Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cutting Book Letters

When I saw letters cut from old books on a trip, I knew I wanted to try to make them. I searched the Internet and only found one reference to making them on a Pinterest post that said they used a band saw for the cutting. A band saw seemed like a big investment, so we tried a hand held jig saw. First, I drew out the letter shape I wanted on the back of the book. After the first one I found it worked better to draw it on the front. Any leftover lines erased well, and it was easier and more accurate to cut from the front.

I didn't know how to make inner square corners with the saw but Husband said if I curved in and got a cut made in one direction, then I could take the saw out and turn it around, re-insert it in the cut, then finish the cut line going back the other way.  Man brain can be handy sometimes.

To cut out the center of letters with no opening, I used a drill to make two holes close together, wide enough for the blade to fit into. Smaller areas can be harder to cut as you go along because as the cut pieces of cover and pages become loose there is no way to hold them together and they vibrate. Using a clamp might help in some cases, but with the hand-held saw you would have to keep moving the clamp as you cut. I can see how a band saw with a flat work surface to cut on would be easier and probably give a neater finish. Sometime I'd like to try one, but this method worked pretty well too.

I was able to find books for as low as 25 cents at thrift stores. It  is kind of hard to cut up old books, but when there are soooo many, you soon see it as re-using them in a new way. These can make a fun gift, especially if you fit the book title/subject to the person you are making the letter for. (This Latin Composition book went to a friend who is trying to conquer Latin at college. She actually seemed to enjoy the thought of damaging a Latin Composition book!)
I posted these on and .


  1. Wow, love it! Gotta get handy with some power tools myself, it's my dream....or at least to teach my boys the joys of woodworking and being handy! Thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  2. Did you have to get a longer blade for your jig saw or did you buy books that weren't very thick?

    1. No, I just used a regular one, but I have to say, my dad let me use his band saw and it does a much easier, neater job of it than the jig saw.