Vintage style books are beautiful accent pieces for your home. This simple tutorial will show you how to make your own DIY vintage books – Restoration Hardware inspired. So grab some old books and get ready for a fun DIY!
I know I'm not the only one out there that loves Restoration Hardware's vintage book sets?! I am not however in love with the price so I convinced myself I could make my own. These DIY books have a somewhat vintage style and I fell in love with the way they turned out so much that I couldn't wait to rip apart all of my old books! There are so many ways to use painted books in decor and I'm going to show you an easy tutorial on how to make your own DIY Vintage Books.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. For more info, please see my full disclosures here.
How to Paint Books for Decorating
In this tutorial I am going to show you 3 ways that I was able to turn old books or encyclopedias into books that were much more appealing to have sitting around the house! I will show you a way to use chalk paint to transform old encyclopedias into beautiful staging pieces, how to use burlap to give books a more farmhouse look, and how to simply just rip off the covers to reveal a more restoration hardware book bundle look.
How to Use Chalk Paint on Books
You'll want to start with an old set of encyclopedias (or they don't have to be old)! I found these at a flea market and I couldn't pass up grabbing a few for this project. They actually don't have to even be encyclopedias, just as long as they are hard cover they will work best.
Next you'll want to grab chalk paint in the color of your choice. I used Annie Sloan's Old White because it is what I had on hand.
I laid down some craft paper and grabbed my chip brush and started painting the backs of the encyclopedias. I ended up using about 2 coats on the books. The red seemed to bleed through. After the second coat it still came through a bit, but I liked it so I left it at 2 coats.
At this point I gave my books a light coat of clear wax over the Old White finish so in case I messed up with my dark wax, I could just wipe it off and start over! This stuff is amazing!
The key to giving these beauties a real vintage look was to give them a little dark wax love. I have grown to absolutely love dark wax. I was intimidated at first before I knew how to use it, but now it's one of my favorite ways to give things that restoration hardware look. Just like my chalk painted chandelier which achieved it's look thanks to dark wax!
You'll want to rub on a small amount of dark wax and then immediately go behind it with an old rag or sock and wipe it off. This will leave that vintage look without having clumps of dark wax all over the books.
I was so happy with the way they turned out and I ended up using them in several different places around the house to style with.
Here are a couple of examples of ways I have used them to decorate in the house. I'm sure I will end up moving them around several times before they find their permanent (or not so permanent) home!
How to Make a Book Look Vintage
This next option was so easy that I couldn't believe they turned out so well. I apologize because I don't have a before pic of the hardcover books that I used but I used a couple of Nicholas Sparks hardcover books (I know…but I can still read them)! I took off the paper cover and then got to working on an idea to cover up the front label. I do love the way the books look without the paper cover on, but I was going for something with no title on it. I decided the best option would be to cover them with some craft paper.
I started by laying the book down on the craft paper and tracing the outline of each book two times. Once to cover the front and the next to cover the back. I didn't worry about covering the spine with the craft paper…I was going to do that with something else that you'll see in a min. 🙂
After I was done tracing I cut out the outlines. I then went to my handy Mod Podge and cover the front and back of the books and then laid down carefully my cutout pieces and made sure to smooth out any bubbles.
While I was waiting on that to dry I cut out two pieces of burlap to cover the spine of the book. Sorry again, I don't have a pic of me doing this.
Then I made sure to give the book spine a good amount of Mod Podge and attached the burlap to the book spine.
I then went over the whole book again with a layer of Mod Podge on the front and back.
Next I brought out my chalk paint again! This time I went with Annie Sloan Paris Gray (another color I had on hand) and gave the spine a couple of layers of chalk paint to give the book some contrast.
Choose a color of paint that goes with the color scheme in your home or leave them as is….they would both look great! Here they are completed and sitting in my home office.
How to Use Books for Decorating
This was the easiest of all the options! I rounded up a handful of books I bought for a quarter each at a flea market (minus the Nicholas Sparks books) and decided I wanted to rip off the covers and leave them bare like I have seen in places like Restoration Hardware.
Next I took a box cutter and opened up the books and cut right along the spine of the book to loosen up the cover and then ripped it off…seriously so easy! Sometimes I would go a couple of pages in to make sure I got to a page that didn't have a ton or wording on it that I thought would look good on the front.
And with that you are done! I have these sitting on a couple of shelves in my home office and plan on taking some twine and bundling them together. They definitely look different without all of the bright covers and I love it!
And that's it friends! Three simple ways to turn some old books or encyclopedias you have laying around into something with character!
This post contained some affiliate links for your convenience. For more info, please see my full disclosures here.
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