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.

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

Vintage books in home 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.

Decorating ideas for old books as vintage home decor

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

There are oodles of old books out there that are just waiting to be dusted off and re-imagined into something new. For instance, I had a decrepit old field guide that was literally falling apart.

So, I framed some of the color plates as wall decor.

Color plates from a vintage field guide

(And aren’t those reclaimed wood frames amazing? You can find similar versions from this Etsy shop here!)

From trashy romance novels, to mass produced hardcovers from the 1990s, to outdated encyclopedias that make no mention of current day topics, thrift stores are usually overrun with old books.

Making a book necklace from leather scraps and old book pages

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? 

fabric covered books for cozy home decor

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!

Decorative books with bohemian design

Whether you want to repurpose the entire book, just the binding, or just the pages, there are endless upcycling ideas for old books. Whether you use the entire thing or just a single page!

diy message in a bottle

Maybe you’ll even run across a project made with another type of paper (like vintage sheet music) and re-imagine it with book pages, instead!

neutral christmas decor with a receipt spike

And don’t forget, I actually wrote a book, too- “Crafting with Flannel”! It’s a craft book filled with 55 colorful tutorials that all use flannel shirts or flannel yardage. You can purchase it online from Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart.

Flannel craft ideas and projects

Speaking of books, sometimes I upcycle things FOR my books, instead of to them. Such as these boho bookends that I made! They started very plain but ended up quite pretty.

boho bookends as botanical home decor

Craft on!


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Upcycle crafts and repurposing ideas for old books

Upcycled crafts for old books and decorating with vintage books


  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!

  5. Really like all your ideas ! Good ones!

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