How to Repurpose Old Books Into A Wall Shelf

Repurpose old books by making them into a wall shelf!  If you are a bibliophile or reader then this project is for you!

You might also like these 29 Ikea Lack Hacks, A DIY floating shelf tutorial, and this L-shaped Bookcase building tutorial.

This easy DIY "book"shelf is great for a book enthusiast or vintage collector! Repurpose old books into a unique DIY wall shelf, plus use our free printable book covers so you don't actually have to use rare vintage books.

Good morning fabulous Remodelaholics! It’s Ananda from A Piece of Rainbow . I’m here today with a fun DIY for all lovers of vintage books: we are transforming some old books into a useful and unique piece of furniture!

Brilliant idea to repurpose old books! Make them into an easy "book" shelf for your wall -- and the tutorial includes free templates to print your own vintage book covers and make your own simple wood corbels.

Isn’t this wall shelf beautiful? Ever since I saw cool shelves like these, for example, in this shelving post on Remodelaholic, I have wanted to decode them and build my own version of it.

diy shelving ideas

It wasn’t long before I realized how hard it is to find 3 cute vintage books that are about the same widths and same thickness! After some head scratching, I decided to print my favorite vintage book covers, and include them here for you to download as well!

Woohoo, problem solved!

How to Make a Repurposed Book Wall Shelf
(with free vintage printable book covers)


upcycled book shelf idea

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Here are the materials and tools needed for our “book” shelf:

  • 3 books of the same widths and same thickness, the easiest way is to get the same books, and  your favorite vintage book covers, or download these I used here
  • a box cutter or an Xacto craft knife to cut the books
  • a piece of 1″x4″ about 24″ long for the insert, and a piece of 2″x8″ for the corbels, or ready made corbels / brackets
  • template for these corbels, and a jig saw to cut the corbels
  • paper or card stock to print the book covers, and glue or modpodge
  • a drill, a few wood screws, and keyhole hangers to hang the shelf

turn old books into a wall shelf

First step: use a caliper or a ruler to measure the thickness of the 1″x4″, it will most likely be 0.75″, and measure out the same thickness in a section of the book. Any section will work as long as it lines up in all 3 books.

repurposed old books into a wall shelf

DIY tutorial for old books turned into a wall shelf with corbels

Step 2: mark the 3 books using the piece of 1″x4″, cut the pages with a box cutter or Xacto knife so the wood fits inside the cavity.

how to make a shelf from old books

Step 3: brush the wood with glue or modpodge, on both sides. Close the books carefully, but leave the front covers open. You will see why in the final step!

Turn inexpensive old books into a wall shelf -- plus free printable book covers so you don't have to damage your favorite books.

Clamp the books, then brush more glue on the edges of the book pages. Let the glue soak in and dry.

free printable vintage book covers to make books into a wall shelf

Step 4: After the glue dries, we can pretty up our books with some printable vintage covers: Wizard of OZ, Alice in Wonderland, and Grimms Fairy Tales, my 3 favorites!

Isn’t it great we don’t have to cut up real vintage books from our treasure finds?

Print and cut the spines and covers to size, a little larger than the actual books so there’s room to fold over along the edges. Glue the spine covers first, then the back and front covers.

diy corbels for book shelf from old books

Step 5: print out or create your own corbel template, trace 2 piece onto the 2″x8″ wood.

It’s crucial to have the top and back side of each corbel be as square as possible so our shelf will sit at 90 degrees. Use a square or something you have that is square to double check.

Cut the corbels and sand them smooth.

easy DIY wood corbels

how to make your own wood shelving corbels

diy book shelf from old books

Final step: pre-drill 2 holes on each corbel. Measure and mark corresponding spots on the books and drill through.

Use a long screw for each hole, attach the books to the corbels.

upcycled old books into a display shelf

Here’s why we leave the front covers open – no signs of screws when we close the covers!

And don’t forget to attach key-hole hangers on the back of each corbel!

how to hang an upcycled book shelf with DIY corbels

DIY upcycled book shelf tutorial @Remodelaholic

Build a wall display shelf from old books -- plus free printable book covers so you can use any old book you want!

Here’s it is, a “book” shelf! Guaranteed a conversation piece. It’s also quite strong, sturdy and useful!

DIY upcycled book shelf with wood corbels and printable book covers

easy DIY shelf from old upcycled books @Remodelaholic

Below are some fun projects on my blog if you want to swing by and visit!

  1. free printables to make your own designer outlet covers | 2. super space-saving shoe rack perfect for closets  | 3. make a rope shelf with just a drill | 4. stenciled pallet floor mat

old book shelf

Thank you everyone, and happy creating!


More awesome wall shelf tutorials:

upcycled drawer wall shelfOld drawer turned into a shelf

oversized monogram wall shelf

Monogram wall shelf and gorgeous home office by The Happy Homebodies featured on @Remodelaholic

Ikea LACK ledge shelf update
ikea shelf finale ss

Easy floating bedside shelfDIY floating bedside lamp shelf tutorial, Turtles and Tails featured on

DIY hanging rope wall shelvesDIY Rope Hanging Shelves
Easy modern rustic wall shelvesEasy Rustic Wall Shelves Tutorial

Website | + posts

Ananda is an artist and garden designer. Her work in landscape architecture and art led to many creative diy ideas and projects that she shares here at Remodelaholics and at her popular blog, A Piece Of Rainbow.

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