10 Ways to Reuse Old Books

Obviously collector books, quality library books and books we just plain love get pampered and kept on our shelves and tables. But what about the rest? Obsolete manuals, damaged books, those which have only kind-of survived the toddler years… where do they go, what do they become?Here are some great ideas I found for turning an old book into something new.

  • A book wall lamp (actually pretty cool for a study room, library or just a geek like me).
  • Join BookCrossing.
  • Gesso over the pages to create a journal or sketch book.
  • Remove pages and turn them into envelopes.
  • Frame individual pages or collages for inexpensive artwork.
  • Use as wallpaper (think bathroom wall, plenty of reading for guests!).
  • Decoupage a table top.
  • Stack several together (with cement glue in between) and clear coat to make an attractive centerpiece or a decorative column. Repaint spines and top if desired to resemble classics.
  • Wad up unusable pages for packing cushion.
  • Use for wrapping small gifts.

I’m sure there are hundreds of other ideas. Please share yours!

If books are in good shape and no longer needed in your household, please consider donating them to a hospital or shelter. A great idea for children is to have a book exchange party or a books-for-the-children’s-hospital party (ask everyone to bring their gently used books to donate).

If a book is not salvageable (or any parts of it that are beyond reuse), please recycle it.

Green Options Media is a network of environmentally-focused blogs providing users with the information needed to make sustainable choices. Written by experienced professionals, Green Options Mediaís blogs engage visitors with authoritative content, compelling discussions, and actionable advice. We invite anyone with questions, or simply curiosity, to add their voices to the community, and share their approaches to achieving abundance.

By Jamie Ervin, Green Options


Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

I can't cut a book.But maybe I'll try some of this tips with junk mail or old newspaper

Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins4 years ago

Oops, posted that in the wrong one. I have two pages open at once.

Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins4 years ago

If anything ever happens to my dog, I will probably start crying whenever I see a pic of a seal.

Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins4 years ago

I don't see what the big deal is about cutting up old books. The author is not talking about destroying first edition books and ones that have been around for centuries. It is finding new uses for damaged books that no longer belong on a bookshelf. The kinds of books in such bad condition that most would throw them away. Those books you can cut up as much as you want without feeling guilty because at least you are finding some use for them.

Hello G.
Hello G4 years ago

horrible.... cannot use old books to wrap gifts!!!

Danuta Watola
Danuta W4 years ago

Very interesting. Thank you.

Antonella C.
Antonella C4 years ago

nice ideas, thanks

Ram Reddy
Ram Reddy4 years ago


jasna gonda
jasna gonda4 years ago

Terrible! I am appalled to see old books and scissors in the same picture. Old books should be cherished

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