Books can transport you to a galaxy far, far away, but you can also bring the galaxy to your books! A “book nook” or shelf insert is a book-sized diorama depicting a scene from your favorite novel or film. With cardboard, paint, and some kitbashing, you can turn a small section of your bookshelf into the iconic Death Star trench. Light it up and you’ll have an eye-catching conversation piece unlike any other.
Here’s what you need to add an epic scene to your already impressive (most impressive) Star Wars book collection.
What You’ll Need
- Large piece of cardboard or foamboard
- Plastic model kit (airplane or other vehicle) kit pieces
- X-Wing Micro Machine or other small toy
- Gray, black, and white acrylic paint
- Adhesive black glitter craft foam sheets
- 30-light strand of battery-powered LED lights (9.5-feet length)
- Hot glue gun
- Duct tape
- Craft knife
- Push pin
- Paint brushes
- Dotting tool (optional)
- Red or orange cellophane (optional)
- Book (to use as a template)
Start Your Craft Run!
Step 1: Begin by selecting a book on your bookshelf that will adjacent to your book nook. It will be your template to determine your book nook’s size.
Step 2: Trace the front cover twice, the spine, and the outline of the bottom of the book on the cardboard or foam board. Cut out the shapes for a total of four pieces.
Step 3: Next, use a ruler to draw a space on top of the two largest pieces, about 1/8 of the cardboard, to mark the top of the trench.
Step 4: Snap and break pieces of the plastic model kit. You can use everything including the pre-molded pieces, sprues, and runners. You can also use scissors to cut large pieces (such as aircraft wings) into rectangular shapes.
Step 5: Set aside two long runners (the outside border pieces) for later.
Step 6: Hot glue the plastic pieces below the line you drew on the two large cardboard pieces and all of the bottom piece.
Use an image of the Death Star trench for reference if needed.
Step 7: Paint the cardboard and plastic pieces you glued with the gray acrylic paint. Be sure to turn the cardboard to get into all nooks and crannies. Let dry. (A second coat might be needed for best coverage.)
Step 8: Paint the cardboard above the line you drew previously with the black paint. Let dry.
Step 9: Paint the remaining piece of cardboard completely black. Let dry.
Step 10: Dry brush the black paint on the grey pieces of the trench to add texture.
Step 11: Dip a dotting tool or end of a paint brush in the white paint. Paint stars on the black areas of cardboard. Let dry.
Step 12: Once all paint is dry, flip over the cardboard pieces to the back sides. Use the duct tape to attach the two larger pieces with the thin stars strip in the middle, and the bottom piece to the middle at the back end only.
Tip: Duct tape allows more flexibility than glue, especially if you need to make adjustments later.
Step 13: Measure the long runners you set aside previously to fit against the front cardboard edges of the book nook. Cut them to fit and hot glue them in place.
Step 14: Paint the top of the book nook edges black to match the stars in space. Let dry.
Step 15: Use a push pin to make holes among the painted stars. Use a pencil, dotting tool, or paint brush to make the holes larger. Make as many as you like, but no more than 30.
Step 16: Make two holes where the X-wing’s engines will be. On the back of the cardboard, tape a small piece of red or orange cellophane to make the engine lights stand out in a different color.
Step 17: Tape the strand of lights to the back of the book nook, lining up the LED bulbs close to the holes in the cardboard. Twist and bend the wire to line it up but keep it pressed against the cardboard as flat as possible.
Step 18: Hot glue the X-wing to the center of the back cardboard piece. Make sure the sides of the nook can still close and model pieces won’t push against the X-wing.
Step 19: Test the LED lights and make any adjustments as needed.
Step 20: Fold up the sides and bottom cardboard piece and tape them firmly in place. The nook should now look like an open box.
Step 21: Cut the adhesive black craft foam to fit the three back sides of the book nook. Remove the backing and attach it to cover the backs and any lights that might be showing.
Slide the book nook into place on the shelf and hide the battery pack behind some of the other books. You’re ready to make your trench run!
Kelly Knox writes features and DIYs for StarWars.com. Her writing can also be seen on Marvel, DC Comics, IGN, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, games, and crafts.
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