DIY Repurposing

9 Smart Uses for Dusty Old Books

While the thought of destroying a hardcover tome might make some book lovers squirm, there does come a time when an old, musty, or damaged book may have outlived its usefulness. While there's no sense in destroying truly rare and valuable books, for the run-of-the-mill old book, there are many ways to repurpose it. Here are just a handful of ideas.

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Book Wreath

When cut and formed into a DIY wreath, the yellowed pages in an old book lend vintage charm to a rustic room. Here, book pages have been cut, rolled, and glued onto a cardboard round. Because the all-season decor is made of paper, it’s light enough to hang from just about any blank expanse in your home. To make your own, follow the tutorial from A Wonderful Thought.

Related: 16 Insanely Clever Ways to Reuse Household Junk

Picture This

A downside of turning books into decor is that the books are usually destroyed or rendered unreadable in the process. That’s the beauty of this next project, which is achieved by cutting the cover of the book with a utility knife. The interior pages are left in tact and the book is turned into a picture frame by slipping a photo into a plastic protector and taping it to the inside of the cover.

Related: 10 Inventive Ways to Display Family Photos

In Plain Sight

Where do you hide private or sensitive items? Some of the most common hiding places (under the bed, in the sock drawer) are also the first spots that snoops will look. Create a secret stash they’ll never think to raid by covering a wooden box with book spines, as in this clever hack from Jen Woodhouse. When placed on a shelf, the box will look like an ordinary collection of books, although it actually contains any items you’d like to hide from prying eyes.

Related: The Most Cunning Secret Hiding Spots We’ve Ever Seen

Book Shelf

This is one bookshelf that lives up to the name. This project comes together with three books of the exact same width—an important detail that ensures the top of the shelf is level. For the full tutorial, refer to A Piece of Rainbow.

Related: The 9 Most Unconventional Ways to Use an IKEA Shelf

Judge a Book by Its Cover

Who’s to say that a coffee table book must be a large and filled with photographs? An equally elegant choice is to paint the covers on a trio of vintage books in matching colors to create affordable accents for your home.

Related: 11 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Paint DIYs

A Novel Idea

Instructables via LD_P

Succulents can grow almost anywhere, including this unusual planter. To create a planter, the pages of a book are first glued together, then cuts are made in the cover and the pages. After that, the hollowed out area is lined with plastic, filled with soil and a small plant. Keep an eye on this one. Although it’s a cute idea, if the plastic liner comes loose, you could be left with a soggy book, and without drainage holes, your plant could suffer from overwatering.

Related: 13 Creative Designs for Easy DIY Planters

Timeless Garland

You don’t need much more than scissors, string and an old book to make this DIY garland. Cut book pages into any shape you prefer for party flair, holiday decor, or everyday style.

Related: 10 Smart Ways to Snag Free Stuff for Your Home

Reading Light

This short stack of books may look like bedside reading but, in fact, it conceals the wiring that powers the lightbulb. To recreate this little lamp, visit My Repurposed Life for the full tutorial.

Related: 16 Brilliant Lighting Ideas You Can DIY on a Dime

Read All Over

A novel is a form of art in and of itself, but when an old book becomes damaged, there’s a way to turn it into new art. Cut pages from old books and arrange them in a large frame for a meaningful piece of art that takes almost zero effort to assemble.

Related: 14 Easy DIY Living Room Updates Anyone Can Do in a Day

A New Story to Tell

Look around your house and you can probably find some other old items, like your books, that can be crafted into something new and useful for your home.