Ideas for transforming used books (the old, awful and outdated ones) and their pages into unique home decor elements.
We could hardly have a series about transforming thrift store items without talking about vintage and used books, could we? I mean, don’t they usually take up a third of the store?
And the vintage books you can find in abundance at thrift stores can be used for lots of things besides reading. Personally, I think they they bring so much to a room’s decor, making it instantly feel lived in.
You can choose to collect books only that you would also want to read, or just those with cool covers in colors you like – as you can tell here, I’m partial to greens and neutral browns.
Whatever color you decide to bring into a room, using a stack of books with pretty, worn covers helps bring a cohesiveness to your space that few other things can match.
Especially at their price point.
You can also create with used books – check out the ideas below for inspiration.
Ideas for Decorating with Used Books
Stack Books Vertically
Besides stacking them vertically like normal, think about making small stacks vertically on a shelf. Choose books that gradually decrease in size for the most interest.
And top the stack with something interesting that you love or has meaning to you, like a small box, candle, potted plant, or animal figurine.
Do you remember the little guy above sitting on the stack from earlier in this thrift store series? It makes me smile whenever I see it.
Besides the wonderfully worn brown leather covers that go with every decor, you can see above the shades of green I look for wherever there are vintage books. Books from the 1930s-50s seem to be when this was a popular color.
Ahhhh, but what about the used books that aren’t so lovely? The type where the content is dull, outdated, bad, or just plain weird? Believe me, there are a LOT of books like that out there – just because something is in print doesn’t automatically make it worth something.
This is when it’s perfectly okay to transform them into something else, by removing covers or tearing out their pages and using them in crafts.
I’m going to be honest with you – when I saw in catalogs a few years ago stacks of books with the covers torn off and tied with jute twine selling for $40 (or more!) I about fell outta my chair. Who on earth would pay for something that is so easy to replicate for a couple bucks?
Heck, probably free since there’s usually a box of books at every yard sale with a “free” sign plastered on it.
This is one look that took me no time at all to copy. I used paperbacks that were awful (really!), ripped the covers off and tied them up in small stacks to use on tables and shelves.
Craft with Book Pages
Here are some of the ways I’ve used book pages to create interesting decor for cheap:
Our fall mantel’s banner that seriously took me about 10 minutes to make.
Last year’s Christmas banner. I glued book page triangles to the back of an old tag banner I had so that it would coordinate with the other book page things I was making.
Last year I also crafted lots of Christmas ornaments and decorations out of some old, unusable books we got from Brian’s parents “free” pile. (Update: here’s a tutorial for the book page rosette on the left.)
I really love how the worn pages instantly add an heirloom effect to the ornaments and with the addition of glitter it gives them that a sort of vintage elegance.
Other Book Page Ideas
- Wrap book pages around candles.
- Shred them to use as gift basket filling.
- Make bows with them.
- framed them as the background for a photo.
Have you used book pages in crafts? What have you made?
This is day 24 in our series (you can click on the button to see all the posts in the category). If you’re wondering what’s up, you can read the introduction to 31 Days of Thrift Store Transformations here.