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.
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!