DIY Project: Look Book How To

April 11, 2006

DIY Project: Look Book How To
It’s time to have fun with this little DIY project that I’ve pulled together for you. All you need is a book, adhesive, scissors and plenty of clippings!

If you’re getting ready to renovate a space, compiling a book like this (also known as a ‘look book’) before you throw yourself into a design project will help you pull the process together. It’s also fun to simply create these books to inspire you and pull you out of that occasional design rut.

Step One: Locate an artist’s notebook – something spiral bound and thick with pages measuring at least 8.5″ x 11″ (bienfang is good). You can use one book per room (i.e. living room inspiration), or you can divide one book into sections for each room in your house. My books have everything thrown together, however I’m soon to begin working on new ones that will be organized according to room. must. get. organized.

Step Two: Purchase a good pair of scissors. I use a standard pair of Fiskars with the typical orange handle. I like the ones with the micro tip for trimming those pesky edges. Pay attention to how you clip – pretend you are laying out a magazine page. Make it look pretty, not clunky. Make sure what you’re pasting fits the pages, you don’t want to close your book and see clippings sticking out everywhere. No, no!

Step Three: Avoid using a glue stick, they’ll give your pages the bubble effect. Instead use my favorite, Tombow mono-adhesive. You can find these online or at your local craft store. They are more expensive at craft stores, so unless you have a coupon for your local craft emporium, purchase them online. Order 6-12 at a time. I know it sounds like a lot, but these little guys go fast. (I suggest shopping at Dick Blick and Charette.)

Step Four: Cut and paste, baby! Scour magazines, catalogs, books, or even online (blogs!) to find things that you know you’ll want to refer back to again and again. If you find something in a blog, simply print it out in color, trim, and paste it into your book. You can add articles that you enjoyed, quotes, ads, fabric swatches, paint chips, pretty business cards, font styles you like, stamps – get creative and have fun with it. No one is going to grade or judge your book, this is your personal space. You can even doodle on your pages and add handwritten comments describing why you like something you’ve pasted – these all lend a personal touch.

When it’s time to renovate, you can refer to your books as your guide since they’ll assist you throughout the decision making process. Something so visual will most definitely pick you up when you’re feeling stuck in a design rut – you’ll have your trusty look book to turn to, it will get you back on track!

Before I consult with clients, I always ask them to pull together a folder of clippings that define their design style. I’m often so surprised when I meet with them and they pull out spiral bound notebooks stuffed with articles and clippings that they’ve collected for me. They always remark how grateful they are that I gave them homework because it helped them to pinpoint their design style. It also helps them to better communicate their vision with me because it’s easier to express personal style on paper than through words. At least for most of us.

I hope you have fun with your look book, and if you you’d like to send me a photo of yours, I’d be happy to post your book so we can all have a look.

(photo: 3 of my look books shown above. Copyright decor8 2006)


  • Reply finalsense April 11, 2006 at 4:08 pm

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  • Reply Elaine April 11, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    neat idea! i have clip files, and flagged pages in magazines….they never get made into books….alas.

  • Reply Oberon April 11, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    …….hi boston.

  • Reply mcaplan April 11, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Woo hoo! You bet this blog rocks!

    Congrats Holly, Ms. decor8! So nice to see you getting the kudos you deserve!

  • Reply Anonymous April 11, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    Absolutely!!! your’re right from A to Z!! i do the same since many years now and it’s great to refer to it when i’m searching for some new decoration ideas! (whitout i i allways forget what i’ve just seen and found sooo beautiful ;-)!!)
    the only problem i have is that I use glue so I have THE bubble effect grrrr! but i’m gonna see if i can find your great product in France (there must be something )!! so thanks!

  • Reply meg April 11, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    What a great project to share with everyone! I do something similar with my sketchbook…but I hadn’t thought of creating a book of 100% clippings and tearsheets. Awesome idea!

    (PS. Thanks for buying Space Planner Holly. I appreciate it and I hope you like it. It doesn’t come out until May 2006!)

  • Reply decor8 April 11, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you finalsense! That’s very exciting.

    I’m so happy this idea inspired you all – it’s so easy and a lot of fun.


  • Reply Anonymous April 18, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    Hi I clicked on the hot soup link (Philadelphia) and it doesn’t work…I think the address is misspelled.


  • Reply Lauren April 10, 2007 at 1:15 am

    LOVE the idea of a look book. I have look “folders” and “piles.” The idea is to get them into a book…someday. Thanks for the specifics.

  • Reply Sabine April 15, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Nice idea! I try to sketch daily, but now I know what to do with all the clippings I collected in the past years.

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