How to Upcycle a Book Into a Jewellery Box

10 Materials
3 Hours

I know not everyone is a fan of recycling books, but when you have an excessive amount it is better than throwing them away. I work in an aged care home and the public are always donating books to the home, which is now out of control. With no more book shops or swap shops they are ending up in the landfill. So I decided to try and upcycle one. And while I was at it I gave it a mixed media makeover. For people who follow my projects you will know that the way I do my mixed media is very messy and will look like the dogs breakfast at first. But stay until the end you will be pleasantly surprised.

Find a suitable book

Not all book are suitable for this project. You will need a thick book with a paper hardcover. The books with the shiny surface are not suitable for this project because the paint and glue does not adhere very well.

Cutting the book

I marked out the inside of the book with a ruler and pen. To keep the cutting process simple I cut the inside and the outside a rulers width from the edge. And for the sides I used the first and last line of text as a guide. Using a craft knife with a shape blade start cutting through the pages. An issue I found while cutting the inside edge by the spine was that the deeper I got the more the pages moved. This is due the book opening up and moving the edge. But this will be fix later on.

Glue the pages together

To glue all the pages I used Mod Podge. Add a good layer of mod podge to the inside of the book. Try and make sure you cover all the sides.

Protect the cover

To prevent the cover from getting glued shut add some saran wrap between the cover and the pages.

Apply pressure while drying

You will need to add some weight to the book while the mod podge dries. You can put lots of books on top of each other or you can follow my set up. I put a book either side and used wood clamps to hold the pages in place. You can also add a good layer of mod podge to the outside of the pages now so they can dry together.

Line the inside of the jewellery box

I don't have a good picture of how the pages by the spine moved, but you can get an idea from the image above. The side next to the spine cut unevenly, while the other sides cut beautifully. To hide the uneven edge I used self adhesive felt which was cut to size for the inside. You can simply peel off the back and push it inside the base.

Decorating the jewellery box.

Start by adding some texture to the cover using a few different stencils and some texture paste.

Adding the texture paste

Using a spatula add a layer of texture paste over the stencil and remove the stencil straight away. Randomly add these to other areas of the cover using different stencils. There is no wrong or right was to do this and it does not need to be tidy.

This was the cover after adding all the stencils.

Add embellishments to the cover

To do this step it is as easy as just gluing the embellishments to the cover. I generally start with a focal point and add something nice in the centre. For this project, it was the frame and face I made using silicone moulds and resin. Next, you need to fill the cover with embellishment. There is no wrong or right way to do this and they will all look messy at this stage. Try and fill the cover.

  • The rest of the embellishments can be added randomly how ever you want. Here is is list of some of the items that I used. A lot of them you could have laying around your home.
  • stencils
  • Broken earings
  • Broken necklace
  • Decorative Studs/Thumbtacks
  • Assorted craft charms/Steampunk charms
  • Book corners
  • An old keyhole from stripped furniture
  • Buttons
  • Jewellery box legs
  • Braid trim

Zoom in to see details

If you zoom in on this picture you can see other common items that I used. It will look better in the end result if you add some layers. You can do this by putting items on top of each other.

Add legs

To make this look more like a jewellery box and not a book I added some small legs using a hot glue gun. Links to the products used in this project are available on my website in the link at the end of this post.

Paint the book

Paint the whole book black using gesso or acrylic paint. Making sure to cover everything, even the nooks and crannies under the charms.

Adding the silver wax paste

Once the paint is dry, it is time for the magic to happen.

Add the metallic wax paste

You can use any colour you want or even a few different ones. Touch the wax paste with the tip of your finger and rub all the raised surfaces with the coloured wax paste.

The idea is not to cover all the black base coat, you are more highlighting the charms. You can also rub some silver on the sides of the book. The wax paste will take about 12 hours to set. Then you can add 2 coats of clear acrylic spray to protect the cover.

Line the inside cover of the book

To line the inside of the book I used a sheet of Kaisercraft paper. The paper was cut to size and glued inside the book. Once dry you can use your craft knife to cut away the hole.

Complete jewelley box

And that is the jewellery box completed. This is the inside. This is the end result. My daughter said it looks more like a spell book, and some say it looks more steampunk. What do you think?

Finished jewellery Box

More pictures and information is available on my website list below. You cost to make this project will depend on what products you have at home. I bought all items in bulk a few years ago and still using the same ones.

More project you may like

This project was done adding Unicorn spit to glass. This technique is so simple to do a child can do it.

PVC Pipe Photo planters

Another great project using recycled materials are these super cute They are made from recycled PVC Pipe and the images were transferred from photos. Don't you think they would make awesome gifts.

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Sky
    on May 23, 2020

    How do you keep the pages still as you cut lower and lower?

    • Archie
      on May 24, 2020

      You can always clamp the edge of the pages to keep them in place.

  • Karen Bergmann
    on May 23, 2020

    Can you explain your glass vase/wine glass project? I don't see the explanation anywhere, but I may have missed it.

    They're beautiful; it looks like something I might want to try. I have quite a few clear vases that I've saved that I'd like to try some projects on.

    Thank you.

  • Nancy K
    on May 24, 2020

    How many blades did you go through to cut away all the book pages? I have tried this craft in the past and it was very difficult and time consuming to cut the pages evenly. I went through many blades. I would appreciate your advice about what kind of knife and specific blades you used. I used Exacto knife and blades. Thanks!

    • Nancy K
      on Jun 6, 2020

      Thanks for letting me know about the options for heavier razor blade type knife tools. I have one of those gray ones. I didn’t even think about using that before. I appreciate your response.

Join the conversation

4 of 105 comments
  • DrSusan Yorke
    on May 31, 2020

    My 94 -year-old aunt lives in an assisted living facility. She told me recently that someone from the staff has been stealing checks and cash from her room. Your book project just gave me an idea for her room. Book safe.

    • Unique Creations By Anita
      on Jun 1, 2020

      Sorry to hear someone is taking advantage of your aunt that is so sad to hear being an aged care nurse. It would be a good idea.

  • Sandra McCullough
    on Jun 12, 2020

    Absolutely beautiful, love, love, love!!

    Thank you for sharing this, the instructions are clear with every step, looks amazing, what a great gift idea 🥰

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