The only thing about home-making Christmas presents is that you need to choose your recipient carefully. They have to be as mad as you are. Fortunately, my brother appreciates eccentricity like no-one else. In fact, right now there is a large old wardrobe drawer upended in the living room half-adorned with shelves, sculptural features and legs. More on that on another day of Christmas.
I got the idea for Henry’s Christmas present in stages. Firstly, I wanted to find him this hard-to-find Philip K. Dick story called “Pay for the Printer” which, during my attempts to find a paper version to buy, turned up in pdf form online. So then I had the idea to put it on a memory stick, and create a book-box to present it!
I did a bit of research online and found some handy tips on how to make one of these. I also found a non-valuable but nice-looking book (Reader’s Digest abridged novels!). The rest was just between me and the stanley knife.
Handy tip #1 – Wrap the pages you DON’T want to cut out (the cover, perhaps a couple of pages at the front which ‘disguise’ it as a book) with cling film. Then, you lather the rest of the book in tonnes of glue (in my Hellmann’s pot is a mix of PVA + water) so that the pages stick together. I didn’t glue all the pages individually – just around the edges. Then you can close the book, put a heavy weight on top, and wait until it dries.
Handy Tip #2 – There isn’t an easy way to cut the pages out, as far as I’ve found. Just draw a margin onto the top page with a pencil & ruler, then carefully cut cut cut – giving particular attention to the corners – until your hand is aching and your neck is sore from craning over.
Handy Tip #3 – Firstly, once all the pages are cut out, PVA the inside ‘walls’ of the box. Then, to hide any messiness, it’s a good idea to tear up some of the pages you cut out in step 2, and papier maché them over the inside.
Handy Tip #4 – I decided to papier maché the front of the book with printed out sci-fi novel covers. More cutting and sticking and PVA. Pretty simple. You can paint over the finished product with PVA to give it a nice shiny glaze.