16 New & Exciting Ways To Use Old Books You NEED To Try

16 New & Exciting Ways To Use Old Books You NEED To Try

Books give us hours of pleasure, so it's no wonder we like to treasure them forever. Full of exhilarating adventures, characters that become our friends, and plenty of belly-laugh moments, it always seems such a shame to have to throw them away.

Well, what if there were other ways of using books, other than just for reading? As a devout bookworm, it's got to the point where I struggle to find space on my bookcase. I was interested to see what else I could use my favourite stories for when I just can't bear to part with them.

1. Arrange your books tastefully for blindingly beautiful bookcases

bookcase display
What a display!

Got some shelving in your living room that is looking a bit bare? A selection of books in all shapes and sizes will soon fix that.

I've rearranged mine in several different ways on my shelves, and they've truly transformed the room. Place them horizontally, but also landscape, and don't be afraid to split them up leaving gaps in between.

Play around until you find something that works for you. Need some inspiration? House & Garden have gathered 101 beautiful bookcases, sure to inspire you.

2. Use your old books to craft bookmarks for your new ones

I love this idea. I'm always loosing my old bookmarks, so this would be great for me.

The spine of a hardback makes the perfect, sturdy bookmark for even the biggest of books. Whilst it does mean you'll have to take the cover off of one of your old stories, you'll be able to remember it every time you see your new bookmark.

These would also make lovely presents and stocking fillers for any fellow book worms you may know.

Crafting a Green World has 20 more ways to make your own bookmarks from old things - go check them out!

3. Make your own coffee table using books as the legs

What better place to read than over a coffee table? Better still if the legs are built from books.

If you've got a collection of hardcover books, you can certainly do this at home. Build up 'legs' from the sturdy books, then place a flat surface on top for the ultimate, book lovers coffee table.

Rounded-off glass looks best, as it will showcase all the beautiful books that lie beneath.

4. Keep all your favourite treasures inside your old book

This one is wonderful way of completely upcycling your old book and giving it a whole new purpose.

By cutting out a square through the pages of your old book,  a sort of 'compartment' will be created. Close the cover on your book, and this will be completely hidden from view.

It's a novel and useful idea - ideal for hiding money, jewellery, keys and other bits and bobs.

5. A DIY doorstop

books as doorstop
A handy way of using up old books.

There's no need to spend money on doorstops if you're a bookworm.

Keep your reading room at perfect temperature by propping the door open...with books! Pile up some of your old, heavy pieces of literature, and it will keep the door open whilst you read to your heart's content.

6. Use old books to create secret storage

If you're struggling for storage but still want to keep your lovely literature on show, this idea is for you.

By using just the spines on your bookcases, you can cover up storage boxes that sit on shelves. That way you'll get the look of a bookcase, without having to forfeit the space.

Alternatively, you can create a sort of 'screen' without using any boxes at all. Glue the spines of your books together directly, and then add the side of one of your books to each end. You'll be able to hide your wares behind this 'screen', and visitors will be none the wiser.

7. Book covers make the perfect greeting cards

A really creative and easy way of reusing old books is to send them as cards to loved ones.

The cover will make a charming little gift to your friends and family. Plus, as it's a book you've read and loved yourself, it's much more special than buying one. Something that special is sure to put a smile on the reciever's face.

8. Create a wall montage from old books

Books aren't just meant to go on shelves. Think outside the box a little, and you'll be surprised just where you can use them.

One of my favourite ways to repurpose old books is to feature them on my wall. Whether it's a single page or the cover, they make meaningful artwork that is both interesting and attractive.

9. Cover up candle holders with wonderful words

Candle covered in book paper
A candle with a difference.

There's something so calming about the soft light of lit candles. Make their effect even more powerful, with the addition of some of your favourite words.

Wrap pages from your favourite books around glass candle holders to instantly update them. These would make truly unique presents for your fellow bookworm friends. Pick pages from a book you both enjoy and get wrapping - they'll be truly touched when they realise what you've down.

10. Use children's books to keep dinner time entertaining

Are your little ones learning how to read? If so, some DIY placemats could be extremely helpful in making dinner time both entertaining and educational.

Pick some of the older books, cover them in plastic sticky wrapping, or get them laminated. These will make the perfect placemats for your little ones. You'll be able to encourage them to read, ask questions and help them along as they learn the magic of literature. How's that for a weekend activity

11. Work up a sweat using books as weights

No time or money to go to a gym? Who needs fancy equipment when you've got 100kg in books lying around?

Start integrating books into your daily workout - starting with the lighter ones and working your way up. They're great for toning triceps, your shoulders and even your legs if you use them to squat with.

12. Upcycle an old book into a fun little word game

DIY word game from old books
Such fun!

I love word games. They're very fun, easy to play and best of all: educational. What's not to like, right?

If you've overdone it a bit on the Scrabble or Boggle, why not try making your own?

Use pages from your old books and cut out a set of words or phrases. You can then use these clippings to play with. If you're playing alone, challenge yourself to come up with compelling, coherent phrases.

If you're in a group, you could each add in a word and try and come up with amusing phrases.

Whatever you decide to do with your words, you're promised hours of fun!

13. Old books make wonderful wrapping paper

Wrapping paper made from old books - it's a bookworm's dream!

Next time you've got something small to wrap, try using a few sheets from your old books. Not only will it looks extremely delicate and pretty, but there's something very intimate about giving a friend part of a story you've cherished.

You never know, in a few years the trend could catch on and they'll be selling rolls of the stuff in-store.

14. An intellectual-looking iPad cover

Whilst overuse of iPads are often frowned upon, being book-obsessed definitely isn't.

You can craft yourself a clever little iPad holder using one of your old books. That way, you'll be able to play on in peace, judgment aside.

Looking like a book as opposed to an expensive digital device will also mean it's less likely to be stolen - handy!

15. Press some flowers

There's no need for a fancy flower press to get crafting with petals and leaves. You can make your own using some old books of yours.

Pro Flowers has a great guide to get you pressing like a pro in no time. Think of all the cracking creations you can make.

16. Use your books as decor around the home

books on coffee table
What an intellectual-looking coffee table.

If you've got a lot of old books lying around that you want to make use of, try seeing them a little differently. They're far from clutter

Instead of redundant, space takers, see them as splashes of colour and texture to use as decor around your home. Whether it be stacking a few on a table, or stuffing a bookcase full of them, books add interest and character to any home.

Thanks for reading. Are you a book lover too? I'd love to know how you reuse old books in the comments below.

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

Follow me on X
  1. Author Janet pinder on March 24, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Really enjoyed 'reading' this - some great ideas I am definitely going to try! Love the gift wrapping idea especially. Thank you.

    1. Author Stephanie C on March 24, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Hi Janet. I'm so glad you enjoyed my article! I love the gift wrapping idea, too. It's become somewhat of a signature for my presents! :)

  2. Author Mary on March 24, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I am an avid reader and I loved some of your uses for old and not so old books which I will definitely be implementing

    1. Author Stephanie C on March 24, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Hi Mary. I'm a big bookworm, too. So glad to hear you're going to be trying some of my uses! Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading :)

  3. Author Caro on March 24, 2017 at 11:49 am

    One use for old books is to create a piece of art work out of them by folding the pages at certain points to make words or shapes. It's a bit of work but the end results look amazing.

    1. Author Stephanie C on March 27, 2017 at 9:56 am

      I love this idea, Caro. Would be great to see some of your creations! :)

  4. Author Helen Smith on March 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Hi I've used some of my books to put my phone on upstairs. Start at bottom with larger ones and graduate down. I've had many comments on how good it looks. Best reuse is to give to charity shops !!sothers can enjoy

    1. Author Stephanie C on March 27, 2017 at 9:56 am

      This is a great idea Helen - sort of a bedside table, you mean? Love it!

  5. Author Lesley Reeves on March 24, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Love some of the ideas - the gift wrapping one is brilliant - but as an avid bookworm and hoarder of books I don't know if I could bring myself to cut up my books. Although my other half has some that would do very well!

    1. Author Stephanie C on March 27, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Hi Lesley. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I'm a bookworm too, and can understand you not wanting to cut them up. I often use the back pages of my book for wrapping - you know sometimes you get an extract from another story by the author? This means you don't ruin the actual book at all :)

  6. Author Jeanette Powell on March 24, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    How can you destroy books like that! Donate unwanted books to charity.

    1. Author Stephanie C on March 27, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Hi Jeanette. It's not destroying, simply reusing :) I think it's a novel way of keeping your beloved stories around you for longer.

    2. Author Andy parsons on March 31, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      You are right Stephanie. :) It's all about reuse. when it comes to charity why not new books ?

  7. Author Maria Mackintosh on March 26, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I use mine for "Bookfolding" With patterns, I fold the pages so they spell out a name. I have given these as gifts and everybody loves them.

    1. Author Stephanie C on March 27, 2017 at 9:59 am

      This sounds amazing, Maria! I'd love to see pictures. :)

  8. Author dedicated servers on April 23, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Awesome things here. I am very happy to see your article. Thank you a lot and I am having a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 24, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Hi there. I'm glad you liked our article. Feel free to contact me on theteam@experthometips.com & I'll be happy to assist you. Thanks :)

  9. Author Joanna hamilton on May 8, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Also a good idea for a book you no longer want to read is to carefully cut out a deep square/rectangle in the middle to hide precious items like jewellery

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 9, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Hi Joanna. Yes, I've seen this done before - it's very effective! Thanks for sharing :)

  10. Author Stuart on September 14, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    If the books are in poor condition and are large enough take out any illustrated pages and make envelopes out of them. You can find envelope templates on Youtube or find an envelope that you like, carefully tear it apart and use it as template.

    1. Author Joanne A on September 14, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      That's a fab idea, Stuart! Thank you for telling us.

  11. Author VICTOR KEMP on September 14, 2018 at 6:29 pm


    1. Author Joanne A on September 17, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Hi Victor. Hopefully, most people would think before upcycling any first edition - but I appreciate your sense of humor!

  12. Author Janet Readle on September 9, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I do book folding with mine

    1. Author Joanne A on September 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      That sounds lovely, Janet! I'd love to see what you create.

  13. Author Barbara Pritchard on December 16, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Whatever happened to passing books on or to charity shops rather than destroying a precious book. However I do like the idea of using pages as wrapping once they are past any use for reading.

    1. Author Joanne A on December 17, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      That's another great way to give books a new lease of life! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Author Lucy Ambrose on December 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    I cannot bring myself to pull apart books. I was brought up to respect books, I could not even turn down the corner of a page. These ideas give me the absolute creeping horrors!

    1. Author Joanne A on December 17, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      That's fair enough, Lucy!

  15. Author Sharon on April 20, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Could you please post some pictures of the finished projects so that people can have a visual idea of exactly how to create them ?

    1. Author Joanne A on April 20, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      That's a great idea! We'll consider it for the next update.

  16. Author Sarah-Jayne Windridge-France on May 5, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    All really lovely ideas ... I regularly gift old books to friends, make cards out of them, wrap presents in them, cover books with pages of books and prop things up with them. Books are fabulous. There's so much to learn from them and so much to share with others ... and lots to make with them too. I like to think that most of what you do with any other paper you can do with the leaves of a book too!

    1. Author Joanne A on May 6, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      That sounds great!

  17. Author Juliette Gooden on September 9, 2021 at 11:17 am

    How about the craft of book folding old books

    1. Author Joanne A on October 12, 2022 at 9:59 am

      That's a wonderful idea!

  18. Author Keith on October 17, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    This is cultural vandalism. Give your old books away or donate them to charity. Then, buy some new ones ...and read them!

    1. Author Joanne A on October 11, 2022 at 9:21 am

      That's one way to look at it!

  19. Author Vichkiee on November 23, 2021 at 9:33 am

    Oh NO dont tear up books! But some of your suggestions could be used,both charity shops and house clearance come across books that are damaged.usually get binned.so happy to let you take them😇😇 l always offer a small donation

    1. Author Joanne A on January 26, 2023 at 4:08 pm

      That's a good idea!

  20. Author Jean Davies on March 23, 2022 at 9:48 am

    I never read a book twice so donate them back to charity shops where they may have come from, but I do buy from other outlets as well. I could never destroy a book, that's sacrilege!!!! Also using for just display is creating just another dust gatherer!!!

    1. Author Joanne A on May 31, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Jean! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *