Encyclopedia Shops

I found a set of old encyclopedias for this project in a flea market shop while I was visiting friends in Minnesota.

(Click images for more details)

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Shops on shelf Shops lit up Shops exterior Seamstress shop Seamstress interior Bakery exterior Bakery interiorv  Office exterior Office interior

The construction steps:

Encyclopedias Book covers Hollowed out books Windows and doors cut in LED lights Café interior Office interior Seamstress interior Bakery interior Office interior Office window
Shops on shelf

The finished set of shops on a shelf.

Shops lit up

The shops with the lights turned on.

Shops exterior

Another view of the shop exteriors.

Seamstress shop

Looking through the window of the seamstress shop.

Seamstress interior

The interior of her shop.

Bakery exterior

The exterior of the Give Thanks Café and Bakery.

Bakery interior

Interior of the café.

Office exterior

The lawyer’s office.

Office interior

Interior of the office.


Stack of the encyclopedias.

Book covers

The covers of the books protected with plastic wrap from the glue used to seal the ends of the pages.

Hollowed out books

Books were hollowed out with a bandsaw, leaving intact the two opposite end covers of each room set. I used 7 or 8 books for each room. Leaving whole one cover at each end of the set gives you access to the interior of the rooms from either end. For these rooms, I then lined the interior walls with mat board and made a floor out of Gatorfoam Board (it is constructed with a center of foam core sandwiched between two veneers of wood). As I made more of these book boxes, I found it much easier to build a box separate from the books, finish it, then insert it to the hollowed-out books.

Windows and doors cut in

Windows and doors were cut into each set of books after they were glued together and hollowed out to form rooms. They were trimmed out, and the rooms were lined with mat board.

LED lights

To light the rooms, I used a candelabra light in a socket attached to a cord that could be plugged directly into a wall outlet. I was worried about heat buildup in the boxes from the bulbs, when left on for long periods, but that worry dissolved when I found LED bulbs later, that didn’t get hot. I now use LED type lighting whenever possible.

Café interior

The rooms were finished after lining them with mat board, and building a floor. This is the café interior. I “papered” the walls with cloth. I added a purchased door after painting it.

Office interior

This is the lawyer’s office interior before furnishings were installed. I used cloth to cover the walls and made the door and the window, and the trim.

Seamstress interior

I purchased the window and the door for the seamstress shop. This is the furnished shop.

Bakery interior

The inside of the café and bakery.

Office interior

Furnished Interior of the lawyer's office.

Office window

View of the lawyer's office through the window.