Friday 23 November 2012

How To Make Angels and Christmas Trees From A Paperback Book

It is a sad fact that even charity shops have to pulp books after their pages have curled on the shelves too long. Incredibly not everyone wanted to read Mills and Boon 'Christmas Nights' by Sally Wentworth. If I was Sally I would be gutted.

From pulp fiction to Christmas tree in 3 easy folds.

But I have found a craft so simple, so easy, even those missing the craft gene can do it. And in the process we save unloved books from a fate worse than landfill.

Turn unwanted and unloved paperbacks into Christmas Trees and Angels.

I should warn you though, there is one problem making these, especially for a book worm. The temptation to try to read as you fold the pages is IMMENSE and you may find yourself drawn into a fictional world unwittingly. If you resist, these decorations can take less than half and hour to make. If you are sucked in, more like 72 hours.

Here are examples of what you can do with that unwanted fiction...

Simple Christmas Tree made from The Yellow Pages:

One Christmas tree (formerly the Yellow Pages)

Embellished with a little gold spray and a Star:

Paperback Christmas Tree

Blinged baby!

Blinged Paperback Christmas Tree

Here's how.

You want a paperback that is about 120-150 pages long (that is numbered pages, not leaves of the book). If you have one longer, just tear it in half. I know that this goes against all things literary but take a deep breath and rip. Now rip off the cover and bend that spine back. If anyone is hyperventilating at the thought of mutilating a book, have a paper bag on stand by.

For a simple Christmas tree.

Fold each page so that the top right hand corner folds down into the middle of the book.

Paperback Christmas Tree - Fold 1

Then fold the page again so that it meets the middle of the book.

Paperback Christmas Tree - Fold 2

Turn this folded page over and fold up the triangle that is sticking out at the bottom.

Paperback Christmas Tree - Fold 3

Tuck this in.

Paperback Christmas Tree - and tuck

Carry on doing this for every page.

makes a pretty pattern

It will get a bit difficult towards the end as the folded pages increase the volume of paper at the spine but try to get each fold into the center of the book. When all the pages are folded it will stand up on its own in a tree shape.

To embellish it, paint with a little glue and add a dash of glitter.
Or lightly spray paint it.
Add a bauble star.
Make an origami star.
Add tinsel. Okay maybe that is a step to far.

To make an Angel:

Fold the first 20 leaves of the book as if you are making a Christmas tree. Then fold the next 5 or 6 leaves upwards, varying the amount of the second fold for each page to create a fan effect.

Paperback Angel Wings - Fold 1

Paperback Angel Wings - Fold 2

Paperback Angel Wings - Fanning

This is one of the angel's wings. Continue folding pages as you did for the tree until you are about 25 leaves from the end. Then repeat the upwards fold for 5 pages reversing the order of the fanning effect in order for your angel's wings to be symmetrical. Fold the remaining pages as you did for the tree.

To complete the angel glue a bauble on the top for a head or a polystyrene ball or ping pong ball. You can spray paint it or glue and glitter it to create your desired effect.

turn a book into an angel

You don't have to use a book if you find you cannot bring yourself to do it. You could use a quality magazine (as long as it has a glued spine) or a catalogue.

These are seriously easy and hopefully I have inspired the bloggers who are making decorations in aid of The Society of St James, a charity for the Homeless. If you want to know how you can get involved to add a little Christmas cheer for the homeless of Southampton, then visit Mammasaurus blog to find out more.

Tots100 Experience Days Competition


  1. This is absolutely brilliant, genius idea!

  2. These are amazing!!

    Finally, Mills and Boons have a purpose in life.

    1. After ending up with a large box of Mills & Boon books, I was saddened to discover I actually knew people who love such books. What was even sadder...they were related to me! Noooooo!!!
      But in all seriousness, whilst such books suck, they are great to donate to maternity wards & mental hospitals (sorry if you're offended by that term, but they go by many different names, & everyone can understand exactly what I mean by the simple term 'mental hospital'), as they're the perfect length for most stays (& generally not considered contraband).

  3. OMG THIS IS BRILLIANT!! Bookmarking NOW.
    You could always use charity shop books and support a local cause too!

    1. If you mean, "just donate the book you're planning to disfigure", chances are, you'd be wrong! Whilst I myself would struggle to disfigure ANY book, I understand WHY so many get tossed out by charity shops...they cannot keep unsellable things forever!
      But if you mean "disfigure a book you've bought from a charity shop", then I'm totally with you...go to your local charity shop & find books nobody else wants to buy & they would otherwise throw out (ask at the counter, they might even give you a bunch of books they're planning on throwing out, for a small donation!).

  4. Genius! I bet being me it would take me less time to read it though ;)

  5. These are brilliant Alison! Love them x

  6. Ah this is a gorgeous idea!

  7. These look amazing. Certainly giving these a go. x

  8. Thanks These are great instructions. I have pinned this project

  9. Thanks These are great instructions. I have pinned this project

  10. Officially addicted to making these - and blogged about them with a link to this page so other people can join in!

  11. what a great idea! I had seen the folded books used in floristry but not for Christmas decs. I am really tempted to have a go at these as they look so good.

  12. Congratulations on the Crafty Christmas win. I think this is a really super idea and will definitely give it a go.

  13. Congratulations on the win I can't wait to try this - thisdayilove

  14. that Angel is adorable!! love it! well done on the win!

  15. Wow thank you so much for the Xmas tree idea I have just finished one and it looks fabulous I am now going to have a go at the star, angel and the garland.
    A very happy lady thanks again

    Di Hughes

  16. Hi really super idea, just been to a craft fair and they are selling them for well over £10.00!!!! so it is catching on fast...

  17. Excellent, excellent, excellent !!! Absolutely great Angel so easy to make but so professional when completed. Thank you for sharing this idea.

  18. Vraiment superbe
    Gros bisous

  19. I'm curious about a pattern for the star. Do you have a post or a link for that? TIA

  20. Brilliant thanks for instructions I was given an angel made like this and having been longing to know how to do it!

  21. Many thanks for the idea! I'm just finishing the first tree and I will make another one. I've a holyday apartment in Venice and these trees will be a welcome object for guests in arrival tomorrow!

  22. I am making an angel and folded the wings in the same way as in he photos. It looks totally different from the final effect. What is wrong? I can see the wings in the pic are actually folded differently ...

  23. Una meraviglia...assolutamente geniale....

  24. I did this, but I put a 2" doll head on it and used the wing pages for arms and put wide wire ribbon for wings.

  25. Great tutorial,just finished my first angel,going to have a mess around with her now. Thank you so much.

  26. Your pin was easy to follow. Thanks for sharing it with Pinterest.

  27. me ajudou muito, obrigada

  28. This blog through it words has given a key to proficiency.

  29. Fabulous idea! I work in a library and get advance reader copies of books that cannot be redistributed after they're used for review or purchase purposes. Fabulous way to put them to a second use life.

  30. Ik was van plan om eens mijn kookboeken op te ruimen (weg doen,weg geven ) Nu hebben wij een vriendin die héél graag kookt ook voor vrienden en ieder jaar is er het Kerst feestje met collega vriendenkliek (omdat het bedrijven kerstfeest maar een saaie bedoening is kwam zij met het idee om het zelf te doen met de klik).... DUS hét moment om dit eens uit te proberen..
    Nu ik ben al enkele bladzijden ver geraakt ..lukt nog tot nu toe ..Maar na de 2e omplooi vouw veeg ik even over de rand ( onderkant boek ) dan krijg ik een lichte lijn en die plooi ik dan even het blad weer en steek de driehoek er in ..Minder gefrutsel ..Foto volgt als hij afgeraakt ..

  31. How do I get the tree to stay shaped?

  32. Searched for ages for a simple instruction I can understand....65 and I am making angels and xmas tress.....lovin from Cornwall

  33. How about Read the book and fold the pages as you go!!! :)


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