14 Book-Themed DIY Project To Add Some Literary Flavor To Your Space

by E. Ce Miller

Book-lover, I know what you’re thinking: when am I going to find the time to finish a DIY project while I still have all these books to read? Fair question, for sure; especially coming from someone whose TBR pile is probably stacked ceiling-high. But a book-inspired DIY project actually might be just the thing you need to step up your reading game — and it’s a great way to show everyone what a true book nerd you actually are… although, if you’re anything like me, chances are they probably already know.

A quick click through Etsy or Pinterest will reveal a wealth of do-it-yourself projects for book lovers — plus tons of tips and tricks to get you started. And the great news is, none of these projects require you to destroy the books you love (yes, a book or two may be slightly altered in the process, but you’ll still be able to read them, and that’s really what counts.) If you’re feeling inspired to get your crafty hands a little dirty, and you’re ready to get even more up close and personal with your favorite books than ever before, there’s definitely a DIY project on this list calling your name.

Check out these 14 DIY projects perfect for book-lovers.

Color-coordinate your shelves.

Rainbow-ordered shelfies are popping up all over Instagram, and I have to say: I’m totally obsessed. If you can stomach the fact that your books will now be organized by the color of their spines instead of however you were organizing them before, then this is a super simple DIY project you’ll love — and it’ll definitely upgrade your shelfie game.

Supersize your favorite book quote.

Book quotes can be turned into practically anything: coffee mugs, pillows, canvas bags, you name it — but one of my favorite options is displaying a quote in a way that nobody will miss. If you’ve got wall space in need of a little spruce, consider livening it up by painting your quote directly onto the wall. If you’re not as artistically inclined (or you missed the handwriting unit in 3rd grade) you can also special-order wall decals instead. Sure, not the most DIY option, but making sure the decals are properly aligned might be a project in and of itself.

Wall Decal, $19.99+, WallumsWallDecals on Etsy

Take a literal twist on “bookshelves”.

Floating bookshelves that are actually books are super cool — and you don’t necessarily have to destroy a book in order to construct them (as long as you don't mind drilling a small hole or two.) A couple brackets and a basic knowledge of how a drill works will have you up and shelving in no time. Learn how here.

Make your own bookmarks.

Head over to your nearest paper goods store (these still exist, right? …I worked at one in high school) and check out their section of heavy card-stock. If you’re super into DIY you can even layer different papers and fabrics to make a one-of-a-kind placeholder for your latest read. Add a ribbon to the top, and voilà. Need more tips? Click here.

Red Mermaid Bookmarks, $4.50+, IrishShells on Etsy

Design some one-of-a-kind book jewelry.

This is another project for those destroyed-beyond-repair reads (or, consider photocopying your favorite text onto a vintage-y paper and you’re all set.) Book-inspired necklaces, earrings, and pins are all over Etsy, and readers are completely in love. To DIY, this video will tell you everything you need to know.

Shakespeare Vintage Earrings, $18.95, Bookity on Etsy

Find a creative use for those used book covers.

While I’m definitely not advocating for book destruction, sometimes a library or a used bookstore will have a small section of books that have been read (see: loved) beyond repair. These books are perfect for any project that might require a book cover or two — and if you feel strongly about book preservation, you can always hold onto the pages inside. One of my favorite DIY projects using book covers is a book-themed clutch. Learn how to make one here.

Turn your fantasy book maps into wall art.

From Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, readers have long been obsessed with fantasy book maps — pouring over the terrain of their favorite fictional travelers. To give your book nook a totally fantasy feel, mount a copy of your book map (or if you’re feeling super DIY, draw one yourself) onto a frame, cork-board, or re-purposed plywood. There are some great tips here.

Land of Oz Map, $15, NLopezArt on Etsy

Know that you can never have too many book-inspired t-shirts.

Whether your definition of DIY extends to designing these online and having the completed tee shipped to you directly (it counts, right?) or actually placing the letters yourself, making your favorite book quote into a t-shirt is a great way to let everyone know you’re a reader (like they didn’t already.)

Got Books? Tee, $10, HappyRobotTees on Etsy

Make some book-themed coasters for all that literary-themed tea you’ll be drinking.

Use book pages or reprint your own for cute and functional book-inspired coasters. You can also grab a handful of these Postcards from Penguin, which save your books and are seriously the number 1 bookish DIY must-have. Check out this step-by-step guide to get started.

Make your own book-inspired candles.

Playing with scents — whether your pouring your own wax or experimenting with essential oils — is a great way to satiate your DIY appetite. There are tons of variations of at-home candle making, and the best part is when you pour these yourself you know you’re getting the best, non-toxic product. Learn more here.

Old Books Candle, $18, Frostbeard on Etsy

Build some cool bookends.

If you loved woodworking class at summer camp, then this DIY project is definitely for you. What book-lover hasn’t run out of shelf space before? Making your own bookends — in fun, book-inspired shapes like punctuation marks or the setting of your favorite story — is the perfect project for both DIYers and book-lovers alike. There's tons of info here.

Small Set of Mountain Bookends, $18, King of Sawdust on Etsy

Print your own book plates… and then put them in all of your books.

This can be as simple as finding a book plate template and hitting print, or designing a little deeper with textures and patterns. My advice is to start with a template and a printable sheet of blank book plates, and then design to your heart's content. The key is getting one into the front cover of all your favorite books before your printer runs out of ink. Martha Stewart has got your back on this one.

Put together your own literary-themed tea (or coffee) blend.

Whether your ordering a variety of bulk tea online or heading out to a loose-leaf tea shop, making your own tea blend is a deliciously creative way to celebrate all your bookish tastes. While Pride & Prejudice is definitely a strong and spicy black tea blend, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn might have some lighter notes of white tea and dandelion root. You get the idea. Start blending here.

The Literary Tea Collection, $51, FirstEditionTeaCo on Etsy

Take a page out of the dictionary (not literally.) Or, maybe literally.

Most book-lovers love the dictionary, right? (I know this isn't just me.) Technically, I don’t consider this DIY project actual book destruction, because you are preserving all the pages… just in a slightly different form. As wallpaper! (Not recommended for the bedroom ceiling, if you ever want to sleep again. However in the bathroom, this is a total upgrade from that ratty basket of books you usually keep in the corner for some you-know-what reading.) Learn more here.

Vintage Newspaper Wallpaper Sample, $5, HomeDepot