5 DIY Projects You Can Make With Old Books

a book with pages folded into a heart shape

These simple DIYs are a great way to use books you were planning on donating or tossing out. Instead of sending your hard bound or paperback friends to a transfer station or Goodwill, try these easy book decor DIYs.

1. A Book Safe

Ever felt gutted by a book? Here's your chance to get even. A book safe is a clever way to hide valuables where others won’t think to look. Book safes are great in the home as well as in public spaces like the beach.

Using a strong craft blade, cut a rectangle out the inside of a hardcover book, leaving a border so everything looks normal when the book is closed. Glue or Mod Podge the edges of the cut pages together to create a stable compartment. These sneaky book hiding spots help you conceal valuables around the home and when you’re out and about.

a book with money tucked into carved out pages

2. Book Clock

If you have a book with a great cover, turn it into a clock. Thought the clock won’t work, it’s still a fun display. Take the numbers you’d like to display on your clock and hot glue then where you want them. Then drill a small hole directly in the middle of the number. You can purchase clock hands or take them from a broken clock, but take clock hands, and glue or screw them into the front of the book. Make the hands moveable so that you can manually switch things up from time to time.

3. Book Letters

You’ve seen them on Etsy—they make bibliophiles drool. Book letters are large letters cut out of an entire book. These books are darling, but also require a little skill to craft: a skill saw to be exact. If you have an overflowing library and access to a skill saw, this craft might be for you.

Find an old hardcover book and draw the letter you’d like to cut on the cover with white chalk. Bonus points if you can draw it on the back cover, flipped. After you’ve drawn the letter, take the book to a skill saw and carefully cut it out. While it's a simple concept, the execution of this project is tricky and can take several tries, so choose a few books to try it with in case things go haywire.

books stacked with a circle hole in the middle

4. Book Stacks

Stacking books can be a decor DIY in and of itself. Take a bunch of your favorite books and flip them spine side out. Stack anywhere you'd like in whatever shape appeals and voila—you have a DIY plant stand or mini-table. You can also stack your books page side out to create a uniform look, or stack books of the same color to accentuate room decor.

When you’re stacking books that might support other objects, make sure to anchor the stack with a large, heavy book, and place books of similar sizes and widths throughout to keep things balanced. Fun designs like this look great in studies and libraries, or next to your bookshelves, wherever they may be. It’s a great way to store your extra books in a way that keeps them easily accessible to read when you run out of shelf space.


Turn the spines of old books into bookmarks with an X-Acto knife and some string. Find a hardcover book with a spine you admire and carefully cut it off on a cutting board or mat. You may need to superglue the vertical edges of the spine down the backside of the bookmark. Then punch a hole at the top of the bookmark and use an eyelet in the whole to polish the look. String a ribbon through the eyelet and glue cut cardstock on the back of the bookmark to polish the look.

After you’ve crafted your way through your old books, why not start building a new bookshelf or two?