Reuse and Redecorate! 7 Bookends You Don’t Have to Buy

Reorganizing and redecorating your bookshelves doesn’t have to mean a trip to the store. You needn’t buy expensive bookends to hold your tomes together on the shelf. Instead, rummage around the house for items that are weighty and attractive. You’re bound to come up with something more unusual than those brass numbers you see in catalogs and department stores. And you’ll help save the planet in the process. Here are some ideas!

1. Small jars filled with beads, shells, marbles, or colored sand.
2. Decorative beer steins.
3. Ceramic pitchers or crockery.
4. Duck decoys.
5. Piggy banks filled with change.
6. Small baskets filled with gourds. (Shellac the gourds to preserve them.)
7. Dolls or teddy bears. (Try ones that are tall enough to slide into the bookshelf in a sitting position, with their heads barely touching the bottom of the shelf above).

Adapted from Vinegar, Duct Tape, Milk Jugs & More, by Earl Proulx (Rodale Books, 1999).

For more on reducing and reusing things, read Sustainable Dave’s blog To Buy or Not to Buy: Is There Really a Question? or learn all about Freecycling things you no longer need, or finding free items instead of buying new.


Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Good ideas,thanks for sharing

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for the ideas.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Shelly Peterson
Shelly Peterson6 years ago

Good one!

Tori W.
Past Member 7 years ago

great ideas for bookends. thank you. i'll use them for dvd's, cd's and books too.

Barbara D.
Barbara D7 years ago


Kathy T.
Kathy T7 years ago

I like the idea of putting the doll or teddy bear as a bookend for your tomes. Thanks

Aditi A.
.7 years ago

good one.

Jessica D.
Jessie D7 years ago

Haha, I agree with Cheryl. My bookshelves are so crowded, they don't need anything to hem them in:)

Cheryl Lang
Cheryl Lang7 years ago

You have space on your bookshelves that isn't filled with books? Interesting.....

We have board games stacked on top of the bookcase although they could be used as an attractive space filler.

I've also used wooden fruit crates that I've stacked as quite reasonable bookshelves. It helps keep things organized by topic and the crates are always a good conversation starter.