A day…eh hem, I mean, “a couple of months” late, but NOT a dollar short

I know it’s been a while since my last post and I just realized that the last post I left you with ended with me putting myself at risk for botulism. Well, I’m happy to report that no, I did not get botulism from my cake in a jar. I’ve just been busy with school and honestly haven’t had anything overly exciting to blog about…not that posts about blending up weird concoctions of various fruits and vegetables or nuts is a real page-turner scroller (?).

On to the post…which is a little bit late, but better late than never, right?

For those of you who know me, you might know that I spent months thinking about my gifts for R. (Check out this post to find out what I gave R for Christmas last year.) It might sound obsurd, but as soon as one holiday or birthday ends, I begin brainstorming what I can get R for the next year’s [fill in the holiday]. Since I quit my job to go back to school, R and I are more deliberate about the way we spend our money. In January, I jokingly asked R if I could just re-gift him the Valentine’s gift I made him two years ago. Before you judge me, know that I spent hours and hours making this gift. I have witnesses too. I went to the bank week-after-week, asking them to save me all their crisp, new $1 bills. I then, painstakingly folded all 100 $1 dollar bills into oragami hearts. I folded when I was watching tv, in the 5-minutes before class started, right before I went to bed and on and on. Two papercuts and 10 green-stained fingers later, I had a boxful of  perfectly folded Washintonian hearts. There are many versions of how to fold these adorable hearts. I used this one.

When I gave them to R, yes, he loved it. But for the last 2 years, the gift has sat at my “school-house” and he has not per se, enjoyed the fruits of my labor. So, needless to say, I felt justified in asking if I could re-gift. And to add to my “feeling justified”, R replied with “What did you get me 2 years ago?” Ha. Sold. I was re-gifting.

To make myself feel a little bit less guilty about re-gifting, I wanted to disguise my re-gift. I decided that I was going to try my attempt at making a secret hollow book. You know, the ones you see on  movies where they pull it off the shelf and then the wall rotates and then reveals a hidden room full of gold treasures?  Well, not quite that cool.  I asked around to see if anyone had a hardback book they were wanting to get rid of. (I heart upcycling.) Since the growing popularity of e-readers, this was not hard at all.

Here’s how I made the secret hollow book:

You’ll need:

a thick hardback book (the thicker the book, the deeper you can make your book, but the longer it will take to make) (If you don’t have generous, e-reader-owning friends, then check out your local thrift store)

white school glue

small container to hold glue (I lined a small container with plastic wrap so I didn’t have to worry about washing out leftover glue.) 

paint brush (any ole’ smallish one will work)

Exacto knife (although in the end, a box cutter worked better–Thanks J!) 

a straight edge of some sort will be helpful

something to act as a weight (another hardback book and/or hand weights)

1. To start, select a page (or more) that you’ll want to be the first page. (This will make more sense later.)

2. Then, mix a bit of glue with water. You want to thin the consistency of the glue so that it’s thinner, but not overly runny. I guess about a 50-50 ratio will work. Not necessary to be exact. 

 3. Then, brush the glue solution along the 3 outside edges of the book, careful not to brush glue onto the pages you set aside in step 1. Brush enough glue so that the pages are wet, but not soaked/dippy.

4. Then, put your weight on the book and weight wait. (Make sure that you are not putting the weight on the pages that you’ve set aside.) This is the approach that I took.


 5. Once it has dried (overnight), draw a border (~ 1/2 inch) on the first page that you want to cut.

6. Then, using your straight edge and box cutter, start to cut out the pages. I started out using an Exacto knife. I was cutting one. page. at. a. time. At this rate, R would be getting his Valentine’s gift for Christmas. Once I switched to using a box cutter, it was easy peasy. Easy, but time consuming. I watched many hours of reality tv, cutting page by page.

7. Continuing cutting until your desired depth. Keep a trash can or hand vacuum nearby as you will need to occasionally empty out all the book fuzz. The more time you spend cutting your pages, the “neater” result you will end up with. I started out slow, but then realized that I liked a more “artsy” look and so the process sped up.

8. After cutting to your desired depth, brush the inner edges with your glue solution. This will help to control the book fuzz.

9. Then, brush the rim of the book with the glue solution. Then, close the book. This will affix the page that you set aside in step 1. Let it dry overnight.

10. After it has dried, open up the book and cut through that first page with your box cutter.

11. Now you’re ready to hide treasures in your secret hollow book or in my case, delicate dollar origami hearts folded 2 years ago by yours truly.

Hidden treasures? Where? I don’t see any hidden treasures.

Oh and don’t worry, if you don’t have $100 worth of origami hearts, your secret hollow book would be a great way to store away your unsightly charging cell phone or ipod.

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