Aug 13, 2010

5 Crafty Ways to Recycle Old Books

I've been thinking about what I could do with the masses of old books I have.

I know some of you may be a bit sensitive about recycling books for new uses (look away now), but I got over that when I once bought a whole box of old books at a garage sale, only to find they were filled with little bugs and mould. Some old books can't be saved. But here's few ideas I might just try:

1. The Book Bar
See the book bar being built at:
2. Book Beads
See how to make book beads at:
3. Pages as Craft Paper
I could use the pages as decopage, or to paper a wall, or to cover other books.
4. Paper Dolls
Inspired by my daughters love of paper dolls and their book review blog: Paper Dolls
And I've been thinking about creating some laminated bookmarks from cut out pages and words.
6. Swaps
Here's 11 more useful ways to recycle the old but still readable books (in a less destructive manner). I love the idea of randomly leaving books for people to find on public transport!:

Any other suggestions from those brave enough to take a pair of scissors to an old book?


  1. I'd donate mine to the library before I took scissors to them! Although the book bead does look nice. :)

  2. These are great ideas! I've altered a few into journals...Shona Cole @ An Artful Life has tutorials and her work is beautiful.
    The Paper Dolls badge belongs to your daughters' blog? I showed my daughter the other day - it's a fantastic idea and blog! My little one wants to blog now -unfortuantely with my baby girl it would mean I would have to keep up with another blog:)

  3. I love those ideas. Especially the beads and the dolls. I wonder if I could do them?


  4. Love this post. I just started selling off my huge collection on ebay and ended up throwing or donating a bunch that were just too beat up or old.

    My first job was at a library and I made out like a bandit because so many books that were donated weren't used but later sold at their fairs.

    I really like the book beads and have heard of the books at trains (I can't remember the link right now but you can find book drops in your area).

    Visiting from SITS!

  5. I used to work in a bookstore where we'd have to destroy any paperbacks from certain publishers if they didn't sell. That was a traumatic experience. These ideas are better ;)

  6. Some good ideas here although I'm not sure I could take a pair of scissors to any of mine.

  7. The ones I keep are my favorites, and I give the rest to the library. However, garage sales and second hand stores are a fantastic place to find old books and I think I'd enjoy using them in such a creative way. Cool!

  8. Bet you can build a whole office out of books. :D Usually I end up passing books onto friends, etc ... My father is always sending me books. People give me books. They're good for pressing flowers.

  9. Very creative! Love the book bar.

  10. The book bar is a neat idea. I've been swapping my books lately.

  11. Here in Cyprus, English books get passed around the expat community. Before I left the UK, I gave my girls my books. They are still reading through them five years on. One won't part with them and the other one passes hers onto the hospital library trolley.

    I like the idea of the beads. I might use a few for card making, but only the real tatty ones. :)

  12. Though I'm not sure I could cut up I book, I like the idea of book beads. I recently posted a blog on this very topic. The photos included chairs, bookshelves, lights and vases all made from books.

  13. I love all of your suggestions! I see a lot of people use old pages in their art work! I love the book bar!

  14. I bought a journal made out of an old Nancy Drew book. Some pages were the real pages, others were replaced with blank pages for my writing. I haven't used it, yet. But, I thought it was cool.

    I've also seen books used as legs for a coffee table. The table was glass.