There is something about books and bookshelves lined with favorite books that just makes a house feel cozier and more welcoming. But books don’t have to be only for reading. As a writer of books and an even more avid reader of books, I’ve begun to look at books in a whole new way, thanks to the creativity of my crafty daughters and daughter-in-law.
If you cringe at seeing books “destroyed,” you might want to close your eyes at a few of the photos to follow. But if you love the idea of repurposing something that has outgrown its usefulness into something new and fresh and creative, you’ll love this unusual look at books.
My oldest daughter started it with this precious Mother’s Day gift several years ago. A carefully chosen title (the more worn and ragged, the better) became a scrapbook of treasures—photos and memories, and even tiny trinkets like a baby bracelet, all tucked into the pages of an old book. Gave a whole new meaning to the term “scrapbook.”
That same daughter continued the tradition a few years ago with my birthday gift, a planter crafted from an old book, a page-wrapped coffee tin, and a bit of purslane and sphagnum moss—good choices because they don’t need much water to thrive.
My daughter-in-law approached me with another repurposed book idea, but she asked with fear and trembling: would I mind if she tore up a copy or two of one of my novels. When I learned what she had in mind, not only did I give my blessing, I was thrilled with the result—this beautiful wreath that hangs in their living room, made of pages from old copies of the very first novel I wrote.
Jen made me my own wreath while on a visit to our house. I loved it so much I had trouble deciding where to hang it because it looked great everywhere I placed it! Here it is on the old door in my office, but it’s now landed permanently over our headboard, and I love it there.
I loved discovering the printable patterns for this lineup of bookish matchbox covers in an old copy of one of my favorite decorating magazines, Country Living.
These ideas barely scratch the surface of what you can do with books, besides read. Of course one of the best non-reading things to do with books is to use them as a “stage” to elevate a lamp or other decorative items.
But books can also be building blocks for birdhouses, lamp bases, jewelry and much, much more, including this bookish Christmas tree I created from my own books a few years ago.
Search for “repurposed books” on Google images or Pinterest, and your imagination will take off. Yes, the best use for a book is still reading a great story, but books are great for so much more!
Have you ever repurposed books for another use besides reading? I’d love to hear about it!