Bookworms have shelves upon shelves of books we love and cherish, books that are like extensions of the family. But what happens to the books that lived their life to the fullest? The spines are cracked, the pages torn or falling out and the information or stories are so dated they are no longer relevant. Rather than recycling or throwing away these treasures, let them live a little longer. By turning old books into art you not only save the planet a bit of indignity, you renew the life of the words and ink that you’ve loved for years. As March is Arts and Crafts month at Bookmans, we made a list of ten ways to reuse old books.

reuse old books

1. Ornaments/Decorations: Cut book pages into strips. You can make a garland by looping the pieces together like you would a paper chain or staple four strips together at the bottom and fold them in like a heart.

2. Black Out Poetry: Using a page from a damaged book, take a pencil and underline phrases or words as you go to create a poem or saying. Then, use a black marker to ink over the words you didn’t underline. Put your poem in a smash book or journal, mail it to a loved one or a frame these as wall decorations!

3. Paper Beads: Cut strips out of book pages. The bigger or smaller the strip the bigger or smaller your beads will be. Then, roll the pages up tight leaving a small space to fit your string through and glue it so it stays together. You can leave the words on the outside or you can paint them different colors.

4. Art Canvas: Paste a bunch of pages together and use them as the backdrop for a painting.

5. Decorate a Lampshade: Either cut out shapes from the pages of a book or use the whole page. Wheat paste over the pages onto an old shade. You’ve renewed life for two objects.

6. Secret Stash: Make a hollow book to hide your treasure!

7. Party Decorations: Make a runner for your table using old pages that have been glued or strung together. Imagine your next book club meeting!

8. Drink coasters: Similar to paper beads, roll paper together in a circular pattern. This one will use significantly more paper, but they’re worth the extra effort.

9. Make a Journal: Use the cover of your favorite hardback book for a new journal cover. Hole punch the sides and add your favorite paper. You can use yarn, hemp or metal rings to keep your cover and pages together. If you like this idea, check out the journals we made from battered books. We’re currently offering free shipping on these.

10. Wall Shelves: Use hardback books for shelving on the wall rather than buying wood. All you need is a 90 degree metal bracket to support the weight. These can be found at any hardware store.

If you like our list of 10 ways to reuse old books, then find more book upcycling ideas and projects on our Pinterest board, Made From Books. We curate all sorts of pinspiring ideas from funky jewelry to high art. For IRL inspiration that you can touch, Bookmans has an extensive selection of arts and craft books in every store. Stop by any location to get your creative juices flowing.