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June 10, 2013 at 12:34 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Upcycling Timeless Treasures: Books Made New Again

By Kristin McKinney More Blogs by This Author

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. Sitting back with a good book and a hot cup of tea is one of the best feelings in the world. Sometimes I go to antique stores or used book stores just to look at books. I could easily do it for hours. Old books are so cool looking, in some ways, more than they are now. A lot of old books have cool embossed covers, or the hardcover books have different colors on them.

Recently I've been wanting to do some cool crafts with old books because I have a tendency, when in used bookstores, to buy a lot of books. Whether it's because I like the cover, the title or because the content of the book sounds intriguing to me. Like the time I found a copy of an old Robert Louis Stevenson book at a used bookstore in Ireland. Well, recently, I came across some great ideas on pinterest and I thought I'd share them with you.


Book Planter: I'm not a huge gardener, I think they look awesome but I don't like to do it. But when I can get creative with gardening it makes it a bit easier. When I saw this picture on pinterest, where someone used a book as a planter, I thought it was an awesome idea. Now you can display some beautiful plants in a cool looking old book that you can look at whenever you want too. Here are more detailed instructionsor you can use what I posted below.

Start by choosing which book you want to use, the thicker the better. Put handiwrap around your front cover, plus the first page of the book and then the back cover, to help protect them. Take a paint brush and coat the sides of the book pages in modpodge. You will want to use a reasonable amount. When you're finished coating it, place something heavy on top and let it dry for fifteen to thirty minutes.

When it's dry, open the front cover of the book and on the first page draw a rectangle about an inch inward on all sides. Next, take an exacto knife and start cutting on the lines. Try to go down as far as possible so you are cutting more than one page. Do this slowly so the edges don't come out ragged. Once you have cut out all the pages, put modpodge on the inside walls of the hole you made.

Next, coat the frame of the hole; then put the page that had been in the handiwrap down on top of it. Once it has dried, cut out the paper so you can see the hole again. This helps hide the imperfections. Check over the book and make sure it is completely dry, and that you didn't miss any spots were there should be modge podge. You are now ready to add your dirt and a plant and then enjoy the beauty of your new decoration! I went with flowers and found a nice windowsill to put it on.


Bookmarks: I rarely use bookmarks when I'm reading, and it's not because I'm good at remembering my spot; I'm terrible at it. Usually I don't because I just forget to grab one, but it's also because I don't really have any that I like very much. Then I saw a picture on pinterest where someone took the spine of an old book and turned it into a bookmark.

For this project pick out a book that's about a medium-sized thickness, maybe one that you want to use the rest of the cover for something else. Next, open up the book and lay it out face down so it's flat. Take an exacto knife and very carefully cut the edge of the spine, right before it connects to the cover. Do this on both sides.

Once it is cut out, use scissors to make sure the edges are straight. Next, pick some ribbon and cut a small hole out of the top of your bookmark; then slip the ribbon into the hole. You now have one of the coolest bookmarks ever.

open book

Decoration: The pages from old books are very versatile. There's so much you can do with them. Plus you need to do something with them after using the cover for whatever other project you did. You don't want all that paper to go to waste. Here are a few of the ideas I found.

  • Take an old lamp shade, and cover it in pages from a book using modpodge.
  • Create a poem from an old book page by blacking out certain words, then use it todecorate. Or take watercolors and draw cool pictures on them to make it pop.
  • Use book pages to decorate a vintage suitcase or vanity case. You could even use the two above ideas to add more color.
  • Decorate an old coffee table or side table in book pages using modpodge.
  • Cut out shapes from book pages. Do an ovalish shape and cut slits going all the way up for a feather.
  • Modpodge book pages onto a canvas and then paint a design over top of it.


I know there are some people out there who have an issue with books being used for crafts. Well, as someone who hopes to one day have her own book published, I can say I don't mind. There are so many books out there and a lot of them will never be read again, they just sit on the shelf in an antique store or used bookstore. I know that if I ever publish anything, that could happen to my work. But the whole idea of taking something that has been forgotten and gone untouched is to give it new life again, and that's what I do when I craft with books. I give those books a new life, a new purpose, which I think is a noble undertaking. So now it's your turn to do the same. I'd love to hear what you tried out or if you thought of something yourself.

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