What to do with old books

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What to do with old books and add a bit of style to your decor

three old books and frames stacked

When I was very young, my favorite book for grandpa to read to me was the little red hen. It may not have been the story that I liked so much, as the sounds he made for the farm animals. Mike says the story ruined me. It is about a hen asking for help, then the other barn animals say no, she does it herself. 

Two things are found in every thrift store. Stacks of old wood frames and shelves bulging with books.

Stop and check the art!

Old school books and children’s storybooks have cool vintage art on the covers. It’s art, that’s frame-worthy. So I grabbed three children’s storybooks and three wood frames. I paid a total of six dollars. 

This upcycle project is fun for any room of the house. Hang a collection in an entryway, home office, or the kid’s room. 

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Materials and Supplies

Old school book

Frame the same size of the book or a bit smaller. 

Metal ruler

Box cutter with a sharp blade

Sawtooth hanger

Directions for making art with books

  • Removed the backing and glass from the frames and set them aside. I then used a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove a layer of stain. A damp cloth helps to remove any dust from sanding.
box knife and old book
  • Now remove the book covers, cut along the inside next to the spine using a box cutter. Then cut along the outside of the spine. 
Measuring old books
  • Books that are larger than the frames, used a metal ruler and the box knife to trim to size. Measure the glass to get the correct size to fit the frame.
  • Place the ruler on the top surface of the book. The covers are material on these books. So, cut the top surface material, then bend down over the table edge to break the board inside. 
back of frame with old book
  • Then insert the covers into the frames. Add the backing.
book held in place in frame
  • Next, tap in any fixtures that held the photos in place. 
  • Add small sawtooth hangers to make hanging frames easy. 
three books in frames hanging

Enjoy your new vintage art

Of course, these are adorable in kid’s bedrooms, but they would also be sweet in guest rooms, the family room, or the laundry room. They would make fantastic teacher gifts. 

If you enjoyed this book project, check out these other books DIY ideas.

Book page projects – idea for using the pages of old books

Shabby books – add shabby chic style to old books

book in frame

What was your favorite book as a child? Would it make cool art?

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