New Spins on Old Classics: Designs Featuring Old Books

Mar 1, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Every Other Book, Going Green

by Angelo DiGangi

Readers of all ages understand how attached we can become to the books we love. We hang on to them for decades, rereading them over and over again whenever we feel the need to reconnect with old friends or glean inspiration. Even in this day of online reading and tablets that can store tens of thousands of titles, there’s just something about a physical hard copy of a book that feels like home.

So when you want to find inspirational new ways to update your home décor, take a page from the past and incorporate old books! Even if you don’t have a selection of classics on hand, all you need to do is stroll around town and check out your local antique stores or book exchanges to find some great pieces to fit the bill.

The best part is that you can select a genre to fit the particular project you’re working on. For a bit more detail on that and to help get your creativity in gear, here are two fresh new ways to up-cycle old books that take a love of reading to a whole new level!

Metallic Mysteries

One cool way to shed some light on the wonderful pastime of reading books is to create a lamp out of the books themselves! A selection of mysteries is a great choice for a lamp, especially one with a dimmer or a three-way light bulb, because you can create shadows with the light that complement the mood of the stories contained in the books.

You’ll need:
• 8 hardcover books, approximately
• Lamp kit and shade
• Metallic Spray Paint
• Drill with a ½” bit
• Screwdriver with 1 ¼” screws and 2″ screws
• Clamp
• Utility knife or box cutter

Start out by stacking the books together to make sure they are the appropriate height for the lamp kit. Place the
lamp’s threaded rod next to the stack and be sure to leave 1″ of clearance on the top.

Spray paint the books with a metallic spray paint. You can spray the sides of the pages and leave the spine exposed so that you can read the title or spray the entire book, depending on your personal preference. Allow them to dry completely.

Using a clamp, secure the bottom book to a workstation and drill through the center of the book using a ½” drill bit; stop about halfway through the book. Open the book and using your utility knife, cut out a channel for the lamp’s electrical cord (make sure it fits into the channel) to exit the books.

Attach the threaded rod to the bottom book using the washer and lock nut from the lamp kit and slide the electrical wire through the bottom of the opened book. Leave approximately 2″ of wire exposed at the top to attach the lamp parts later. From here, screw the book closed using the 1 ¼” screws (going through the cover into the base, avoiding the electrical wires).

Follow the process of drilling through the center of each book (all the way through), stacking them and securing them to each other with the 2″ screws. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the rest of the lamp and sit back and enjoy your DIY metallic mystery lamp!

Nursery Frames for New Readers

Grab a book with a beautiful cover and cut out a portion of it to create a picture frame. This is a great option for a nursery (using a book of nursery rhymes or fairy tales – they almost always have beautiful and whimsical covers) to help instill a love of books to the next generation of readers!

Using a utility knife, carefully cut out a rectangle in the cover of the book. To create a mat for framing the photo, use the knife to cut a slightly smaller rectangle into the first few pages of the book. Use glue to secure the mat pages to the cover.

Tape a favorite photo in place behind the back of the mat cut out. If possible, select a picture that relates to the book title or content in some way.

These are just a couple of ideas for the ways you can up cycle books you’ve found around town. Of course, some books are too priceless to cut up, but for others, a bit of creative rehabilitation can give them new life.

Angelo DiGangi, a Home Depot sales associate since 1994, helps customers with expert home improvement advice at their local store. Wherever you live, The Home Depot has a store near you with associates just like Angelo who are knowledgeable and available to help with one-on-one advice for projects large and small.

1 Comment

  1. Good ideas for books that are only good for throwing away — for other books I prefer our libraries “Book Sales”, is a great way to share read and old books — I just got a Thorne Smith book and love it! Thanks!


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