30+ Upcycling Ideas for Old Books

30+ Upcycling Ideas for Old Books

What to do with old books – upcycle or leave alone? It can be a controversial topic (the repurposing of books) and one I’ve grappled with myself. I am a casual collector of vintage books, particularly the ones with crumbling leather binding, and I use them around our home for decorative purposes. But other books are considered less “visually valuable”, so I’m always interested in finding new upcycling ideas for old books.

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For instance, these old books will NEVER be upcycled in my home…they are perfect as vintage decor.

Decorating with old books from a thrift store as eclectic decor

Neither will these. Antique books have so much texture and history; even if they’re falling apart at the seams, they’re ideal as eclectic decor.

Using vintage books in home decor as well as upcycling ideas for old books and repurposed book projects compiled

But what about old encyclopedias from the thrift store? I upcycled these into fun Halloween magic books or spell books

Making a Halloween Spell Book from an Old Yearbook

See those vintage books in the photo above? I’ll never, ever do a THING to them- that I can promise you. But there are oodles of old books out there that are just waiting to be dusted off and re-imagined into something new.

From trashy romance novels, to mass produced hardcovers from the 1990s, to outdated encyclopedias that make no mention of current day topics, thrift stores are usually overrun with old books.

And if you’re interested in discovering new repurposed book projects, then this collection of inspired ideas is just what you’ve been look for!

Upcycling Ideas for Old Books

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So…what do you think? Is there a repurposed book project in your future?

As for me, I love the book craft project that takes new-ish books and makes them look old with paint…I think that one would be particularly fun to try! And whether you want to repurpose the entire book…just the binding…or just the pages, there are endless upcycling ideas for old books.

And don’t forget to check out my first book, too!

Crafting with Flannel by Sarah Ramberg

If you enjoyed these upcycling ideas for old books, then you’ll love these vintage decor bookends made from architectural salvage!

Wood bookends as vintage farmhouse decor with architectural antiques

Craft on!


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The following are affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.



  1. wow!! Lots of ideas!! 🙂

  2. Have you seen Vivian Swift’s castles she makes out of old books set on open pages? They’re brilliant. And I used to have a lamp made out of stacked books … downsized and couldn’t keep everything.

  3. Wow what neat ideas for repurposing old books. Ireally love that jewelry box made from books !

  4. I just found your website. Wonderful uses for old books! I take old books, thrift store finds, and I gut them (remove all the pages) and then put junk journals inside. These make a tidy income, what my Mom called “pin money”. So glad to see so many other ways I can use them!

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