Book Crafts and Projects

Book Crafts and Projects

Books have a way of adding up, don’t they? Whether it’s the stack on your nightstand or the thrift store shelves that are stuffed with unwanted hardcovers, there are definitely more books than there are concurrent readers. Thankfully, there are a lot of book crafts you can make with the ones you don’t plan on re-reading (or ever reading in the first place).

The Controversy of Book Crafts

Upcycling ideas for old books or encyclopedia from the thrift store for boho decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Truth be told, crafting with books is a polarizing topic. Purists can’t stand the idea of books being used for anything other than reading. And while antique books and exquisite copies of leather bound classics should be cherished and protected, the mass-produced hardcovers of today are a very different story. And as someone who used to work at a bookstore in college, unsold books are often tossed in the trash.

Which means that upcycling and crafting with them is clearly a better solution!

Book Decor

Book decor and photo frames with Reader's Digest Books

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Reader’s Digest books may be vintage, but they aren’t valuable- or contain the full story! But with those delightfully patterned covers, they are a favorite of crafters for making all sorts of book crafts, including photo frames like these.

Decorative Painting

stack of decorative books

Image credit: Organized Clutter.

A stack of “blah” books can become a decorative element with a little paint, some transfers, and even wooden embellishments.

Book Page Collage

collage of book pages and vintage paper ephemera

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Need an easy and inexpensive piece of wall art for your home, office, or dorm room? Book pages as a collage are not only fun to create, but you can even cover up a cheap canvas print from the thrift store. And it’s a great way to repurpose an old book that is falling apart, too. Talk about budget-friendly decor!

Knife Block

knife block from books

Image credit: A Crafty Mix.

Books in the kitchen that don’t contain recipes? Why yes, because they can be used as a fun and quirky knife block like this. Such a fun and unexpected way to repurpose old books, that’s for sure.

Fabric Covered Books

fabric covered books for cozy home decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you still want to read the book but don’t care about the cover or spine, then covering it in fabric transforms it into readable decor. Perhaps fuzzy flannel for fall or lovely linen for spring?

Book Clock

upcycling a book into a clock

Image credit: House of Hawthornes.

Is it time to read or time to craft? It’s hard to tell with a fun DIY clock project like this! And another way to enjoy those wonderful patterned covers found on vintage Reader’s Digest books.

Paper Christmas Trees

neutral christmas decor with a receipt spike

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Ok, so this particular example repurposed old sheet music to make these paper trees. But old book pages would be just as cute, maybe even cuter! The bases are antique receipt spikes and all you need to do is tear smaller and smaller squares to create these vintage-inspired paper Christmas trees.

Book Crafts for Halloween

Making a Halloween Spell Book from an Old Yearbook

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Want to make some spooky spell books for your Halloween decor this year? Old yearbooks and encyclopedias from the thrift store are perfect for this mixed media craft project. Plus, it’s so fun to collect all the crafty bits- rubber bugs, salvaged hardware, other odds and ends- that you can use to decorate the covers.

Mini Book Necklace

book necklace from old book pages

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

For the true book lover, this mini book necklace is about as cute as it gets. And it uses real book pages from a book that was falling apart and no longer readable. What a great way to repurpose it for a bibliophile!

Book Lamp

diy lamp from books

Image credit: My Repurposed Life.

Talk about a bright idea- a DIY book lamp that is an absolute delight. It has such a great vintage look, too- perfect if you’re a fan of Dark Academia decor.

Boho Book Stack

Decorative books with bohemian design

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you’re a boho fan and want to add height to your decor, then a stack of boho books like this might be just the thing. Old encyclopedias are given a vibrant makeover and look great holding up a potted plant or funky lamp.

Window Valance

window valance with books

Image credit: Dukes and Duchesses.

Perfect for a kid’s room or home office, this window valance is made from book covers. It adds personality to your room and might also be a fun scavenger hunt to find books in all the right colors.

Framed Wall Decor

book page art

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A lot of old resource books- encyclopedias, atlases, and field guides- have fabulous color plates inside, which are perfect for framing. In this case, fish graphics from a nature atlas were the perfect thing for making some man cave wall art.

Message in a Bottle

diy message in a bottle

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Whether you need thrifty decor for a beach wedding or are creating a coastal-inspired mantelscape, DIY Message in a Bottle is the perfect project. Frugal craft supplies needed include an old book, some sand, and bottles from your recycle bin.

Seasonal Displays

Children's Halloween books and vintage black cat decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

No books harmed with this idea! Seasonal vintage children’s books have great cover graphics that add a whimsical touch to your holiday displays, like this Halloween mantelImagine how charming a Christmas version would be?

Book Crafts and Projects

book crafts and project ideas

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods and My Repurposed Life.

Think you’ll be making any of these book crafts with your unwanted books? There are endless possibilities- this collection is just scratching the surface. Some books should be saved, but all’s fair in love and crafting when it comes to the less valuable copies.

And trust me when I tell you that your local book-overwhelmed thrift store will thank you!

Craft on!


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crafts with old books

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.

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