How to Upcycle Old Books Into Cute Home Decor!

Old books. We all have them. We've all seen them. In this case, my neighbor dropped me off a set of enclopedias from the 1980's that were about to go out with her garbage. Rather than see them destroyed, I thought, what I could I with them?

Turn them into home décor of course! But they would need some work.....let's get to it!

Place your book over a jar or can so it opens and exposes the entire hard cover. Paint it in your favorite color! Or even multiple colors! Endless possibilities!
I'm using Junk Monkey chalk type paint. It sticks to just about anything, dries to a matte finish and is super easy to distress! All wins for me! Especially because I want these books to look old......(older than 1980's!)
Next up you can do some glazing. This is a medium used to "antique" your item. I'm using Junk Monkey Antiquing glaze. It doesn't hide your paint. Rather
it sits on top of it and is used to replicate dirt and aging. You can decide if you want to "age" your book cover, I also "age" the pages too.

(Note: If you want to be able to open your book later, just paint the cover, and do not get any product on your pages themselves!)
Can you see what I mean with the darkening it adds?
Here's where you can do some distressing with a sand pad! I love a medium grit. I give some swipes all over the book and especially to the spine and edges.
Now think about stencils you want to add! I love to collect them. You can always reuse them later too for more projects! I usually spend only a few
dollars on a stencil. Here are some of my favs!
Ok, let's talk about making these books look even more special! Let's bundle them together ! Get ready with some twine or lace....or what else can you think of?
First, get some twine, or jute, or lace to wrap around your books. Then be ready to add all the fun extras!
Now that you've wrapped them like you would put ribbon on a gift, let's talk about making these books look even more special!

Let's bundle them together and plan out some embellishments! I had fun
at Hobby Lobby looking in their clearance section! Anyone else a deal shopper?
Would you paint yours in neutrals...?
or some fun whimsical colors?
Would you try this fun upcycle? Super cute for a coffee table, nightstand or shelf!
Great way to repurpose, recyle and relove books that otherwise would have seen their day!
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"Sonia's Shabby Chic - Junk Monkey Paint"

Shabby love,
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Suggested materials:

  • Junk Monkey Paint  (
  • Books  (Local yard sale or thrift store)
  • Twine  (Local Hardware Store)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Lau21784221
    on Jun 2, 2017

    The last book pictured reminded me of a memo board so how about using chalk board paint?
  • Theresa
    on Jun 9, 2017

    Your last picture has an owl in it. Is that as stencil and if so where can I get one?
  • Angela cross
    on Jul 24, 2017

    Not sure what I would do with them. Where would put them?

    • Gail Moseley
      on Jan 16, 2020

      On a book shelf, next to books that are actually housed there, if you have space. A decorative item on a bookcase looks luxurious to me. Try to do a different upcycled book decor on 3 of the shelves, but not on the same side for all.

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