Upcycler’s Crafting Coalition

All businesses have their share of leftovers, the things we throw away at the end of the day, or when they are no longer useful. Old files and correspondences, computer manuals and calendars, post-it notes and empty pens all make their way into landfills and recycling centers at some point. But at Chronicle Books, our leftovers are a little more unusual.

A lot of my job revolves around the fake, dummy books and printed samples we use to sell with until real books arrive. These materials are often donated or thrown away when they are no longer useful, and this always seemed like a shame to me – so, with the help of my co-workers, we began to collect (not hoard!) the nicest leftovers for something we called the Upcycler’s Crafting Coalition. We gathered samples from our notecard sets, dummy books and mockups of our formats, art supplies, book proofs and more. Then, armed with craft supplies and plenty of Chronicle leftovers, the UCC began to meet and set about turning these leftovers into fun art projects for ourselves or our friends, to vent a little creativity and make something new out of something old.

There are plenty of options available at the UCC meetings for all kinds of crafting – though, of course, most of it is paper-themed – and we even have our own craft titles to pull from for inspiration (such as Paper + Craft). Here is Lara Starr (Children’s Publicity) making a quick project of a plastic box that used to hold paper clips and was unearthed during our office’s cleaning day, decorated with an image of a girl reading on a train that was cut from a cool declined submission, with a strip of color markers from the bottom of a set of printer’s proofs, and a stick-on gem.

A lot of inspiration really comes from digging around through the piles of art and formats, to find something unique to play with.

Marie Oishi (Managing Editorial) took advantage of the variety of different types of artwork and made a beautiful journal filled with art and matching quotes for a gift.

Like this adorable gem.

Decoupage and Mod Podge are the name of the game when it comes to pasting over dummy books. Here is Yesenia Herrera’s project, turning a blank dummy into a useable notebook for meetings by using notecard samples from Clare Rojas and proofs from our upcoming title with the Minted team, Colors in Bloom.

Claire Fletcher (Managing Editorial) also transformed a dummy into a useable journal – this one originally had a fabric cover that read “Oranges,” but it was transformed with a little help from proofs of Carpe Diem Journal and Recipe Keeper flower patterns, along with some spare scraps of fabric.

Meanwhile, Ariel Richardson (Children’s Editorial) upgraded some leftovers from our Pantone Postcards, with the aid of art from Pictorial Webster’s and more flowers from Recipe Keeper.

They even have Pictorial Webster’s art on the back!

And finally, here is my contribution for the afternoon: one unfinished, decoupaged dummy of a recipe box, with artwork from Reprodepot, Recipe Keeper (a favorite this session), Doodling in French and A Raft of Otters: Collective Nouns Flash Cards. I haven’t decided what to fill it with but, for me, the real joy of the UCC is getting the chance to play with the gorgeous work of our artists, and to fill something blank and empty with new life.

Julia Patrick
Sales Materials Assistant

Julia Patrick

Assistant Editor in the Entertainment department at Chronicle Books. Part-time archivist, full-time hobbyist, real-life best friends with R2-D2.
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Contact us


Leave a Comment