Saturday, March 9, 2013

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My Treasured Old Bible Made New

I debated a few weeks ago on getting a new leather Bible. It's not like I need a new one. I have almost every Bible I've ever owned since I was a young child.  This one is probably my favorite.

I only have  two problems with my old Bible.  It's softcover/paperback.  And a few pages in the back (the maps) are falling out.  But I have so many notes I've added and verses I've underlined. There is no way I'd be able to transfer all my notes to a new Bible in any reasonable amount of time.

When I bought it, I'd resolved that I'd put it in a Bible case, so I wouldn't need the added expense of a leather cover, and I wouldn't feel bad about writing in it. I am strangely OCD about writing in Bibles... but that is a post for another day. I only write in pencil. Erasing my goofs is important to me.

Fast forward 15 years.  When it was time to open my Bible case, I'd cringe when it was time to unzip that cover at church.  It's noisy. So much that I have been carrying a small compact Bible in my purse on Sunday mornings. It was nice because it was in my purse at all times, but it got a real beating, because I leave it in my purse when I get home. I also don't write in it like I do in my study Bible.

So, as I am approaching 40 and my eyesight is getting worse my compact Bible started falling apart, I decided to go onto some booksellers and get a new leather study Bible to use all the time. I almost began the checkout online, but then all that transcribing I'd have to do from my old softcover popped into my head, and I'd clear my shopping cart.

I really wanted my old Bible with a new cover.  A cover that didn't zip, and one that would mask my beat-up soft cover that is bent and rather unattractive.

I looked on bookbinding sites. No luck. I talked to a friend who had a hobby in bookbinding who even prints some rare Bible translations.  No luck there either, because I have a cheaply-made softcover with a glued spine (not stitched). It would be costly to have it stitched and rebound, and I'd lose some margins (i.e., the notes I'd written) where the stitching would have to go, and the presently-glued spine would have to be cut.

I decided I could not be an orthodox bookbinder, nor give up my margins by paying someone else to do it.  So I applied the same concept as the altered journals that are all over Pinterest and art websites.

I was thankful my sweet mother-in-law had given me some fabric scraps that she'd purchased at a great fabric store that sells slightly irregular pieces of fabric. I was looking through my craft stash and trying to decide just what I could do with my treasured Bible.  I found a wonderful piece of fabric that resembled leather, and had the thickness of leather.  It's probably (p)leather vinyl, but I really don't care. The newer "Italian Duo Tone" leather Bibles are actually imitation leather anyway.  This fabric is a nice chocolate brown. No worrying about dirt showing.

So, I grabbed my Bible, traced about an inch around all its edges on the wrong side of the fabric (which is a nice fuzzy cream color).  Then I cut around my lines.

I grabbed my trusty Elmer's Spray Adhesive (no Mod Podge here--I don't want my flexible cover getting stiff).  I sprayed the wrong (fuzzy) side liberally (with some craft paper underneath... I can get spray adhesive everywhere if I am not careful).  Then I carefully placed my Bible back on the fuzzy size with glue and wrapped it all tightly over the old soft cover.

After an hour of drying, I trimmed the excess fabric from the edges with a pair of scissors, leaving about 1/16" all around.

I could kick myself for not taking pictures of the process, but my desk was a wreck, so I was working in the floor. So here's the finished product.


I can't wait to take it to church now.  It's not perfect (I could have used an Exacto knife instead of scissors for straighter edges), but I think that is why I like it so much. It's a bit rustic looking now, so that reflects a bit of its years of use (the stained edges of the pages show its age as well). 

The dark black cross on the front is black contact paper (from Home Depot) that I cut with my Cricut and Sure Cuts A Lot software.  The back has a dove with an olive branch.  If they don't stay (I've noticed some wrinkling with the black vinyl when I open the Bible), I'm okay with that. Maybe I'll decide to stencil something with paint later, but I like the freedom of changing the design that the vinyl allows.  I love that the vinyl has the same texture as the fabric (not planned by me, I just got blessed with the coincidence).

There is a wrinkle on the front cover (you can see it clearly in the top picture on the right).  I tried to iron it out before I started the glue step, but the vinyl is not fond of much heat. I decided to live with it. The wrinkle gives it character.

There have been a few places where the spray adhesive loosened around the edges, so I grabbed my Alene's Tacky Glue to give it a stronger bond where necessary.

I may add a ribbon bookmark later on from the spine with a little Alene's as well, but for now, I'm pleased with what I have. (By the way, the Alene's glue is what I used to get my map pages back in place. They are holding up tremendously well.)

So for this project:
Cost: $0 (I had all the items I needed on hand, but if I'd had to purchase everything including fabric, glue, and vinyl--less than $20.)
Value: PRICELESS (My notes remain, no transcribing, and it's one-of-a-kind!)

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