Move over, backward books. There’s a new home decor trend we’ve been seeing lately, and it’s a unique way to display your favorite works of literature — as long as you’re okay with destroying them a little bit in the name of art.
Erin Kern who runs the blog Cotton Stem out of Owasso, Oklahoma, first created her book wall art back in 2015. “It was an original idea at the time, at least to me,” she told TODAY Home. “And it's been quite the honor to see it re-created and expounded upon.”
Kern’s DIY wall art features open books whimsically surrounding a quote from Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" — one of her favorite books.
“For me, books transport and uplift,” she said. “The stories and characters pick us up and carry us away to new worlds, and I wanted to convey that feeling by using pieces of my college books mounted to the wall in a design that lifted the eye and carried it upward and beyond.”
Kern's design inspired a few others, including Cindy Hulsey, who runs the Farmhouse on Chestnut account, and Carrie Miller, who runs A Carrie’d Affair Blog.
Miller, who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, used a custom-made quote sign surrounded by book pages held up by a staple gun and tape.
Kern said many of her followers have gasped at the idea of torn books. But her response? “Better they gather dust as a piece of installation art than the way in which they were gathering dust in boxes in my attic.”
“I love to read,” Miller said. “I only used books that have missing or ripped pages. I couldn’t bring myself to use books that were still in good condition.”
Another blogger who has used books to create wall art said she’s received quite a few negative comments about using books in this way, too. “But for me, I am turning books into amazing art and preserving them,” Ana Ochoa of Fiddle Leaf Interiors in Chula Vista, California, told TODAY Home.
“Thousands upon thousands of books are thrown into landfills each year, so I look at these books as being saved and repurposed, albeit in a different form, rather than tossed into the trash and forgotten,” she said.
Her design, which she revealed earlier this year, features aged books that are opened and painted to resemble a horse design. And if you’re wondering how she got it to look so precise, her secret weapon was a projector that displayed the image onto the wall to give her guidance as she painted. (See her step-by-step tutorial here.)
“The essence of each book itself is still preserved in my eyes,” she said, adding that it also brings a kind of nostalgia to the piece — “a reminder of a past when we read hard copy books, rather than sticking our noses into a screen to read.”