Proving practically anything can be upcycled and repurposed, books can be transformed into furniture, gifts, decor and useful household items. How many would imagine a stack of old books serving a second life as a nightstand or a lamp?
Of course, damaging or disassembling books might seem blasphemous to many book lovers, but the truth is books can become damaged and many aren’t constructed to last into the next century. While many old books can be donated to schools, libraries and hospitals, but this is not always an option.
To others, books are just objects that can be upcycled like any other old junk. Books can be especially useful materials for paper crafts for obvious reasons, and they make unique home decor for bookworms who want to showcase their passion. There are so many great ideas to upcycle books, a skilled craftsperson could easily launch a small business selling their repurposed literary creations.
How Do You Upcycle a Book?
How do you upcycle a book? There’s no simple answer to that question since the process depends entirely on how the book is being repurposed. Most books, however, can be upcycled with very basic tools and crafting materials like scissors or a box cutter, glue, paint and twine. Other book upcycling projects might involve more materials such as a clock-making kit or lighting kit.
15 Great Ideas for Book Lovers to Upcycle Old Books
Need a great idea for upcycling old books? Are you looking for the perfect gift for your favorite book lover, unique home design to match your office or library, or perhaps you’re hoping to upcycle enough books to start a small business?
Regardless when they were originally published or in what condition they remain, practically any old book can be upcycled into gifts, decor or household goods. Check out the following 15 creative ways to use old books and upcycled book projects ideas:
1. Upcycle Vinage Books Into Home Decor
image: Rekindle My Dwelling
Old vintage books might not always be in pristine condition, but they can be transformed into beautiful home decor to match any scheme. With a little paint, some stickers or steinciles and a long piece of twine, you can create a stacked books decoration to adorn a bookshelf or table in any room.
2. Create a Storybook Photo album
Looking for a unique way to use an old children’s book? How about converting it into a one-of-a-kind photo album? Children will delight at seeing photos of their family in place of their favorite storybook characters. Just cut out certain photos in a children’s book and replace them with photos appropriate to the fairy tale.
3. Craft a Decorative Bunting from Book Pages
image: Laura Radniecki
Old book pages can become practically anything made of paper, and that including party decorations. Instead of paying the sometimes lofty price for decorations, you can make banners and bunting from a few pages of an old book. Colorful old pages from a children’s book also make attractive buntings to decorate a nursery.
4. Design Charms for Book Lovers
image: Crafts by Amanda
Damaged books can still serve plenty of purpose. You only need some small scraps of book pages to create unique charms that bookworms will love to wear. You can make a special gift by turning pages of your loved one’s favorite book into lovely charms for a bracelet or necklace.
5. Upcycle Old Book Covers
image: Girl in the Garage
A book does not have to become trash because it has a damaged cover. You can breath new life into old books by upcycling their covers with cloth. Upcycling book covers is an awesome craft that can save old books, allowing them to be enjoyed for years to come. Plus, these upcycled books make beautiful gifts.
6. Craft a Repurposed Jewelry Box
image: Unique Creations by Anita
Looking for a DIY project with an old book? A unique way to upcycle old books is transforming them into functional items like jewelry boxes. With the proper tools and materials, you can hollow out an old book’s pages and fill it with all sorts of baubles and gems.
7. Turn a Few Pages Into a Floral Bouquet
image: 100 Layer Cake
Looking for inspiration for your celebration? You can create an ultra-unique bouquet for your wedding or centerpieces for another special event and showcase your love of books. A single page of an old book can be folded into a lovely flower, but with a few pages you can create an entire bouquet from good books.
8. Upcycle Books Into a Lamp
The only limit to upcycling used books is your imagination. Old books even can be repurposed into a stylish table lamp that is sure to light up any office or library. You’ll need a few books for this upycling crafts, as well as a lamp shade and a lighting kit. Turning books into upcycled furniture also can turn into a successful small business idea.
9. Repurpose an Old Book as a Clock
image: House of Hawthornes
With a basic clock-making kit, you can repurpose an old book into a functioning timepiece. You can choose books with your favorite cover design, or you can upcycle a stack of old volumes with paint or decoupage to match the stuff in any room of your house.
10. Store Valuables in an Old Book Turned Safe
image: Modpodge Rocks
Much like an old book can be hollowed out to create a jewelry box, books also can be repurposed into storage containers or even safes. Carefully remove the center of the book, and simply close the cover to protect the privacy of what’s stored inside.
11. Upcycle Comic Books Into Coasters
image: Drugstore Divas
The colorful pages from comic books make ideal decoration. Many people upcycle comic books pages into wall art and wrapping paper, but with some basic crafting materials they can be transformed into engaging coasters sure to dazzle kids and adults alike.
12. Use an Old Book as a Planter
image: Dream a Little Bigger
Looking for a unique idea for a planter to decorate your home or to offer as a memorable gift? By hollowing out the pages of a book, you can house small plants like succulents or herbs. The project is a creative way to give the gift of greenery to friends interested in books.
13. Turn Old Book Covers Into Bookmarks
image: Venture 1105
Do you have old books that are practically falling apart? You can salvage more than a few pages by upcycling the covers into unique bookmarks. You’ll only be using the spine or another small portion of a hardcover book, so chances are you can repurpose even the most damaged old books into these memorable items.
14. Frame Book Pages as Wall Art
image: The Navage Patch
Looking for a way to display your passion for books on an empty wall space? Upcycled book pages make fabulous wall art with very little effort. Just pull out your favorite pages and frame them! You might choose larger books that fit standard-sized picture frames, and you can select poignant statements from your favorite authors.
15. Decorate with Book Page Wreaths
image: Happy at Home
By pulling the pages from an old book, you can fold them into individual leaves or blooms, and shape these into a beautiful wreath to hang on your wall for the holidays or all year long. Do not forget this project might require a large number of pages, so be sure you’re starting with a thick used book.
How to Sell Your Upcycled Books
Upcycling books is a fun and creative craft that can be used to turn a profit. So, you probably want to know where to sell handmade items locally or online. With a few upcycled and repurposed books under your belt, you can sell your creations on your own website or an online marketplace. It is a great idea to learn how to sell on Etsy and while you are it also how to sell on Amazon Handmade.
Upcycled books also can be sold locally at flea markets, craft shops and other places like crafts fairs and festivals. All you need to start is your own collection of old books, some crafting supplies and a creative eye. You can then look into how to start an upcycling business, the next thing you know, you’ll be making plenty of money from upcycling a pile of books.