Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Ways to Upcycle Old, Beat Up Books

It’s time yet again for some cool DIY projects for the summer. If you have older, beat up books that you’d like to give new life to (or perhaps some old text books you weren’t able to sell back), we have some fun projects for you.

Paper and Wire Bead Tutorial


These beads can be used to make bookmarks, necklaces, earrings, or key-chains. The possibilities are really endless and the project looks pretty easy.

Re-purposed Expanding File Folder


I love this. I want this. I think this is one of my top to do projects for the summer. I use expanding file folders for school and research projects, so making my own super cute one is something I find highly appealing.

DIY Book Jars


These jars would make a nice edition to any room, office, or act as a fun centerpiece for an event.

Book Wallets


Um, these are awesome. I would not only want to make a variety of these for myself, but these would make great gifts for friends as well.

Recycled Book Scrapbook


I like scrapbooking, and I like books. I think this would be a really great (and cheap) project that can also help you chronicle your summer adventures.

Book Pages Pencil Cups


This is great for a home office or an office office.

Recycled Book Envelopes


This is a product for sale on, but it also looks pretty easy to do yourself. You can get thick paper stock, some glue, and create away!

Book Art


This blog has a lot of great ways to get not just crafty, but artsy with your recycled books.

Book Postcards


I’ve always said that every book is a vacation – and now, if you so choose to do this project, you can send little parts of your vacation out to all of your friends in the form of book postcards.

Book Window Garden


I’m not actually sure how to do this one, but it looks awesome, doesn’t it? If you’re a woodworker, or know a woodworker, show them this picture and tell me how it’s done.


About ThePandaBard

Amanda is the Managing Editor at The Poetics Project and of The Socialist, the national magazine of The Socialist Party USA. She graduated with a BA in English Education and a minor in Political Science. She is currently enrolled in an English MA program with an emphasis in Literature. During her free time, Amanda enjoys writing poetry, reading, traveling, crocheting, watching entire seasons of campy shows on Netflix, and, of course, writing blogs. You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.
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3 Responses to Literary Paraphernalia: 10 Ways to Upcycle Old, Beat Up Books

  1. Thanks for sharing my paper and wire bead tutorial! Love the book art flower!

  2. Amanda Riggle says:

    You’re very welcome! We really loved the tutorial. I’m going to try to make some of these projects this summer, actually, and your beads are at the top of my list!

  3. Anoosh Iqbal says:

    So many creative ways to use an old book which was about to be thrown in land-fills. I must try all of these ideas. It’s a great project. I found many inspiring projects in the Book of Books by Altered Upcycling They also have a website where you can sign up for free stuff.
    Have a look!


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