Instant Art from Vintage Books

Last Friday I braved the nasty, humid, way-too-hot-for September weather to dig around at the Canton First Monday Trade Days.  It’s been a few months since I’ve gone, so I needed to find some fresh inventory for my booth space.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t my best trip down there.  The pickings were pretty slim.  And to be honest, I was so hot and sweaty that I quickly lost interest in digging through the piles of junk.

A stop by one young lady’s booth though redeemed the day.  Her space was stocked to the brim with old books, and she was selling them cheap.


Vintage books aren’t the most profitable thing that I sell, but I still can’t resist buying up stacks of them when I find some at a good price.

I have been selling more of them recently in my space, and on the days I work up at the antique mall I see lots of books pass through the checkout line. One customer mentioned that the uptick in sales can probably be credited to Joanna Gaines and her HGTV  show, “Fixer Upper.”  I don’t have cable so I don’t watch the show (I know, I am probably the only person on the planet who doesn’t watch it), but from what I hear she uses a lot of books in her decorating.

Well, Mrs. Gaines you may have made decorating with vintage books popular, but I was into that waaaay before it was trendy.  Haha, just kidding 🙂


I am a sucker for the aged color of vintage books, and their beautiful script and artwork.


Maybe in our next house I can have one of those gigantic libraries where there are bookcases built in all the way up to the ceiling and one of those sweet rolling ladders . . . Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Besides regular novels, I also found some children’s books that have gorgeous, color illustrations inside of them.


This is where the “instant art” part of this post comes in . . . old books are a fantastic place to look for inexpensive artwork. Carefully separate the pages from the binding, trim the pages if necessary, frame, and voila! One-of-a-kind instant art.



These two geography books were another awesome find.


The typography of these books is truly stunning.



Both of these books are in pretty bad shape, and so I will be pulling out the pages to sell separately for artwork as well.  Don’t worry–I checked to make sure they weren’t worth like $1000 or anything . . . and they’re not 🙂


Rather than them winding up in the trash because they are falling apart, at least some of these beautiful pages can be preserved and have new life as art.


I also found a newer bird study book that has over 200 pages of gorgeous illustrations.




So have I turned you into an old book lover yet?  If not, I’m sure I will post again about more book finds in the future and maybe I will convert you then.

And if you love this look but haven’t had any luck finding your own old books, be sure to check out one of my great partners, Belle Maison Art. There you can find a wonderful selection of vintage-inspired images ready to frame and very affordable prices.

Have a great day!


Linking up to:  Wow Us Wednesdays   Vintage Inspiration Party


Ballard Designs Hack--Thrift Store Find to Boutique Art | Lost & Found

Wednesday 13th of April 2016

[…] fall I found this incredible bird book at one of my favorite flea […]

Botanic Bleu

Wednesday 16th of September 2015

Melanie, I love books, new, used, antique, falling apart, most any subject... and love seeing them used as bundles in decor... and love seeing their pages as prints. It's been years since I went to Canton, but need to put that on my list of places to visit when the weather is cooler. For the past six years I've been in a Book Club that meets once a month.

It's nice finding another Texas blogger, especially one in the same general area. I'm off to find a way to add your blog to my reading list.

Stay cool.



Thursday 17th of September 2015

Thanks Judith! Yes, Canton in the cooler weather is much nicer. I wish I could find a book club to join! I have always loved the idea but can't seem to get into a group around here. Thanks so much for stopping in--hope to see you around more :)


Thursday 10th of September 2015

I have always loved books, old, new, any type of books. Since electronic books are becoming "the thing" nowadays, books I believe will be a thing of the past. These old books will soon be in short supply which will increase their value and make it harder for our kids to see, enjoy, and experience these wonderful works of art. Once they are separated from the original book that they were commissioned to be illustrated for, they will have little value and the books will be trashed. It is my hope that more respect and value will be placed on these beautiful works of art no matter what the condition and that they be preserved Scanning the pages can produce an excellent quality image and can be used for many creative purposes.


Sunday 13th of September 2015

I have had a hard time Karen getting into the ebook world. I still love the feel of actually flipping a page . . . Maybe I will try scanning a few of the geographic pages, but there are some that literally have already fallen out of the book that I probably will go ahead and pass on as prints. I would rather some of it at least wind up being preserved and appreciated than tossed away.


Thursday 10th of September 2015

Those books a adorable. I could never do that to a book no matter its condition. I love illustrated books and collect them.... however i could take a high-resolution scan and frame that.


Thursday 10th of September 2015

Yes, that is another way to get the image. I understand pulling apart a book is a terrible thought to some people :)


Thursday 10th of September 2015

Love your photo with the blue and white pot and the stack of books tied with string. Really nicely done.


Sunday 13th of September 2015

Thanks Linda! It was fun playing around with some new photography techniques.

Get These 5 Furniture Painting Secrets

to help you love your next project