Part of what makes Christmas so pretty and festive is the gift wrapping on the presents. So, for this craft idea we're thinking outside the box (pun intended)! We've taken an old book and cut out a secret space inside it and decorated the entire book. Presto - a book with hidden potential!

This is an unusual and personalized way to present a special gift, think gift cards/certificates, jewelry, car keys, plane tickets, money and any small gift that will fit inside the book. Technically, it is two presents, whatever is inside and then the book to be used however you wish throughout the rest of the year. You could do a theme, Christmas, a photo, flowers, wedding, special interest of the recipient, to name a few.

The materials needed for this project can be found in your own stash of craft supplies, the Dollar Tree or at the local craft store. We scored and didn't spend a lot on this project. We purchased the book at Goodwill for $1. The X-Acto-type utility knife, metal ruler, glue, sponge brushes and wax paper were finds the Dollar Tree. You can find the complete supply list and detailed instructions for this project online at

As far as the book, there really aren't many limitations. You can use an old encyclopedia, dictionary or just a book that you think would be perfect. This project does have some drying times, so give yourself time to do a step and let it dry. Use common sense when cutting out the pages and keep your fingers out of the way of the blade. Cutting out all the pages is time consuming and you will go through several blades, so be patient. It will be worth it in the end.

Scrapbook paper, fabric or even pretty wrapping paper will work perfect to cover the book. Pick out items that coordinate. You can get as creative as you want with it. You can keep it simple or go all out. The paper packet shown is from Close to My Heart,

Turn your creative side loose with, stickers, ribbons, stamps or rub-ons, whatever tickles your fancy. If your book came with a paper dust jacket you can keep it for a pattern to be used later.

This is a fun project with a surprise twist, so put your heart in it and make it special. This will be a cherished keepsake for a long time.

For questions, contact Belinda Black at or Elaine Cota at

Step-by-step instructions

First, using an X-Acto-type knife, cut out the inside section of the book, reserving a few pages at the beginning and the last page at the end. The easiest way to cut a uniform "box" out of the middle of each page is to simply lay a metal ruler even with the edges of the page and mark the ruler width all the way around; that way if the book shifts as you are cutting it will still be evenly cut when you're finished.

When you've cut out the center of each page, make a mixture of Modge Podge and gold or silver craft paint. Lay a piece of wax paper inside both the front and back covers of the book to protect them from paint. Also, place a piece of wax paper between those front pages and the cover as well.

Paint the edges of the book with the gold Modge Podge mixture then place a heavy weight on top. This mixture takes approximately 30 minutes to dry. Keep your Modge Podge mixture in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it again. Paint the edges of the middle cutout section of the book, put the weights back on and again wait another 30 minutes.

Once this glue has dried peel off the wax paper, trim off any excess glue and now you're ready to decorate, dispose of the remaining glue mixture.

After your book has dried completely, you are ready to "alter" the book. Fancy it up any way you want! Here's where you can get creative. Decorate with paper (thinner paper works better than cardstock on the edges or use fabric).

Start by cutting the books binding with your first paper go about a 1 inch longer than your book and cover the binding side with about 1-1.25 inches of paper. Fold the paper over the edge and glue. Elaine prefers to use Scotch Dry Tacky Adhesive; you will have to hold it down for a minute or two.

Next, take your cover paper and overlap the binding paper just a tad. Cut the paper an inch long and wider than the area you want to cover so that when you fold over the edges you have clean coverage. Slit the corners as shown below, trim as necessary and continue to fold over. 

Cover the inside with a coordinating paper. You can Modge Podge your project, cover, inside cover, etc., but you don't have to. A nice little note in the back "Handmade for you by..." is a nice touch, don't forget the date.

Paper packet shown is from Close to My Heart, Decorate as your heart desires, stickers, ribbons, stamps and rub-ons.

This will be a cherished keepsake for a long time. Enjoy this and put your heart into it.

Materials needed

• Modge Podge

• Hardcover book

• Utility knife, sponge brushes, metal ruler and glue.

• Wax paper (approximately 3 pieces) or tin foil

• Craft paint (gold/silver) for edges of book

• Weight to sit on top of book or other heavy object

• Decorative paper, ribbons, stamps, etc., for decorating the book jacket

• Scissors, paper trimmer (as needed)

• Scotch Dry Tacky Adhesive or your favorite craft clue.


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