DIY Chalk Painted Books

4 Materials
$20
1 Hour
Easy
I know I’m not the only one out there that loves Restoration Hardware’s vintage book sets?! I am not however in love with the price so I convinced myself I could make my own. These DIY books have a somewhat vintage style and I fell in love with the way they turned out so much that I couldn’t wait to rip apart all of my old books!  So let’s learn how to make some DIY Vintage Books – Restoration Hardware Inspired!
You’ll want to start with an old set of encyclopedias (or they don’t have to be old)! I found these at a flea market and I couldn’t pass up grabbing a few for this project. They actually don’t have to even be encyclopedias, just as long as they are hard cover they will work best.
Next you’ll want to grab chalk paint in the color of your choice. I used Annie Sloan’s Old White because it is what I had on hand
I laid down some craft paper and grabbed my chip brush and started painting the backs of the encyclopedias. I ended up using about 2 coats on the books. The red seemed to bleed through. After the second coat it still came through a bit, but I liked it so I left it at 2 coats.


At this point I gave my books a light coat of clear wax over the Old White finish so in case I messed up with my dark wax, I could just wipe it off and start over! This stuff is amazing!
The key to giving these beauties a real vintage look was to give them a little dark wax love. I have grown to absolutely love dark wax. I was intimidated at first before I knew how to use it, but now it’s one of my favorite ways to give things that restoration hardware look. Just like my chalk painted chandelier which achieved it’s look thanks to dark wax!
You’ll want to rub on a small amount of dark wax and then immediately go behind it with an old rag or sock and wipe it off. This will leave that vintage look without having clumps of dark wax all over the books.
I was so happy with the way they turned out and I ended up using them in several different places around the house to style with.
This look great laying around different places in the house. Use them to style a few shelves, maybe sit on a desk, or even greet your visitors in the entryway!
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Holly Conway
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  2 questions
  • Debra Debra on Dec 01, 2017
    Could you tell me exactly what you mean by the light wax? I do art and am desperate for ideas on glossing/sealing/finishing. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us!

  • Gwa30444420 Gwa30444420 on Mar 26, 2018

    Are the books ever moved? Can they slip in and out of the book cases or places easily or as easily as they did before being painted? I still use a lot of my books and return them to their places often.

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