Top 10 Creative Ideas to Repurpose Old Books


a not-do-subtle effort to cater to the growing popularity of Pinterest, Toptenz will be attempting more articles based on image-focused lists that also look to teach and inspire. Sure, we’ll have our standard lists about the bizarre, food and “Why Batman and Teddy Roosevelt are Similar” but we hope you will find these simple lists enjoyable too. And, yeah, we would be mighty appreciative if you pin a few things. If you missed the link above, here is our pinterest page for you to follow.

And we even included a handy image for pinning this creative endeavor. Or feel free to pin the images below. Subtle, we ain’t.

Image result for vintage book photography

For our first foray into the magical world of all things Pinterest we offer 10 11 great ideas for vintage books, you know, rather than actually reading them. A “novel” concept, I couldn’t resist. Each picture has a link with instructions on how to create the DIY project.

10. Stacked-Books Table Lamp

Upcycle old books by turning them into a one-of-a-kind lamp. Be careful reaching for that bedside book, which is now a lamp stand. See how it’s done.

9. DIY Vintage Book Picture Frame

Image result for DIY Vintage Book Picture Frame toptenz

This book was up-cycled as a wedding photo frame, but you can use it for any pictures, even the picture of the book you used to make the frame. Freaky.

See how it’s done.

7. A Book Planter

Image result for Book Planter toptenz

Find out how you can easily create this poetic planter, and pay tribute to the art of gardening and the world of “real” books. I imagine the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn would be a good choice.

See how it’s done.

6. Bookmarks from Old Book Spines

Image result for Bookmarks from Old Book Spines

This feels a bit like cannibalism, but I’m not sure why or possibly more like soylent green. The idea came from here.

5. Vintage Book E-Reader Cover

Image result for Vintage Book E-Reader Cover

An old book with a cool, colorful cover design keeps iPads, Nooks and Kindles safe. The past protects the future. How you can do it.

4. Book Pages Paper Vase

two paper vases made from books and a book page wall hanging with profile

I wouldn’t suggest putting water in this vase, some paper flowers complete the theme. It’s not as hard as it looks. Here are the instructions.

3. Vintage Book as Custom Journal

Okay, this feels more like reincarnation. You know you are bordering on god-like powers with the power to give new life to an old book. Give it a try.

2. Old Book Lamp Shade

We showed you how to create a lamp stand so it is only fair to show you how to create a lamp shade. Low wattage bulbs (10-15w) as a maximum or you may be on this list. See the light.

1. Vintage Book Purse/Bag

book bag

You can buy these on Etsy, but where is the fun and subsequent book destroying? And in a pinch you make believe you still read books. Make it a DIY project.

Bonus: Invisible Book Shelf Made with, yup, Books

Sorry, I had such fun finding these I couldn’t narrow it down to 10, so here is my favorite, an invisible bookshelf. Look, its magic, just like how our current culture is making books disappear. I’m reading this on my iPhone right now! So easy to do.

What do you think? Stupid idea? Waste of your time? Selling out? (P)Interesting stuff? Not sure? We’d like to know, so make a comment below.  And finally, thanks to our friends at

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  1. These are all amazing.

    I was in a bar near Baker Street in London last week, and there is a pub there – I can’t remember the name – and the entire bar is made out of books.

  2. Sorry, but those pictures are like cruel butchery to me. Disgusting what people do to old books.

      • A tasteful cremation might not be the worst end for an unwanted book. And then store the ashes next to his brothers.^^

        • Have you read Fahrenheit 451? And by the way, Fahrenheit 451 is NOT the temperature that paper catches fire, Celsius 451 is. A little known fact. 🙂 Ray Bradbury liked to screw with people’s minds. 🙂

        • According to wikipedia, newspaper cathces fire at 160 Celsius and heavy writing paper at 360. 460 would be cotton. Maybe he meant cotton paper. 451 degrees Fahrenheit would be around 240 or something, that sounds more reasonable.
          Well, I wonder where he got the number from.

  3. The bookmark spines and floating book bookcase are unique ideas. Thanks for posting!

  4. leader motors maroc on

    I think books are sacred and they should be fixed rather than repurposed

  5. Louis Alexandre Simard on

    I think nothing cuz if I wanna see 11 pictures of arts and crafts projects I’ll go on pinterest or other arts and crafts website not on toptenz. I understand your explanation and desire to attract new readers by having popular key words in the title so that you end up in suggested reading lists on more diverse websites but it is not what I am looking for when I come here. Then again I’m just one person and maybe other readers will like that.

    • That’s a bit harsh, Louis. Go back to Cracked, if that’s where you came from with that “intelligent” opinion.

        • You don’t have to thank me, TopTenzMaster. I’m hooked to your site. I won’t go away, unless you ban me for some reason. Like maybe commenting too much.

      • Louis Alexandre Simard on

        I was just stating my own personal opinion. I believe comments sections allow us to do that. I also admitted in my comment that I was only one person and that other people may like that. Its not the list per say that prompted my comment but the fact that it was content that in my opinion didn’t fit in Toptenz and that is already displayed by various other specialised websites. My comment was in direct response to the statement made in the introduction about Toptenz hoping we like this new addition.

        I admit that giving Toptenz intentions that might not be theirs by saying that the whole thing was simply a way to increase their page ranking and links without really producing new content was wrong of me to say and I apologize. I really like Toptenz and this is why I care enough to give my opinion. If I didn’t I would just move on to one of the other dozen of sites with lust based content. I mostly browse via my phone and Toptenz is right there on my main screen (my phone and sms :cons arent even in my main screen) and is the first site I open every time I want to read stuff and be entertained and this is several times a day. I also like the comment section as I find people on it to be very respectful and constructive which is something I can’t always say about Cracked’s or Listverse’s comment sections which I know almost completely avoid. I re read my comment and it is true that it comes out harsh and somewhat disrespectful. This was not my intention but as you all know some emotional nuances are lost when commenting by writing. I will try and write more constructive comments from now on and I thank you for the very polite way you brought this to my attention. Its refreshing to not be insulted when someone doesn’t share your opinion. I should learn from that.

    • Thanks for the honesty. I do appreciate it. The good news is I am not reducing the number of lists I already add to the site so there won’t be any decline in the lists that we normally publish. I was thinking about adding one more list a week to the count we already do publish. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we have increased our lists being published from five a week to 11 per week over the last few months so you’re getting more of what we originally set out to do. Hopefully that keeps you happy while we still post one list focused on a different type of interest.

      And this list is curated. It’s not just a random collection of pictures, we do also include the instructions if you want to do any of the crafts that we list. And we do look at lots of different types of these pages to try and only show what we feel are the best.

      • So you’ll only be doing one a week? I can get on board with that. Pinterest itself can be overwhelming, so I can see how a Top Tenner could handily condense that for me. Haters can skip it. I don’t read the lists about comic books because I never got into comic books, so they can skip the DIY lists.

      • Louis Alexandre Simard on

        Merci beaucoup. Ton opinion est importante pour moi. Surtout lorsque, comme ton commentaire, on peut y voir des traces d’intelligence. J’espère que tu est bien traité a l’Institut ou tu vie. Je sais que parfois ce n’est pas toujours drôle d’être emprisonné dans une cage avec seules quelques branches pour s’amuser. Sans compter tout les visiteurs qui a chaque jours s’attendent a te voir faire le singe. Je te comprend de parfois pisser dans ta propre bouche ou des lancer ton caca vers les humains qui te regardent. Tu essaie d’avoir de l’attention autrement qu’en faisant des singeries. Ce doit être le fait que ta mère t’ai conçu avec ton frère qui crée ce manque en toi alors je ne t’en veut pas petit singe car c’est après tout ta nature d’être ainsi. Allez grimpe petit singe, grimpe bien haut comme le stupide consanguin petit singe que est et bois la ta pisse, boit la tous les jours pour leur montrer a ces humains que même pour un singe tu est retardé et n’oublie pas de b lancer ton caca bien fort sur la vitre de ton enclos pour tous leur montrer a quel point ils sont cruel de te garder ainsi et qu’ils devraient, par compassion, d’endormir pour toujours. Tu me touche petite bête. Tu me touche très fort et je pense a toi a chaque fois que je pile dans du caca.