Decorative Farmhouse Books From Thrifted Old Hardcover Books

5 Materials
2 Hours

I love upcycling old books. Upcycled books match your decor, and also work great in holiday vignettes.It's a fun DIY project!

Pick up a couple of books at the thrift shop. My local thrift shop sells hardcover books for 25 cents each.I like the fabric like book covers best, and vary the book sizes and thicknesses.

I brushed on a couple of coats of Chalked Paint in Chiffon Cream. I brush one coat from top to bottom and one coat from right to left. That creates a crosshatch pattern on the books (like they are cloth covered).

I found this Folkart "Farm Life" Stencil Pack on Amazon. The stencil packs are very reasonably priced for 25 stencils, but they are laser cut from from card stock, and must be "pressed" or "punched out".

I chose this hen stencil from the package for one book. I pounced on the stencil using Ceramcoat Black Acylic Paint and Decoart Chalky Finish Paint in Rouge.

I combined a barn and dairy stencil for the larger book. I used the same two paints for stenciling.

Dewey Decimal System non-fiction numbers were stenciled on the bindings.Want more details on this project, click on my link HERE.

The books were lightly distressed with sandpaper, and waxed with Decoart Creme Wax.

I used my books as decor under my covered patio.

More upcycled book projects can be found HERE (pastel) and HERE. (fall decor)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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4 of 38 comments
  • Becky Matheny
    on Feb 17, 2020

    Love this idea! Am going to try!

  • Flipturn
    on Feb 27, 2020

    Usually public libraries have a 'Free book shelf'. This can be a source of vintage and unique old books still in good enough physical condition to be de-booked, and used for creative projects. All hardcover books used to be assembled with library-biding and very sturdy covers.

    • Flipturn
      on Feb 27, 2020

      You are welcome.

      Also, usually public libraries have a 'Friends of the Library' (or similar name) ; volunteers who hold sales of donated/discarded items to raise money for new and updated materials. These book sales can be another source of inexpensive crafting materials. (magazines, records, tapes, puzzles, etc.)

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