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Decorative DIY Crafts With Old Books

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How to decorate your home with old books by turning them into decorative accessories for your home decor. This is an easy DIY project that can be done in under 10 minutes and will turn something ugly into something worthy of displaying.

I like flowers – mums in the fall, poinsettia at the holidays, and tulips in the spring that come in plastic pots. I like that they are simple and no fussing needed to bring fresh color into the house that doesn’t require any floral arranging skills or the need for a vase like a bouquet of flowers needs.

fall flowers in foil covered plastic pot on a kitchen island.

What I don’t like about displaying flowers in planters is the ugly plastic pot or foil over the plastic pots. Over the years I have found a few easy ways to disguise the plastic pots and have a new one to share with you that uses old books.

Purple readers digest condensed book cover made into a planter.

One thing I always look for when I go out thrifting besides baskets and white pitchers and platters, is Readers Digest Condensed Books or any book that has a colorful cover. I don’t care about what the books are about, I just like them because of their colorful patterned covers.

Why I Like Using Reader’s Digest Books To Make Crafts

I am sure you remember or may even have a few of these Readers Digest Condensed Books in a bookshelf in your home as they were quite popular for many years.

These books have always been used by decorators with their jackets removed as they came in many different colors and patterns that look nice and fill up a bookcase with color. Plus, they can be purchased for a dollar or less, so they are a very budget friendly item of decor.

Finding ways to repurpose old books is also quite popular among crafters who up-cycle and repurpose them in many ways.

DIY decor idea made with old books - a mum planter pot cover.

I enjoy finding creative ways to repurpose them and recently came up with a way to use two of these old books to hide an ugly plastic planter pot.

To make a decorative cover to hide the plastic foil wrapped pot you can use any two books as long as they are the same height as the pot.

Reader’s Digest Condensed Books make it easy as they are the perfect height – 7-5/8″ to cover a basic plastic pot mums and other plants come in.

3 book Reader's digest condensed book covers to be made into creative home decor accessories.

Imagine how festive a green cover will look with a holiday poinsettia or a mini Christmas tree. Or in the spring – a turquoise cover with pink or yellow tulips.

How to Make a Planter of Vase Cover Using Old Books

To make this planter cover requires no crafting skills. All you need are two old books, scissors and tape. It is that easy and will hide an ugly plastic pot or vase in unique style.

Making a cover to hide or disguise an ugly planter is so easy to do that it really doesn’t even need a tutorial, but here is the step-by-step.

Supplies needed to make a planter or vase cover with two old books.

supplies needed:

  • Two hardback books with covers that you like.
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors or a craft knife

Time needed: 10 minutes.

How To Make a Pretty Cover to Hide an Ugly Vase Using Two Old Books

  1. Cut Book Pages From Covers

    Using a pair of large scissors or a craft knife, make a cut along where the book pages meet the inside of the cover.

    Repeat on other side and the on the second book so the section of pages comes as one piece.


    How to cut the pages out of old books so you can make crafts with them.

  2. Separated Cover From Book Pages


    After cutting out the pages from the books, the inside of the covers should look like this.

    How to make a planter pot cover using two old books.

  3. Tape Book Covers Together

    Line up the bottom edges and use duct tape to attach the two covers together.

    Trim duct tape so that is just under the top edge of the book covers. DIY Crafts With Old Books to make a colorful way to hide an ugly flower pot.

  4. Tape Other Side

    While covers are still right side down on worktable, add a length of tape to one edge of a cover.

    Stand covers upright and butt one open edge with the other book cover, lining them up, then press the tape to securely attach the two covers together.

    Two old book covers being taped together.

  5. Trim Tape

    If needed, make sure tape is trimmed so that it falls just under the top edge of the cover.Inside book cover with duct tape to make into a pretty cover for a plant in an ugly planter pot.

  6. Completed Planter Pot Cover


    Here is what it will look like. It ready to place over the planter pot. Two books taped together to make a  decorative cover for a plastic planter pot of flowers.

  7. Place Over Planter or a Vase

    To use, simply place the cover over the plastic planter or a vase.

    When not using, simply flatten the covers to store until ready to use again.

    Home Decorating crafts made with old books - a mum planter pot cover.

Where to Find Old Books

If you don’t have any old books on your bookshelves, then for a few dollars you can find at:

  • Thrift stores
  • Church bazaars
  • At your parents or grandparents home
  • Flea Markets
  • Ebay

What Can You Do With the Old Book Pages?

After cutting off the covers from the books to make the planter/vase cover, you will be left with the pages of the books, plus a colorfully patterned first and last page that can be used to make paper crafts.

Two old books without their covers.

There are many, very easy book page craft ideas and decorating ideas that can made – a book page wreath, paper roses and a photo frame are a few. Below are a few more.

1. Use As Wallpaper

Use the pages from the books to wallpaper the inside of a cabinet or hutch. This looks best when done with vintage book pages.

Slightly overlap the pages until the surface is covered. Use matte Mod Podge and a paint brush to attach the pages.

2. Make a Leaf Garland or Banner

Paper-Crafts-for-the-holidays

Make a festive garland by cutting out holly shaped leaves from the book pages. You can also use sheet music.

Learn how to make this and get the free leaf printable to use as a template.

3. Create a Crafty Cache Pot

Tin can recycling project ideas

These containers are made not only by using recycled book pages, but tin cans. When combined, they to make cute little cache pots to hold your pens and pencils in style on your desk or craft area.

4. Line Drawers

drawer lined with old book pages

Use the whole page or cut the sections from the pages you like to line drawers. Use matte Mod Podge to apply.

Creative Gift Ideas Made From Old Books

Crafts with old books like these Reader's Digest Condensed Books made into decorative letter art.

If you are looking for a creative gift idea, these letters are cut out from colorfully patterned, Recycled Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.

Since they are cut using the whole book, they can stand on their own and would look nice on a desk, mantel and even face out on a bookcase.

You can purchase them here:

These are only a few creative ideas using old books. To see more, head over to Pinterest or do a Google search for “repurpose old books“, “DIY crafts with old books” or “old book crafts

You will find ideas that use every part of a book. Using the pages to make a book page wreath, the spine to make a book spine bookmark and many more very creative ideas.

Do you have any old books around your house that you can take apart and repurpose into decorative décor for your home?

DIY Decorating Ideas Using Old Books

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5 Comments

  1. I live in a neighborhood where several of the houses were decorated by designers. Every one of them have Readers Digest books in the book shelves. What was once old is still used by designers. This was a cool upcycle!

  2. another clever, eco-friendly project! I used to work in a library, and yes, libraries do throw books away sometimes, and I hope no one takes issue (!) with the Readers Digest books being reused this way. You found a cool color to use, and your text compliments the book as well! good work!

  3. Agree, the plastic pots are not attractive. This book cover idea to cover them is perfect! When I find an item no longer used for something, I often ask myself “What would Diane do with this?” :)

  4. Cute idea . Sharing is caring…so when I purchase a plant from say , home depot , sometimes for a quick fix I wrap the ugly part in a ribbon. Esp if I am gifting it. Buy that wide ribbon , comes innhandy.