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DIY ‘Book’ Bookends

This DIY is on the ‘small project’ side and definitely dings high on the ‘cute-ometer’ scale. But these BOOK-ends are an easy/fun DIY with stuff that you probably already have. There are a million bookends out there, some insanely expensive, but if you are looking for a good (and cheap) craft to do, check out this one.

DIY_Book Bookends_Easy_Modern_Header_ingredients

Paint and Brushes: We painted our books three different shades of gray. Rather than going out and buying three different paints, just buy a small can of a grey that you like, and tint it lighter with a little bit of white paint for the other books.

For the accents on the spine we went with metallic paint in Rose Gold, Bright Gold, and Copper.

Vintage Books: You can use any books you want, no matter how ugly or old they might be. Try and keep the widths and the heights of the books different to add interest to your bookends.

Metal Bookends: These can be picked up from any office supply store or online.

Hot Glue Gun

DIY_Book Bookends_Easy_Modern_Header_step 1

Step 1: Start by painting the spines, fronts, and backs of your books, each book in a different shade of grey. You don’t have to be too careful with this step since you’ll likely want to do a second coat (some book covers really suck up the paint). We painted the page edges of our books as well, so that they would stay closed and the bookend would stay together.

Once your base coat has dried you can have fun accenting the spines with your different metallic paints. Make each book a little bit different, so that the books look good lined up next to each other.

DIY_Book Bookends_Easy_Modern_Header_step 2

Step 2: Glue two of your books together with the hot glue and let that dry. You’ll then open the top book (as seen in the above picture) and glue in the metal bookend. Add more glue on top facing side of the bookend, and then close and press firmly on the whole unit as it dries. You will then finish it off by glueing your last book onto the back of the stack.

That’s it! Now you can enjoy some simple, easy, and inexpensive bookends to hold up the rest of your collection. Have fun with the colors and patterns – you could cover them with old wallpaper, paint them fun colors, or keep it simple by painting them out all white or one color.

Redbook_DIY_Book Bookends_Emily Henderson

*Photography by David Tsay, styled by Scott Horne, DIY projects produced by Brady Tolbert for EHD (art directed by me).

Want more DIYs? Check out our other recent Redbook projects: 1 Lamp 3 WaysDIY Upholstered HeadboardDIY Wooden Dowel Coat Rack | DIY Mod Podge Chair | DIY Side Table Ikea Hack.

Bookcase, pillow, small basket and brass hanging art from Target. Chair is vintage.

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8 years ago

That picture of a glue gun and a book just gave me the creeps. Sorry. I love most of your DIY ideas but this just made the book lover in me sad. When I look through people’s book cases, I am looking for books I might like to actually read. It does look cute and was done really well but for me, books are like people. There are more important qualities than looks.

8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Agreed! Maybe if you used your junky and outdated textbooks from 15 years ago, but a project defacing books seems so sad and hurts my booklover heart. Like the DIY suggestions for painting over paintings in the name of obtaining cheap canvas.

8 years ago
Reply to  MaryMargaret

There was a time when it would’ve bothered me, too, but now I’m a librarian and have seen so many hundreds of books ‘weeded’ out of collections where there is no more use for them, it’s kind of nice to see any use at all for them, even as non-readable decor.

8 years ago
Reply to  mary

As a book lover/avid reader, I actually love this! So so so many books out there that nobody will ever read again just sitting on thrift store shelves (I’m looking at you, Reader’s Digest abridgments). Better they get reused and turned into something pretty and useful than thrown away after nobody buys them.

Also, people should buy more books from thrift stores. I’ve found so many great books secondhand.

8 years ago
Reply to  Celeste

Definitely agree about the thrift store books. I buy lots there, but there are also tons that just sit and get dusty until they are eventually tossed. Why not recycle them into a decorative and useful object?

I love books as much as the next gal (more than the next gal), but we have to be honest about the fact that not all books are precious rare gems and a lot of books are just going to be thrown out. I wouldn’t do this with a first edition Pride and Prejudice or anything, but the Reader’s Digest anthologies that Celeste mentioned? Absolutely.

yup, crazy cute! though i had to do a double take to see it correctly . . . so, actually cute And genius’y!!

Susie Q.
8 years ago

Interesting, but I have too many real books crammed on my shelves to have room for fake books 😀

8 years ago
Reply to  Susie Q.


8 years ago

I love this idea! I have a ton of old law school textbooks and I hate the sight of them (so boring). I will definitely give this DIY a shot and see if I can bring some happiness to them.

8 years ago

I love this project! Optical illusions are my favorite. And I agree with all those who pointed out how many unloved/unused books there are out there in thrift shops, garage sales, etc. This would also be a good use for books that should be taken out of circulation, like anything by Ann Coulter.

8 years ago

It’s look simple but really impressive, I really like this kind DIY idea. I ask my husband to he make for me something similar for my books

8 years ago

These bookends are so fun! We’ve been wanting to make something like this for our shelves and this is the perfect setup! I love this!


8 years ago

I think this DIY is super cute! I might try doing it with just one book instead of a group since I don’t have a lot of extra space on my shelves, but I love the clean look of books standing upright nicely by themselves. I second the person who mentioned using all the lonely thrift store books that no one wants anymore.

Also, I JUST SAW A CLOSE UP OF YOU ON THE BACHELORETTE! Cute blue outfit as usual!

8 years ago

Did I just see you in the audience for men tell all bachelorette? If not there was a beautiful blonde that looked just like you!

8 years ago

Very cute! And also, what is that bookcase?!! I looove it.

8 years ago

Omg! That is you in the audience on The Bachelorette! You look great!!! 🙂

8 years ago

The rug in your family room is just right, Emily!!! Sometimes, less is more. You’re obviously happy and in love with it and I think it’s an anchor to an otherwise colorful space. Keep it!!! You’ll treasure it for a long time to come, I predict. I’m looking for such a rug to garner some zip for my little living room………….

8 years ago

Um…totally unrelated, but were you at the taping of the bachelorette men tell all episode??? I don’t think I can post a screenshot here, but, believe me, if you weren’t…your LITERAL TWIN was there in the audience in a blue shirt. As in I feel about 110% sure it was you…??!?

8 years ago

Sorry, but this project makes me cringe big time! I collect & read old books..they are treasures (non-fiction life stories & experiences, especially from holocaust & war survivors) & most will never be reprinted so once they’re gone they’re gone. Life is more than decorating. Besides, how can paint compare to the patina & colors of the vintage books?..they’re beautiful.

8 years ago
Reply to  tammyCA

Then use the fifth printing of a popular novel that’s been reprinted 15 times. I promise you that there are tons of them out there and they will just be thrown away.

No one is suggesting you do this with so-called important books. Feel free to pick up a random Tom Clancy from the thrift store.

8 years ago

Can’t wait ’til I have time to see the B’ette. When you teased that, I was all “Oh great. As if I need MORE withdrawal pains between Mondays!” –in my head.

Time to make room for spreading out my books so I can add fake books. That sounds terrible but clearly it looks amazing. It may trump Bach time. Omg.

8 years ago

Great DIY idea. I’m going to tried this out. Got a bunch of books just laying around that no one read anymore. Feel sorry for the books but at least they’ll be use now.