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)

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Organized Clutter
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Susan Susan on Feb 12, 2020

    Love your idea and execution! But did anybody else cringe when they saw that fabulous book full of Paul Simon lyrics?

Join the conversation
4 of 45 comments
  • Sand357 Sand357 on Jan 30, 2021

    These look awesome and love the country look & feel.  For those worried about defacing a book cover and/or taking the chance of devaluing a collectors item....possibly think of making a slip cover first from heavy old paper grocery bags. When we were kids and had a school book in rough shape, we made a book cover (sleeve cover) from grocery bags. You could then paint the sleeve cover, do any stenciling and voila ..... a removable cover with the same idea. Just a thought for those thinking along that idea. The stencils you used are perfect !! Lovely !! Thanks for sharing.

  • Tam Tam on Feb 02, 2021

    O.M. GOODNESS!!!!!

    WHAT a FABULOUS idea!!!