Unbound Book Stack How-to

I have written before about how I love to decorate with old books.  Sometimes I love the distressed hues of the covers, but other times the books are in really bad shape, or the covers are not very attractive.  In those cases, I rip off the covers and binding and make these great book bundles.


I first saw these books bundles in a Ballard Designs catalog, and then I saw some stacked in a basket in a Pottery Barn catalog.  Ballard Designs actually used to sell them, but for an astronomical price, and I thought, “gee, I could make those!”

So here is a quick how-to guide on how to make your own book bundle.

First, gather your materials.

DSC04229You need at least two old books to make a bundle, plus some sort of twine and scissors.

Next, begin removing the covers and binding from your books.  Some come off easily, and others not so easily.  But really the more ripped and shabby the spines get the better.


Sometimes the glue on the spine is still pretty strong, and you wind up with this:


That does not make for a pretty bundle, so keep working on pulling off as much of that glue as you can.

Now, a quick note for those book lovers out there who are cringing at the idea of me ripping apart books . . . Always give your old books a good once over and make sure you don’t have any valuables in there.  I usually look for old textbooks, because those typically are of no value and I can rip them up with a clear conscience.  Keep an eye out for authors that sound familiar to you.  In this stack of books I got for $5 at a garage sale, I spotted one that caught my eye:


I looked it up online and turns out it was a rare vintage copy, worth about $80.  So, that one stays intact.

After you have ripped the covers off all of your books, start separating each book into about 1 in. sections.


Once you have a bunch of these sections, start stacking. I look for sections that are similar in width and stack them alternating with spine and page edge facing out.


I also try to reserve for the top of the bundle one section that is a title page, or has something particularly interesting on it, like this inside cover that a young lady doodled on many moons ago.  It adds more visual interest to your bundle.


Once your books are stacked 4-5 sections high, tie them up with the twine of your choosing.  I double wrap the twine around mine, again, just to add more visual interest.


And your done! Here is my finished stack–4 book bundles from the stack of 8 books I started with (minus the valuable one!)


I love the spots of glue and strings all sticking out–they add texture to each bundle.

Use them to decorate on bookshelves, table tops, or group a whole bunch in a basket by your fireplace.


Here they are piled in an enamel basin in my shop (along with a GIANT lightbulb!).  They all sold within a week! Time to find more old books.

Try making some for yourself!

Linking up to:


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
The DIY'ers

Vintage Child’s Room Decor

I’ve posted before about how I love to decorate with old books.  I have a special place in my heart though for old children’s books especially.  I love the bright, but muted with time, colors and old-timey pictures.  Over the weekend I stopped in at an estate sale that had tons of old children’s books for sale.  I picked through the box and pulled out a few of my favorites.


Adding those to two bedtime storybooks I already had, I now have a nice little collection for sale in my space.  I think The Shoe Book may be my favorite.  I wonder if it originally had laces?


I love the Paper Doll book too. I remember playing with paper dolls when  I was a little girl.


And lastly, I was excited to find a Mother Goose book in the pile. Check out the laced-up binding.


These would be great displayed on a shelf in a child’s nursery or even bigger kid room.  Or, you could easily take out single pages and frame several of them in a row.  And of course you can use them for their original purpose and read them to your children too!

A simple, low-cost way to add a unique touch to your child’s space.

My Inner Librarian

I love decorating with vintage books.  They don’t have to be in great shape, in fact the shabbier the better.  In most cases I’m not really concerned with their titles either, more with the subtle hues their covers add to a space.  I think I like too that they bring with them a sense of sophistication . . . smart people read lots of books, right?


Sometimes I take off their covers and wrap several books up together with twine (I realize that causes great anxiety among real book collectors!), and sometimes I stack them with their page ends out.  Here is a little collection that inhabits my bird cage.


My space up at Antique Company Mall is full of vintage books.  When I spot them at garage or estate sales I can’t pass them up.  I have a great collection of red-hued books up there right now. Instant color for a drab space!



Why not start your own vintage book collection? They are easy to find, full of character, and great conversation pieces.  And like I said, having lots of them around will make you look really smart. *wink wink*