10 DIY Projects for Your Old Books


While we’re all for donating old, unwanted books, there are some volumes that we find it impossible to get rid of — whether for sentimental reasons or because they’re just too cumbersome to carry. If your bookshelf is getting tight and you’re feeling crafty, why not re-purpose a favorite read into something that you’ll be able to use around the house? Click through for our 10 favorite DIY ideas, in order of intensity. Heads up, most of them will render the book more or less unreadable, so you don’t want to use anything that you might regret later.


Old books, especially children’s books with colorful covers, can make a great clock. All you need in a book, a clock kit, and a drill. Check out a full page of instructions at Design Dazzle. [via Written Word]

Secret Storage Box

A simple place to store stuff or hide valuables, just carve out a secret spot, fill it up, and put it back on the shelf like nothing is different. Wikihow’s got a great guide, including a video.

Invisible Bookshelf

What better use for a book than to help you store more books? You’ll probably want to go with a big hardcover textbook for this one, as it’ll need to be big and you definitely won’t be able to read it again. This one’s a little more heavy duty, as it involves glue and an ‘L’-bracket. See full instructions at Instructables.

Picture Frame

Take advantage of the fact that books, like picture frames, can stand on their own. Here is how.


Want to top your Moleskine-toting friends? Rewrite a classic by gluing a fresh notebook between the covers of a hardcover. You can even leave a few of the first pages in for effect. A walk-through is available at Joe Cassada’s blog. [via Written Word]


LiveJournal user Penwiper337 shows us how to go librarian with this purse made of a few old hardcovers. As you might expect, her instructions involve a good amount of cutting an gluing. [via Boing Boing]


Simple, but bold, you can always use the pages of an old book as wallpaper. Instructions over at Ready Made. [via mental_floss]

A Hardback Book

Perhaps in your search for old books to use you’ve come upon a few withering paperbacks you couldn’t bear losing to wear and tear. Here’s a step-by-step guide to putting a custom hardcover on an old paperback.


True, you can only use a 15-watt bulb, but turns out combining your favorite book and a night light is possible. Directions from Instructables. [via mental floss]


OK, this one’s a little wacky, but yes, pages can make shirts. Kristin Walko made this shirt out of Moby Dick for a contest.

Bonus: Entrance to Secret Room

No list of things to do with books would be complete without a reminder of the classic secret-room-entrance. Here’s the humorous take from Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein.