Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review(ish): The Paper Bride

When I received my copy of The Paper Bride,* my first reaction was "Great. Another one." The image of the little porcelain cake topper in the upper right hand corner threw me off. I thought to myself, "Why does every wedding planning book have to have a bride and groom on the front? Or a fucking diamond engagement ring? At least it's not an engagement ring." Then I tucked it under a pile of papers and forgot about it.

This weekend, I unearthed the book (I have pledged to read the printed word, after all) and I was pleasantly surprised. When I looked closely, I realized the little porcelain bride on the front was carrying a bouquet of red and orange paper flowers and the groom had a big paper boutonniere pasted on his lapel. Esther K. Smith is making the point that you can personalize your wedding with paper, in both traditional and unexpected ways.

Smith offers several how-tos for making paper flowers (obv), along with many more rather advanced projects. Do I like the idea of a handmade Paper Pocket Planner? Or a Liquor Shower cocktail recipe book? Yes. Would I ever attempt to make these things? No. She lost me at awl. I do not own an awl, nor do I have any desire to go buy an awl.** I am, however, intrigued by the notion of a bone folder, which is recommended for the construction of the Garland Guest Book (pictured below).

The instructions for the garland went over my head the first two times I glanced at them, but when I took a third look something clicked. Now I'm antsy to give the project a try. Why don't I own a BONE FOLDER? (You can visit
Smith's site to download pdf instructions for the Garland Guest Book. But do not attempt to crease your paper using a butter knife, a pencil, or a chopstick.)

I'm also intrigued by the templates provided at the back of the book, for, among other things, an art deco envelope, a curvy Parisian coaster
, and a v. sweet little box (hello macarons!).

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, Jan 20, at 7:30 pm Esther K. Smith will be at WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint (126 Franklin St. Brooklyn, NY 11222) demonstrating some of the projects from THE PAPER BRIDE. Will someone please attend and report back to us? Maybe awls are more fun than they look.

*Sent to me for free by the lovely people at Random House, I AM REQUIRED TO TELL YOU. I believe I am also required to tell you that I was not paid to write this review.

**Fun fact: When he was three, Louis Braille accidentally gouged himself in the left eye with an awl. Both eyes became infected, and he was blind by the age of four.


  1. I think I'll be staying away from the awl. However, I do own a bone folder and it certainly came in handy when I made the guestbook for my wedding.

  2. I'm still confused about the bone folder.

  3. whaaa?
    who doesn't own an awl and a bone folder?
    that's standard equipment in my family.

  4. how did I not know about the AWL?!?

    oh, right. Cause I come from the disipline of architecture, in which we use an exacto for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Need a hole? Use your exacto.

    To this day, I prefer to make a fold by scoring a line with my exacto, over using a bone folder. There is always the risk of cutting through, but we live on the edge.

    I may or may not need this book.

  5. I saw a few of her books on displayed in a library and does an awesome job of incorporating found and recycled materials. I've done one or two projects from her other book, How to Make books, and there are a lot of paper ideas that can be tweaked for weddings!

  6. You can pierce paper with a push pin if awls intimidate you--or an etcher's needle--or a potter's needle--or just a needle.
    And re bone-folders-- I often crease with my fingers/nails--but when I'm doing quantity, a bone folder helps--but anything you want to burnish with is ok--whatever works.
    Thanks for the mention! (And hope to see you at WORD)

  7. ah i am so in need of a nyc trip.
    couldn't make it to tomorrow, though.
    and maybe not quite in the mood for papergirlands.
    the one above looks good. and paper is a great material,
    for sure.

  8. I am in need of Random House to send me books for free, me thinks.

    I will write all the reveiws they want.

    Though the reveiws I write might not be exactly what they had in mind.

  9. I didn't know how much I needed a bone folder until I bought one.

    I have access to awl though, and I'm totally over it. You can use whatever else.

  10. i for sure don't need either thing, seeing as how i hate making stuff. but i did have to wikipedia 'bone folder'.

  11. I have Esther Smith's How to Make Books book...and love it...stopped by Powell's when I was home and browsed the wedding section and found this one! It's lovely and full of inspiration!

    PS. I have an awl but find that all I seem to do with it is nearly kill myself...sometimes needles do the trick.