Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Literary Decor

This one probably goes without saying. However, that would make for a very short,
very boring post. Mind you, I am not referring to just having a few of the old scary
classics about. I am referring to books as a display, and with just a little
wordplay, imagination and a half-decent printer or brown marker, a very personalized,
haunted book display. Now that I think about it, this is so deceptively simple, it
may still wind up a very short post. Or shorter than most of my incredibly verbose

What makes a Victorian home truly Victorian? Scrollwork along the eaves? A wrap
around porch? Long staircases and ornate wallpaper? Well, perhaps a few of those, but
the answer I am going for here is a Library. Stately Victorian homes have studies,
libraries and loads of dusty, musty old books. And while I cannot offer advice on
building ceiling to floor oak bookshelves with a built-on, rolling ladder, complete
with the extra room most of us would need to build to house them, I can offer ideas
to build your haunted Victorianesque collection of literary decor. The best part? NO
breaking the bank on bookselling websites or stalking the local bookseller until he
or she lends you their full stock just for Hallowe'en.

Now if you are on this site, I would say it is safe to assume you have a few of the
classics lying about: Bram Stoker's Dracula, E.A. Poe, Mary Shelley, H.P. Lovecraft,
Jules Verne (Hey, that seamonster in 20,000 Leagues was scary). With the help of a
temporary bookshelf in a prominent spot, these lovely tomes can be brought out to
play with the rest of your decor. Skulls make wonderful book ends and craft store
ravens, crows and owls keep them fine company perched on top. And do not forget the
string lights or battery-powered candles. A sparse scattering of spider webs are a
brilliant touch as well.

Short on books, you say? Well, now, we cannot have that. That is where the paper,
printer and/or markers, calligraphy quills or other writing utensil OTHER than ball-
point pen will come in quite handy. How? Simple. Handmade book sleeves. The sleeves
themselves are quite easy to make and allow you to use ANY book, regardless of size,
transforming it into a worn, old book, or an old book with a spooky title of your own

Begin with a parchment-coloured, or brownish sheet of paper, easily found at any
craft store. Fold the long edges in, measuring to fit the height of the book you will
be using. Laying the closed book on the paper, wrap one end up over the bookbinding
and center so that the unfolded ends extend evenly past the edges of the book, then
fold under. With your book jacket folded to fit, now you can begin to personalize it
with titles and decorations, mimicking the style of antique books, but with your own
flair. Keep in mind that not all old books had titles down the backbone. Often simple
raised, embossed lines were all the ornamentation that faced out from those large
bookshelves. The actual titles were either inside, or on the book's front cover.

Peruse a few old book stores online and off to get an idea of the type of imagery you
wish to create. After you have created your new spooky "library", stack slightly
askew on a side table as a centerpiece, or on your haunted, dusty, spiderwebby

There. Now was that not the simplest thing? No cutting. No gluing. No painting. Just
paper, markers, books... Oh, and do not forget a skull and candlestick or two. Leave
a couple on a small table beside your favourite chair, displayed on the mantle, and
perhaps on a little shelf in the lavatory. Is that not also referred to as "the
reading room"?

Have fun with your books, and by all means, please share your new titles with me. Bad
puns and even worse "groaner" jokes are always welcome. I will post them as a list in
a future post with full credit to their authors.

Until next, Keep it Shadowy...

1 comment:

  1. Clever idea!! I never thought to cover the books I have!!!