Angelic Recycling

Okay Morgan, this one’s for you… I made hymnal angels one year for our family white elephant Christmas exchange, and they turned out to be quite popular, and my younger cousin has been asking me how to make them. Since I’m leaving for Australia in a few days and I’ll miss the upcoming 4-H project time, I thought I’d blog about how to make them in case she’d like to enter them as a project. I also wanted to share the idea with others who happen to have old hymnals or books lying around, just waiting to be recycled!


1 old hymnal, scissors, 3 bookmarks, 1 styrofoam ball, Elmer’s glue, hot glue gun (and glue), pencil, spanish moss, ribbon and wire (optional)


First you’ll need to find an old hymnal. I haven’t used one myself, but I’m willing to bet an old book would work just as well. Once you have your book, estimate where the center is and mark it with a bookmark.


To cover the face of the angel, we’ll need to remove 7-8 pages. What you want to use to cover the face of the angel is totally up to you, but I prefer to use the music staff. I remove the pages and cut it into strips, removing the lyrics from the songs. The easiest way I found to remove the pages, is to drag your scissors blade along the center of the book. IMG_2014


The first folds we’ll make are to form the wings. The wings are folded on the left and right side of the pages folded to create the body in the middle. To do this, we need to work backwards from the center of the book. You’ll want a chunk of at least 100-150 pages on each side of your center bookmark to make up the body of the angel. You don’t have to have a precise number of pages. A lot of this is a personal judgement/preference thing, but you’ll also want a few pages at both the front and back that remain unfolded (roughly 20-50 on either side). Once you determine the pages that will make up the middle body on both the right and left side, mark them with a bookmark. I like to begin on the left side, so from where you have placed your left bookmark, count backwards 10 pages (towards the front cover). These 10 pages will be folded to make the wings. To begin folding, turn all your 10 wing pages to the right side of your book. Grab the bottom right corner of the first page, and fold it up towards the top of your book, lining up the corner with the spine of the book.


Repeat this fold with the remaining 9 wing pages… and you have your left wing! The process is the same for the right wing, but the opposite. Count back 10 pages from your right bookmark (towards the back cover of the book). Turn the 10 wing pages to the left side of the book. Grab the bottom left corner of the first page, line it up with the spine, and repeat. Wings complete…

Now comes the folding of the body. Because the wings mark your right and left sides, you no longer need those bookmarks (keep your center bookmark though). Go back to the left side. We’ll begin folding the body where we left off with the left wings. Grab the top right corner of the left page. Fold the top right corner down to the spine. Once you have done so, grab the bottom right corner. Fold the bottom right corner up to the bottom of the triangle created by folding the top right corner to the spine. (If you need clarification, hopefully the picture helps.)




Repeat with each page until you reach the center bookmark. Once again, we’ll do the same process, but in reverse. Go to the right side, where you left off with the right wings. Grab the upper left corner of the left page. Fold the upper left corner down to the center of the spine. Now fold the lower left corner up to the triangle created by the upper left corner fold. Repeat with all the pages until you reach the center.



Now we should have something that looks like this…


Now comes the head…


You’ll need a styrofoam ball that’s proportionate to the hymnal body you selected. Use the strips cut out from the pages we removed at the beginning to cover at least half of the styrofoam ball. Coat each strip in glue to “décapage.”


The half of the angel head remaining uncovered by music paper will be covered by spanish moss for the angel’s hair, but if you’d like to cover more of the styrofoam you can. Once finished, set it aside to let it dry completely.

Next, we’ll need to center a doily on the spine of the angel.


Once the face has dried, use a hot glue gun to attach spanish moss for the angel’s hair. Now we’ll need to affix the head to the hymnal. I’ve found a sharpened pencil works great for this. Center the head on the pencil and jam the sharpened end into the styrofoam (… as violent as that sounds…).


The pencil will conveniently slide down the spine of the book. I like to use the hot glue gun to gob some glue along the pencil, firmly attaching it to the spine.


The final steps are optional, but help to make the angel look a bit more polished. I use a ribbon to tie a bow around the neck, and form a halo from a small bit of wire to stick into the styrofoam.


Ta da! You’ve now recycled an old hymnal into an angel. The more you make, the faster and more comfortable you get with them. They make great homemade Christmas gifts/decorations, but the one I made for my mom sits on our piano all year… A fitting display for every occasion. I hope my directions made sense, but if you have any questions feel free to contact me in the comments! Good luck!


2 thoughts on “Angelic Recycling

  1. Teresa says:

    Hello. My first time here but I wanted to say how much I enjoy this inspiration.
    Can’t say I’ll be doing it as I love books and last year I made a cofret for a jewel from one and kept waiting for Santa telling me I’d been a bad girl… my hands trembled – really – while cutting the book. Yes, I’m that silly.
    But I have a friend who’d love one of these… If I find a hymn book it’s a sign I’ll be making this. Even if I don’t this is GREAT! Well done and so well explained. Thank you!

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