Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bookish: Upcycled & Repurposed Books and Pages

I have always loved books, and have to admit I am a "book collector!" I don't just love to read books though - I love the feel of a book in my hands - it's heft, the texture of it's pages, the gilt of the artwork and lettering on an antique pressed cover...and of course, since learning to read in childhood, the thought of what wonderful secrets could be hidden inside. 
I love books.

But what about altering and repurposing books? 
Years ago the thought would never have entered my mind because my books - they were sacred to me. But after years of going to used book sales and increasing my collection to the point of ridiculousness - I mean, I had books that I bought for $1 whose pages were loose and falling out but they had fabulous antique Art Nouveau covers -  it was at this point I realized, there was no actual monetary value in this damaged book - the only value it had was sentimental value to me, due to its cover art. To most anyone else, it would have been considered trash.  This is the perfect example of a book worthy of recycling into something completely new. Check out these examples of recycled, repurposed and upcycled books and book pages and I think you'll agree that art can indeed be created from an old, damaged book.

Book page mobile

Book bench

Book cover headboard

Storage bin made from book spines by Roadsidephotographs via Etsy

Utensil holder made from an old cook book


sheet music rose

Vintage Wedding Guest Books Made to Order Using Old French Books SAMPLE LISTING

Custom Wedding Guestbook ETSY WEDDING EVENT Made to Order

Shelf made from a stack of old books

Hollow Book Safe (1903 VICAR OF WAKEFIELD)

Double Book Birdie (Original Sculpture)

(Three Degrees of Certainty II)

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
e e cummings 

Vintage Book Shoulder Purse, Whittier's Poems, circa 1888


Book carvings (above and below) by Hokey Stokes

how to age paper: DIY instructions

book page wreath

Lamp base books opened, closed, standing or lying down and drilled.

paper mache birds

book tub.

book safe

Playhouse made from books Iowa City Public Library

poinsettia book page wreath how to

nails (how to)

Pin this post!  

What do you think?


  1. Wow! Such amazing-ness! I love working w/ vintage text too.

  2. Fantastic feature - as a printmaker I have any undying love for paper. It is so beautiful and versatile. Thanks for sharing!

    Brandi - Etsy Blog Team

  3. Simply amazing - wonderful post. Have just shared on my FB Page:

  4. Replies
    1. Click the link below the photo, or just go here:

  5. Gee, I'm so in love with your blog! I'm Sheila, I'm Brazilian, and I've found your blog on Craftgawker. I'm certainly following! Thanks for sharing all these inspiring ideas!

  6. Welcome Sheila, glad you like the blog!

  7. I'm saving this post in my Instapaper so I can come back to it. Such cool projects. I'd like to know how they did some of them. I'm going to check out the fingernail one now. Thanks for the awesome!

    1. Thanks Michelle, glad you liked the post!

  8. id love to know how to build the is amazing....a cool book chair to sit and read in....any instructions.....we don't want to just copy this persons piece of art but could you share the basic do and don't so we could make our own??? thanks

    1. I couldn't find any instructions either. It looks to be built on planks or plywood.

  9. Am looking for instructions to make the bookcover headboard

  10. A hundred things to love here! I want to feature your blog on my blog this week, hope that's ok!

  11. This is absolutely AMAZING, truly works of art. Love them all.