Create a Fresh, New Look by Decorating With Books

9 Materials
2 Hours

I'd like to first tell you this isn't a new craft, just new to me and now that I've tried it I love the results. This is a great craft for a relaxing, girls night or with your family on a snow day which was actually brought me to try this craft now !
Supplies Assembled
Grab some old books, chalk or acrylic paints, paint brushes, stencils, rubber stamps and ink pads, scrapbooking supplies or whatever you have and prepare to have some fun.
Remove the Protector
See how expensive my decor is? Haha, it cost me one dollar for this one!
Painting the first coat of paint
I chose a coral chalk paint that I added black to to give me this shade of brown, you see I'm painting them to match another project that I just completed. I'll be using coral, yellow and brown along with gold and bronze accents.
Creating Custom Chalk Paints
I'm going to let you in on a tip, you see that can of chalk paint in linen white? Well here locally I paid over $30.00 for it and we all know chalk paint goes a long way. I used to buy the jars for my small projects but they cost $15.00 plus sales tax so I came up with a way to spend less and have more!
Artists Paint Set
I bought the can of white and poured it into the four clear jars, each one I added a few drops of my artists paints into to give me a desired color. I have a gray, a sage green, a cream and a slate blue shade plus a small container on top of the original linen white all 5 colors for $30.00!
Second Coat of Paint
Sorry, back to our registered programming.... on with the second coat of paint and I used the old hair dryer to speed up the drying process.
Paint Inside Edges
Flip your book over the paint the inside edges that get seen even when the book is closed. I chose a smaller brush to get in the tiny spaces.
Gold Metallic Paint
I chose to fancy up the paper as well, close the book tight and brush the top and bottom sheets, I've planned something different for the side.
Applying Stencil
I had these small, fun stencils that came with an engraving tool and they fit this project perfectly. I taped the pages together tight with a few pieces of painters tape because I needed two hands for the stenciling. Using the same metallic paint and stencil brush I filled in the swan pattern.
Finished View Stencil Added
I removed the tape and gave a few light passes on the right and left sides of the swan with the gold shimmer which created a worn look to the pages I thought.
Adding Rubber Stamp Design
Again using painters tape I created three stripes using the gold paint and then using my rubber stamp to put a design on the bottom. Another couple of my stamps created the title of the book....Beautiful Voyage. One book done and two more to get done.
Painting Book Spine
This one I liked the linen feel of the book but the spine needed an update to cover the old title. As a base coat I applied the previously used brown and then gave it a few light coats of yellow.
Rubber Stamp
I sanded the edges with sandpaper to give the book a worn appearance and stamped it with its new title...Paradise. Two down, one to go, see this is easy!
Cover Stuck to the Tape
This one I thought was going to be so easy, it was already brown so I just needed to paint the spine coral....wrong! You see this one had a flat paper finish and even the painters tape stuck to it! What to do now?
Dry Brush Coral Chalk Paint
Nothing but to do a dry brush over it all to cover over the boo-boo! 🤗 I think it looks better than before because it shows all of the grain lines on the cover, problem solved!
Birdhouse Stencil
So not only am I matching these books to the color scheme of my previous decor project but also to the theme. This is where your stencils come in handy, I chose a birdhouse for the front cover and I used a bronze metallic paint this time.
Bronze Painted Page Edges
In addition to the stenciled cover I highlighted the page edges with the bronze metallic on this book as well, I love the shimmer.
More Bronze Metallic Accents
I added the last bit of shimmer to the spine because remember it was just plain coral before, book number three is finished. Now I bet you wanna see how they all look together right?
Completed Revised Book Stack
You'll notice I added on a little key to the bottom book, I glued it in place with Aleenes Tacky Glue. I purchased the keys as necklace charms in the craft section at my dollar store.
Overhead View of Book Stack
Here's the view looking down at my stencilled cover, so sweet with the little bird resting beside it.
Another View
Here is the full display so you'll get the full understanding of what I was trying to achieve. I wanted a book stack to match my new epoxy tree slice both in color and theme and I think I achieved it. You just have to try the book decor, I'm hooked! I've already started a new set, maybe with a nautical vibe this time. Thanks for viewing everyone!
Nautical Style Book Set
Update: I did create a nautical themed set using the same supplies as listed above just in different colors.
Sailboat Stencilled Cover
See there the sailboat book even got a gold stamp for best seller? Haha it was a sticker that was in my amongst my supplies.
Nautical Book Display
The rope design and sailboat were part of a stencil set in the Martha Stewart nautical theme seen in the first photo of this post.
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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Cathy
    on Jan 11, 2020

    I use books as decor also, but instead of just being a pretty stack to the side. A lot of times I use them as step risers to add different heights to my display. I also have many maybe too many antique books that I love the original art style. What's not to love about a book title such as "The Cock the Fox and the Little Red Hen"? Too much fun & can't help but to leave that one as is. But for old text books I can see the desire to change up the cover from boring to fun maybe even add fabric before painting especially if a slick cover to start with. Just to give it a texture like most older books have ,or thin leather for the spines. Do like idea & have plenty of text books so yeah I will probably do this to some. Maybe even glue pages together & use jig or scroll saw to cut into letter shapes, totally different project but super cool.

    • Sea Trace Creations
      on Jan 11, 2020

      Yes, so many, many options! Burlap, fabric or paper covered I'm definitely going to try. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Tay
    on Jan 14, 2020

    Do you have a picture of the final products on display?

  • Karen
    on Jan 18, 2020

    What a great idea! Could you post a photo of your finished project? Thanks for sharing your creativity.

Join the conversation

4 of 33 comments
  • Tay
    on Jan 15, 2020

    Thanks for your reply. The pictures did not load last night when I was reading your blog. They look great. What a fun project. I’m going to paint some of my old books.

    • Sea Trace Creations
      on Jan 15, 2020

      Awesome, I thought that's what might have happened because another Hometalker asked the same question on another post. So glad it worked for you this time and enjoy making your new, old books.

  • Varietyvintage
    on Jan 15, 2020

    Beautiful decor! Looks great. Nice Job! I have bunches of old books; think I'll try this.

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