9 Ways to Turn Old Musty Books Into Something Cool

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on December 30, 2009

Bibliophiles and bookworms, English majors and lovers of literature: is it possible to have too many books? They accumulate so quickly! Every member of your family getting you the same three books you requested for Christmas. Seeing Don DeLillo marked half-off, knowing you dumped a half-caff latte on your copy of Underworld, and – even though only the first three pages are illegible – justifying its purchase. 15+ years of required reading lists stored in boxes in your basement, even though you can bet your bippy you will never willingly read the poetry of Robert Burns again.

We are up to our waists in books, some of which we hate (really Master Burns? Scottish dialect? A mouse?!) yet we will never give them away. Because they just might come in handy some day. Like a day when you decide you want to transform your old books into awesome works of art. Like today.

Update: Do to the overwhelming support (HA!) of these ideas, I have compiled an equally fabulous display of incredible bookmarks – the exact opposite of book arts and crafts. Hear, hear!

9 Ways to Turn Old Books Into Something Cool

1. Hollow out an old hardback to create a nifty iPod case, a unique display case, or a fun hiding place for your treasures.

It brings a whole new meaning to “audio book.”

Use your old books to showcase your artistic side.

Good for hiding passwords and codes, the key to your safe, and family jewels.

2. Use the pages to create a book wreath.

Your choice of ribbon can transform this wreath so it is suitable for every holiday – or every day!

3. Use them to build invisible, floating bookshelves.

If you think floating books are mesmerizing, check out some other wacky bookshelves that will make your head spin (and your walls upgrade to awesome).

4. Choose a book with a great cover and turn it into a clock.

Book clocks are for everyone, young and old.

5. Turn your book into a lamp shade.

We recommend using a low-watt bulb, like 10 or 15 maximum. Or your book lamp shade might turn into a fire lamp shade.

6. Transform a beautiful hardcover into a book purse.

For the fashionable bookworm in all of us.

7. Cut out bits of your favorite passages and make a glass pendant necklace.

Great for expressing your individuality and having a tiny cheat sheet hanging around your neck come finals week.

You could also use the pages to make paper beads.

I have heard this is a great activity for little girls at slumber parties and summer camp, but cannot vouch for it.

8. Insert blank pages into a favorite tome to make a journal or scrapbook.

For those who find the Moleskin a little too common and hipster.

Use a book cover for a picture frame.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This combines a picture AND a thousand words. So really, this book cover picture frame is worth two thousand words.

If you enjoyed this post, check out the rest of our book reviews on the Written Word.