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A novel look at handbags

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Looking for a unique gift? Or just need a little something unique for yourself? Karen at Novel Creations has the perfect accessory for you! Karen has come up with a unique idea that turns used books into fashionable purses and handbags. Karen let us in on the process and how she came up with this incredible idea.

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What inspired the idea of turning books into handbags?

In 2008, the small bookstore where I once worked part-time had some great used books that needed a home or else they were going to take a dive into the recycle bin. Being an avid book lover, I scanned my brain as to how I could recycle them into something different.

Did you come up with the idea on your own?

Nope. I searched the internet and saw some limited ideas. I found directions on how-to-make-your-own book purse and I knew that was it.

Well, following those directions, I ended up making a HORRIBLE book purse. I knew I could do better than what I had made. After many mishaps and lots of improvements, I was able to make a book purse and good enough that someone wanted to buy! I was elated! Now I join the family business in selling my book purses at the fairs and festivals where I grew up as a child.

Can you tell us a little bit about turning a book into purse?

I found old vintage books fall apart when you try and remove the pages, so I work with good used books.
Once the inside pages are removed, I have donated them to every non-profit in my area so now I recycle them or send them with the purse. I have several crafters who use them as well.

My design for the lining is a simple, one pocket, cotton black color fabric creation to make a sleek look and showcase the important part of the purse - the book. Several purses I do offer a special fun fabric. Industrial hot glue is my best friend and worst enemy - it burns like the dickens.

The one creative aspect that sets me apart from the other book purses, is that I use a heavy clear book cover for hardback books with dust jackets. I find this makes the purse durable and easy to care for. I also use an elastic ribbon so when you loop it around the button, it stretches as you load items in your purse and hold things in nice and snug.

The process of making a book purse from start to finish takes me around 45 minutes for each purse. At Christmas, I call in reinforcements (my family) and we look like a Ford car factory making purses, but I am the only one who does the gluing as that part is a mastered craft. After making over 4,000 purses, I still love what I do and enjoy making each and every purse.

Karen has the distinct honor of being the first seller to introduce book purses to the Etsy market.

Novel Creations has book purses with classics like "Wuthering Heights" and "Jane Eyre" to newer bestsellers like "Harry Potter" and "The Walking Dead." She is more than happy to make custom purses too. You are able to choose the handle type and the closure type, making your book purse even more unique. Want your own unique book purse? Visit Novel Creations and pick your favorite.

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