30 Brilliant Uses for Old Books (Reuse & Repurposing Ideas)
Needing to clear out old books is bittersweet but when they start piling up, you will certainly run out of space to store them. Even if you don’t have extra books but want to incorporate your book-loving nature into your everyday style, you can easily contact a library or your local thrift shop to get your hands on some.
There are plenty of creative ways to reuse or repurpose old books, so if you are on the hunt for some ideas, you are in luck. Here are 30 different uses for old books that you can get started on today.
30 Uses for Old Books
1. Decor by Etsy
One of the simplest, easiest ways to use old books is by displaying them as décor. If you have some old, vintage-style books you can enhance the aesthetic of any room in your house by color coordinating these books and using them as an accent to the rest of your décor.
Many people will place them on shelves alongside other decorative objects such as plants, picture frames, ceramics, and more. You can tie them together with twine or ribbon or leave them as-is. People even pay money to purchase old books for this reason.
2. Book Lantern by the 3 R’s blog
|Materials:||Book pages, paper lantern, glue|
|Tools:||Glue gun, scissors|
This DIY allows you to take an average paper lantern and put a nice, creative spin on it. It’ll take some time and patience since you will need to cut out proportionate pieces to be glued onto the lantern. It is suggested that you use a glue gun to make things easier. The end result is certainly worth the time and effort, though.
3. Book Page Painting by Mai Autumn
|Materials:||Book pages, watercolor paint|
Are you someone that enjoys both reading and painting? If so, this is a great way for you to repurpose the pages out of old books by using your own creative style. All you need to do is carefully rip out the pages and paint your creation right on them.
It’s best to use watercolor since it is translucent, and you can see the print right through the paint. There are endless options of what you can paint on these pages and it’s sure to draw attention. Many people even sell their paintings just like this to make some extra profit from their unique artwork.
4. Book Page Wreath by Celebrate Everyday With Me
|Materials:||Pizza box lid, pencil or pen, old book, tape|
|Tools:||Scissors, glue gun, compass, metal, metal snips|
You may have already caught on to the popularity of DIY wreaths and there are plenty of different wreath styles you can create with old book pages. With this project, you will need to roll the pages and carefully measure and place them throughout the setup using some metal, tape, and a glue gun.
If you don’t like this style, no worries, there are plenty of different styles of book page wreath ideas all over the place.
5. Printer Art by Home Talk
|Materials:||Book pages, frame (optional)|
This is another super simple way to repurpose book pages and it’ll only cost you the ink in your printer. If you can find an old book with appropriate-sized pages, you can load it up into your printer and then print any picture of your choice onto the page.
This allows you to create your own decor using your unique style at a super low cost. If you want to take it even further you can purchase a frame and display it anywhere you’d like within your home.
6. Coat Rack by Knick Of Time
|Materials:||Old books, wood board, coat hooks, screws|
Would you ever think you could use your old books to make a coat rack? Well, you can with this DIY and it’s not as hard as you would imagine. It doesn’t require a lot of supplies, just a wooden board, coat hooks, some screws, a screwdriver, and some glue.
It will take some patience and attention to detail but once you finish up, you will have a unique and sturdy coat rack to hang up on the wall. You don’t have to make it a coat rack either, you can use it for keys, laundry, or anything else you can think of that needs hanging up.
7. Book Planter by Happily Dwell
|Materials:||Old book, plastic container, rocks, soil, succulents|
This DIY book planter idea is one of our favorites. Succulents are hardy and beautiful little [plants that make incredible home décor. This project allows you to combine your love of books with your love of plants and let’s be honest, it doesn’t get much better than that.
The most time-consuming part of this project is hollowing out the book and adding any personal touches to the outside if you prefer. Once the book is hollowed out, you can get your planter placed in there and filled up with the appropriate soil. You plant the succulents of your choice then top off the area with some decorative rocks.
If you don’t want to worry about keeping a plant alive, just go grab yourself an artificial plant and you skip out on the soil and any additional maintenance that would be required otherwise.
8. Make a Painted Book Stack by A Fresh Squeezed Life
Hardcover books, chalk paint, ribbon, twine, alphabet stamps, artificial plant (optional)
|Tools:||Glue gun, sandpaper, foam brush|
Who knew there were so many home décor ideas for repurposed books? This one allows you to get creative and personalize your décor however you please. You don’t need a lot of supplies for this DIY and it’s super easy to do.
You will want to be detailed during the painting and stamping processes to ensure everything is even. Once you finish, you can top off the project by tying some twine around the books and placing an artificial plant or any other décor of your choosing to finish it.
9. Book Knife Block by Home Talk
|Materials:||Hardcover books, twine|
Instead of opting for your average knife block, pull out some old books and put them to use with this simple DIY. All you have to do is tie them together securely with twine and place your knives between the pages.
You can make this project simple or take it to the next level by decorating the books to fit your kitchen aesthetic. Regardless, this is a unique and easy way to repurpose any hardcover books you have laying around.
10. Hidden Storage by Girl In The Garage
|Materials:||Old books, small wood crate, nails,|
|Tools:||Hammer, glue, clamps, scissors|
This hidden storage DIY is very creative, and no one would ever guess that the books on your shelf are actually a storage space for any random items of your choosing. All you need is an old crate and some simple tools to get this project done.
11. DIY Bookmarks by Pinterest
|Materials:||Spines from old books, ribbon|
What better way to use old books than to repurpose them as a bookmark for the new ones? This DIY is simple, cheap, and easy. All you need to do is carefully remove the pages, cut out the spine of the book, then use a hole puncher toward the top to tie in your ribbon.
12. Pencil Holder by Laira Martinez
|Materials:||Hardcover books, cardboard, tin can|
|Tools:||Scissors, glue, X-acto knife, compass set|
This DIY pencil holder will make a great addition to any desk. You take a few books, measure the size of your tin can, and then cut it accordingly so that it can fit evenly down in the stack. You will need to use some cardboard and glue to get all this together securely.
13. Banner by Sarah Joy Blog
|Materials:||Book pages, foam stamps or stencil, string, tape|
If you want to create a banner that screams book-lover, you can try out this DIY and make any kind of banner you like by using the pages out of old books. This project is super easy and cheap, but it will look flawless if you take your time and keep the lettering symmetrical.
Other than the old book pages, all you need are some foam stamps (or some stencil and something to fill in the letters with) then some string and some tape to hang it up.
14. Jewelry Box by Lindsey Lawson
Old book, acrylic paint, Mod Podge Gloss, scrapbook paper, clip art, 4 wooden beads, 4 photo corners
|Tools:||Scissors, E6000 glue, pencil, ruler|
If you want to get a bit more intense in your craft, try out this jewelry box DIY made from old hardcover books. It’s a great way to disguise your jewelry stash as a fancy book you keep on your shelf. You will want to make sure that you get all your needed supplies before you get started.
This project is one of the more difficult ones, but it can easily be done by even the most novice DIYer as long as you follow the instructions carefully.
15. Wallpaper by The Life Of Halle
|Materials:||Book pages, spray adhesive|
Wallpaper may have gone out of style, but this is a type of wallpaper you didn’t see back in the old days. If you want to touch up your bedroom and fill the walls up with book pages, all you need is some spray adhesive and some carefully ripped-out pages and you have yourself your own wallpaper.
16. Binder or Planner by Mabey She Made It
Old book, book rings, spray glue, rubber cement, decorative paper,
|Tools:||Scissors, pencil, drill, drill bit, eyelet kit, paper cutter, hole punch|
You can always find a use for a binder or a daily planner, so why not make one from an old book rather than go out and purchase them? This project isn’t too hard, but you will need to stock up on the supplies and make sure you have the entire list before you sit down and get it started.
This will require some extra tools, but for the most part, these are easily found in the house, especially if you are a seasoned DIYer.
17. Tablet Case by Guidecentral English
|Materials:||Old book, fabric, glue, elastic band, cardboard|
|Tools:||Box cutter, scissors, drill, pencil|
At this point, most people have a tablet handy, and you don’t want to risk carrying this fragile device around without a case to protect it. While there are plenty of cases on the market, this handy little DIY will show you step-by-step how to turn an old book into a tablet case. You will need to make sure you find a book that is size appropriate to your particular tablet, though.
18. Necklace by Mandy [Mandipidy]
Book pages, 30” chain, poster board, glue, quarter, varnish, pearls, jump rings, lobster clamps
The jewelry you can make from old books can be absolutely stunning. There are quite a few different DIY projects for old book-related jewelry, but this one was by far our favorite. It will take a bit of work and precision, but the end result can be paired with many cute ensembles.
19. Picture Frame by Its Always Autumn
|Materials:||Hardcover book, page protector, a sheet of paper, masking tape|
|Tools:||X-acto knife, ruler, pencil, scissors, cutting mat|
You can very easily turn an old book into a picture frame without ruining the picture or the book. Follow this simple DIY that doesn’t require too many supplies and learn how to capture your memories while simultaneously displaying your love of reading.
20. Organizer by Wings Of Whimsy
|Materials:||Old book, glue, sewing kit, button or beat, acrylic paint|
If you could use an organizer for your papers or mail, try this DIY out for size. It will require some sewing knowledge, but it’s nothing a novice cannot do. You can personalize this organizer by painting it and decorating it to your liking.
21. Decorative Bottles by Acultivated Nest
|Materials:||Book Pages, old bottles, spray paint, adhesive|
|Tools:||Scissors, cut out images|
If you are into repurposing, here’s a double whammy. If you have some old bottles and some old books, you can easily turn them into decorative pieces for the home. All you have to do is spray paint the bottles a color of your choice, cut out any design you wish for the book pages, and put them on with some adhesive. It’s as simple as that, and it looks great, too!
22. Book Page Flowers by Busy being Jennifer
|Materials:||Book pages, glue, floral wire, ribbon or lace|
|Tools:||Glue gun, scissors, pencil, or pen|
These DIY book page flowers are fun to make and can be decorated to match whatever season you are in. This is a great craft to get the kids in on, too. You can make many different floral designs with book pages, so if roses don’t suit your fancy, don’t give up on the idea. You will need to find instructions for each different flower type.
23. Shelf by Real Simple
Hardcover book, 2 L-brackets (4”x4”), #10 x 1-1/4″ flat head screws, #10 x 1-1/4″ plastic anchors
|Tools:||Level, drill, ¼” drill bit, hammer, pencil, hobby knife|
A shelf probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind when you are thinking up different DIYs to do with your old books. There is a way to turn old hardcover books into a hanging shelf though, and you can even get more creative by creating some space between the books for multiple platforms. This won’t be as easy as some of the other simpler repurposing ideas, but it’s not too hard, either.
24. Decorative Book Clock by Laira Martinez
|Materials:||Hardcover book, clock kit|
|Tools:||Box cutter or craft knife, metal ruler, awl tool|
If you’ve never seen a decorative book clock, you’re missing out. This handy idea isn’t just for decoration either, when you use a clock set it will work just like any other clock around the house. Though it sounds a bit difficult, it’s actually one of the easiest DIYs that involves tools. You will want to use a hardcover book that you like the looks of (or you can decorate the book as you wish) and the unique clock kit of your choosing.
25. Book Clutch by Caught On a Whim
Hardcover book, Matte Mod Podge, fabric, needle and thread, clasp, wax paper, wood glue, epoxy glue
|Tools:||Wooden paint stirrer|
Who doesn’t need an additional clutch laying around the closet? With this DIY you can make your own clutch out of an old hardcover book. This will require some attention to detail and precision along the way, but you can end up with a cute and stylish new clutch to carry around your necessities.
26. Stacked Book Table Lamp by B l a n c h e F l e u r
|Materials:||Hardcover books, lamp shade, lamp kit, spray paint, screws|
|Tools:||Drill, ½” drill bit, screwdriver,|
This DIY is one of the more time-consuming repurposing ideas for old books, but the result is a very unique lamp that will be perfect for any book lover. You can either leave the outside of the books as is or you can decorate them to suit your needs. You will need some tools, paint, a lamp shade, and a full lamp kit to get this one done.
27. Book Page Garland by The Shabby Creek Cottage
Garland can be used during any season to add some personality to the room. This super easy DIY will allow you to turn the pages of old books into a nice, decorative garland you can hang on the mantle. There are many different garland designs you can make, so make sure to check them out.
28. Homemade Christmas Ornaments by Maison De Pax
|Materials:||Book pages, plaint ornament, glue|
A wonderful holiday tradition is making homemade Christmas ornaments that you can cherish for years to come. What book lovers wouldn’t want to get good use out of their old books by displaying their love of reading on the Christmas tree? After all, the Christmas list is probably full of new books anyway, right? You can even get the kids in on this project, they are sure to enjoy this craft and it’s a very simple process.
29. Headboard by Recyclart
|Materials:||Sheets of wood, books|
|Tools:||Hammer, nails, marker|
Everyone loves a sturdy headboard for the bed, but did you ever think about using your old books to create a unique, personalized headboard? With this DIY you certainly can. You just need to get sheets of wood for the support and then nail the books down. This process isn’t as easy as it sounds because this will require specific placement of the books and a lot of attention to detail but any DIYer can get it done.
30. Book Page Origami by Todolwen
|Materials:||Book page, thin wire, ink pad, glue|
|Tools:||Scissors, wire nose pliers, ruler, pencil|
This is basically just origami but with book pages. If you have an old book laying around, take out the pages and use them for your folding creations. There is no shortage of different designs you can make and it’s sure to keep your hands busy and your mind occupied.
Other Options for Clearing Out Old Books
Give Away Books within the Community
Before you discard your old books, reach out to friends and family to see if anyone would be interested in what you have. They may even know someone that would gladly take in your books. There’s no better way to repurpose your books than to allow others to enjoy them.
Try reaching out to some local organizations, a community center, or even the library to see if you can donate some of your material. There are charities dedicated to literacy that may be able to benefit from an influx of new books. If that doesn’t work, donate to your local thrift store that can either give them away or resell them. Check out the American Library Association for more information on donating books.
If you have any old educational textbooks or recently published books you are needing to get rid of, you can try selling them for a small profit. Many places will buy gently used books and even some local bookstores may be interested.
Before you go discarding your old books, be sure to look into the many crafty ideas for repurposing. It’s hard to believe that fellow DIYers were able to think up some of these incredible ways to reuse old books, but we are glad they did. If you still have an overload of books you need to part ways with, try out some of the additional tips provided that will allow you to repurpose while taking them off your hands entirely.
Featured Image Credit: jarmoluk, Pixabay
- 1 30 Uses for Old Books
- 1.1 1. Decor by Etsy
- 1.2 2. Book Lantern by the 3 R’s blog
- 1.3 3. Book Page Painting by Mai Autumn
- 1.4 4. Book Page Wreath by Celebrate Everyday With Me
- 1.5 5. Printer Art by Home Talk
- 1.6 6. Coat Rack by Knick Of Time
- 1.7 7. Book Planter by Happily Dwell
- 1.8 8. Make a Painted Book Stack by A Fresh Squeezed Life
- 1.9 9. Book Knife Block by Home Talk
- 1.10 10. Hidden Storage by Girl In The Garage
- 1.11 11. DIY Bookmarks by Pinterest
- 1.12 12. Pencil Holder by Laira Martinez
- 1.13 13. Banner by Sarah Joy Blog
- 1.14 14. Jewelry Box by Lindsey Lawson
- 1.15 15. Wallpaper by The Life Of Halle
- 1.16 16. Binder or Planner by Mabey She Made It
- 1.17 17. Tablet Case by Guidecentral English
- 1.18 18. Necklace by Mandy [Mandipidy]
- 1.19 19. Picture Frame by Its Always Autumn
- 1.20 20. Organizer by Wings Of Whimsy
- 1.21 21. Decorative Bottles by Acultivated Nest
- 1.22 22. Book Page Flowers by Busy being Jennifer
- 1.23 23. Shelf by Real Simple
- 1.24 24. Decorative Book Clock by Laira Martinez
- 1.25 25. Book Clutch by Caught On a Whim
- 1.26 26. Stacked Book Table Lamp by B l a n c h e F l e u r
- 1.27 27. Book Page Garland by The Shabby Creek Cottage
- 1.28 28. Homemade Christmas Ornaments by Maison De Pax
- 1.29 29. Headboard by Recyclart
- 1.30 30. Book Page Origami by Todolwen
- 2 Other Options for Clearing Out Old Books
- 3 Conclusion