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Study Time: 15 Creative and Easy Ways to Upcycle Damaged Books

When it comes to clearing our home out of things we don’t use or need anymore, we’ll be the first to admit that we don’t always do a fantastic job of it. Don’t get us wrong; we’re not “hoarders” or anything, we just can’t stand getting rid of things that might be upcycled or creatively reused! If there’s one thing we have the most trouble getting rid of, however, it’s absolutely books. Even when they’re old and damaged, it breaks our hearts to see them abandoned or discarded! That’s why we’re always on the lookout for creative ways to upcycle and reuse damaged books into things we can display or use.

Just in case you’re feeling as intrigued by the idea of repurposing old, damaged books as we were, if not more, here are 15 of the most creative tutorials, designs, and ideas that we’ve come across in our quest for creative book saving so far!

1. Children’s book illustrated page bunting


Do you have an old children’s book on your hands that you’ve always adored the illustrations in but that your kids are too old to read now, or perhaps that’s missing a few pages from being so well read over the years? Then we think we might have found the perfect project for you! Check out how Laura Raniecki repurposed their favourite illustrated pages into decorative bunting with a cute fabric or ribbon trim sewing across the top.

2. Book page covered photo frame


Does the book you have available have some pages that are all text and some that are primarily pictures, so you’re looking for an impressive way to reuse both? In that case, we’d urge you to take a look at how Honeybee Books created this fantastic book page covered photo frame using their decoupage techniques! We’re particularly fond of the way they laid down a base of text and pasted cut out illustrations over top.

3. Stacked books table lamp


Do you actually have a whole pile of old books that are so damaged you’re convinced they’re not actually likely to be read again, even if you donate them? In that case, we’d suggest taking a look at how piled book art in the world of home decor can be made! This awesome stacked book lamp design, which is outlined step by step on HGTV, is the perfect example of what we mean! They show you how to drill through the books in line and slide them down the length of a thin, plain table lamp.

4. Book page wrapped gift boxes


Are you still thinking about how you’d love to preserve the undamaged illustrated pages that are left in an old book you found, but the bunting idea we showed you earlier just isn’t quite the right project for you? Then here’s an alternative idea for your consideration instead! Check out how Jo Retro created super unique gift boxes for their friends and family by wrapping plain boxes in the pages for a lovely look worthy of a book worm’s birthday or Christmas present.

5. Old book upcycled into a clock


Did we really catch your attention when we started talking about the concept of upcycling old books into household items but you’ve already got a number of side table and guest lamps and you just don’t think you need another one? Then maybe you’d benefit more from making yourself an awesome upcycled book clock instead! We love the way House of Hawthornes created a standing clock embedded in the pages of an old book so the hands and face are on the cover, like something you’d see in Wonderland.

6. Book page, resin, and wire brooches


Perhaps you actually have quite a bit of experience in things like jewelry and accessory making but now you’re looking for something a little more unique and unconventional than what you usually create, just to keep yourself challenged and interested? Then we’d suggest reaching for not only your old books but also some resin and some thick but malleable jewelry wire. Next, take a look at how Art Unraveled suspended pieces of the pages in the resin and created fantastic brooches in all kinds of shapes.

7. Rolled book page wreath


If you’re the kind of crafting and DIY enthusiast who has always loved paper based crafts like quilling and origami, then working with old book pages to create structured things is absolutely the best idea for you! There are just so many different fantastic projects you can create using your folding and rolling skills and old pages will work for you just as well as any other kind of paper. This stunning book page wreath outlined on The Frugal Homemaker is the perfect example of what we mean!

8. Upcycled book to succulent planter


Did we really catch your attention when we started talking about ways to transform an old book by embedding something inside of it but you’re just not sure that you need another clock around the house? Perhaps you’d actually rather visually transform the inside of your book because that’s where the magic happens. In either case, we have a feeling you might prefer the way Withal hollowing out the centre of an old novel and turned it into a succulent planter. We love the way it looks like the plants are growing right out of the words!

9. Folded book page gift pouches


Do you actually run a book club with a whole group of other reading enthusiasts and you’ve been thinking about how you’d love to make them a little something special to show your appreciation for your friend’s for your club’s upcoming anniversary? Then a little bit of reading themed DIY will certainly go a long way! Take a look at how Craft and Creativity made adorable little gift pouches that are actually folded out of old pages taken from damaged books. Fill them with candies, trinkets, or whatever you please!

10. Black ink framed book page art


Have you always been a fan of crafting methods that not only upcycle but also look a little bit unconventional or pop art inspired? Then we think you just might be the perfect person to try your hand at this framed black ink and book page art featured on Ruffles and Stuff. They suggest using black pens or paint to illustrate a simple image right on top of a book page’s words, creating a fantastic silhouette effect that pops out from the page. We like the idea of coordinating what you paint with the theme of whatever text you’ve chosen to paint over. The frame simply completes the look and lets you proudly display your work for all to see!

11. Book page bunny with a pom pom tail


Did we really catch your attention with the framed book page craft idea but you’d rather making something that your kids might like to help you with and then hang in their own rooms, so you’re worried the black ink idea we showed you above is just a little too advanced? Then perhaps you’d prefer this adorable book page bunny rabbit idea instead! Take a look at how Homemade Modern Art made their bunny by cutting and pasting simple shapes and adding a simple pom pom tail.

12. Book page origami rose bouquet


Are you still thinking about how much you loved the origami idea but you’re just not sure that making a large wreath would quite suit your personal style or home decor scheme? Well, if you’re more of a floral crafts lover like we are, then maybe this adorable folded book page rose idea would be a little more up your alley. We can’t get over how stunningly delicate the finished product looks, nor how simply 100 Layer Cake was actually able to lay it out for all of us.

13. Hidden book craft storage


Are you actually still thinking about the idea of repurposing the inside of your old books specifically, so you’re still scrolling through to try and see all the options before you decide on anything we’ve shown you thus far? Then here’s another idea for your consideration, just in case. We can’t get over how awesome this hidden book storage idea featured on Blitsy is because, unless you know it’s there, it really is hard to see! They chose to keep some crafting and sewing supplies in their secret book stash, but you could keep just about anything you please. We also think you’ll be surprised to learn just how simple this idea is to make.

14. Decorative rolled paper monograms


Are you actually still feeling quite intrigued by the idea of rolling paper crafts but you aren’t feeling quite ready to tackle the idea of actual paper quilling yet? Then perhaps you’ll get along a little better with this monogram idea from Little Things Bright Smile that absolutely gets you practicing your basic useful rolled paper techniques so you can build up to quilling but without getting quite so advanced right away.

15. Old book and jewelry wall display


Are you very into the idea of getting creative with old books but you’re actually quite new to the crafting and DIY world and you’re not sure how well you’d do at greatly altering the books? Well, you don’t have to change their look or structure to make something nice, useful, or creative out of them! Take a look at how Lillyflies created a jewelry hanging display by affix old books in different directions to the wall and looping their necklaces and pendants around the covers and pages. We really like that this idea is practical and decorative!