landfill, but you know what book or item it was made from!
Everyone has stories, and connects with them so well, the reason we continue to create recycled book beads, map beads and sheet music beads is that when people purchase a set at a local craft show or online they have a story behind what they wear…. Perhaps they went on a road trip across the country, and that map bead bracelet they wear reminds them of the fun they had, or they had a band teacher that taught them to play an instrument, so they give them a sheet music bracelet as a token of appreciation… or even a gift for a mom or teacher that read you a book as a child that connected with you and stayed in your memory to this day.  As humans we all connect universally with stories, and it’s too  beautiful a thing to throw away, so my Mom and I plan on fighting the good fight and continuing to turn old books into beautiful, wearable works of art.
Our Process:
My Mom Helen and I gather the books from a lot of different places, sometimes we find them in cardboard boxes outside of library’s, in thrift stores on the clearance shelf or in the bins, and even get books, maps or sheet music donated from folks that love and support our mission. Once we gather all of the books we measure and hand cut the book pages into long narrow triangle strips and roll them one at a time onto lollipop sticks.  Once they are on there we coat each bead 3-5 times depending on the thickness of the paper.  Once that is done we spray them with a matte finish and then we start to make them into the finished jewelry.  We purchase damaged necklaces and bracelets from the local thrift store and strip them apart to repurpose the beads.  We create the jewelry with a mixture of the paper book page beads we made along with the repurposed beads. Once that is finished, we hand cut recycled cardboard bracelet holders and place the book labeling on to each set so folks know what book their bracelets were made from J
Thanks Kim for saving those well loved books and recycling them into something so beautiful!


  1. I love those beads, they are amazing. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Kinder Princess

  2. What an amazing way to preserve the books. I can't stand the idea of books being thrown out. Definitely the teacher in me.

    Fourth Grade Lemonade

  3. Wow. That is an amazing story. What a great way to reuse abandoned books. Plus, the way the new necklaces and bracelets turn out is gorgeous. :) Thanks for sharing!

    Funky in Fourth

  4. I love how each necklace seemed to take on the personality of the book, map, etc... that it was made from. It would be neat to make a necklace for your adult child from their favorite childhood book. Thanks for sharing.
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  5. What a fantastic idea!! I hate throwing away old books, even if they are torn apart. I especially love the meaningful connection to the book (or other special paper the bead comes from); what a great Mothers' Day gift or Girl Scout service project!! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. This story just warms my heart. Thank you so much for doing this for our books and landfill.

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