Paper Reader Question

Published on October 17th, 2012 | by Becky Striepe

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Reader Question: New Ideas for Old Books

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Reader Questionupcycle old books

Got some old books that need a little love? Check out 10 creative ways to upcycle old books into something new!

Not too long ago, we asked you guys what you need to reuse or upcycle, and you had lots of great ideas from you! We’re still sorting through the comments and emails, and decided to kick things off with this request from reader Rachel Sandler:

My mom has two full shelves of encyclopedias from 1988. She’d love to have the room for real books, but neither of us can bring ourselves to just throw them into the trash, even if it is the recycling bin. Other than making 30 purses or covers for Kindles and iPads we don’t own, I’d love to have some ideas of ways I could upcycle at least a few of them!

She is so spot on – the majority of upcycled book projects that I found when I started researching this article were gadget cases and hardcover book purses. Those are cute and fun to make, but a gal only needs so many purses and only has so many Kindles!

Remember: it’s only upcycling if you’re diverting waste from the landfill, so that means buying a new book (even if it’s on sale!), and crafting with it isn’t upcycling. If you don’t have any old books on the shelf that you can craft with, check the thrift store. Thrift stores are a treasure trove for second hand books. Before you grab that pair of scissors or Exacto knife, you might also want to do a little Googling about the book you’re planning to cut up. You don’t want to hack apart a valuable first edition or rare copy of an out-of-print classic!

On the next page, check out 10 ways to upcycle old books with no purses or gadget cases in sight!

Click here for the list!

Image Credit: Old Books photo via Shutterstock



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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://www.stitchesandstringtheory.tumblr.com Rachel Sandler

    I love these ideas, thank you! I particularly love that first book light — my dad’s an engineer and I’m a physicist so we love doing little electronic projects together.

    • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky Striepe

      Awesome! I’m so glad that we could help. I didn’t even realize until you pointed it out that most book projects involve gadget cases or purses, but they totally do!

  • http://www.wasnowcreations.com Claudia

    I have lots of leftover book pages from my other projects, so I’m always looking for new ways to use them. Recently I sliced the pages into thin strips, rolled them into curvy shapes, and made an interesting collage. Details and photos are here:

    http://creativeupcycling.blogspot.com/2013/08/turn-page-colorful-collage-made-from.html

  • http://hello-refabulous.blogspot.com Connie C.

    Awesome list! I’m always on the look-out for cool upcycling projects, and this list (especially the book page wreath) hits the spot! If you have a cool paperback cover, especially after using up the pages in one of the projects listed above, you can turn it into a super-sturdy wallet. I wrote a tutorial on how to do just that:
    http://hello-refabulous.blogspot.com/2009/01/make-your-own-paperback-wallet.html

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