15 Creative ways to recycle old books

Book Cell

Books lovers from all over the world have found a new way to recycle old books. They are creating exquisite works of art using them. Though it might seem like just a way of disposing of old books, however, it is more than just that. These works look stunning and they make multiple statements at once. First, it is a rather polite way of promoting your favorite author. Second, they show that you didn’t let your old books rot inside the book shelves. When you became aware that you could not use them anymore, you went forward and used them in a very creative way. With this method, we can easily use the books from libraries which are classed as rejects to create amazing art installations. Furthermore, these would also help us in providing a refreshing new look at the tomes which we hardly give a thought to.

The growing demand to protect the environment from degradation has prompted many people to look for ways to recycle and reuse materials that are unwanted or considered nothing more than garbage. One such material which is normally considered useless or trash after reading is a book, especially textbooks and activity books.

But we can recycle our old books and try to reuse them instead of putting them in garbage.

Here are 15 creative ways to recycle old books.

1. Desk made from recycled books

Desk Made From Recycled Books

Some creative minds have recycled used books to make a colorful desk which is place at the library in Delft University of Technology. The beautiful front desk has been designed after the fire which burnt a portion of the library. The desk is made up of recycled books, magazines, and journals.

2. Old books Chandeliers

Old books Chandeliers

Have you ever thought that old books can be recycled to design spectacular chandeliers? Some creative brains have done it by designing beautiful chandeliers using just old books. These chandeliers aren’t all, there are many other ways to employ old books for classy home decor.

3. Bookstool


Young interior designer Liron Atlas deserves credit for an eco-friendly stool using old unused books. The idea to design this unique stool came to Atlas’ mind when he was visiting a library in Tel Aviv. During his visit, Atlas saw several old books lying in the library and he took those unused books after seeking the permission of the library officials to come up with Bookstool. Make this stool a part of your repurposed home decor.

4. Jonathan calan book art

Jonathan calan book art

Jonathan Callan has new form of art or book art using unused, old books. Callan displayed his new and attractive form of art in 2008 at the Brussels Art Fair. The art attracted many viewers and it showed that we come up with spectacular things using something as simple as books.

5. Bookshelves out of old books

Bookshelves out of old books

The credit for designing book shelves using old books goes to Jim Rosenau. The inspiration to design these unique book shelves came to Jim’s mind after he read an essay titled ‘Books as Furniture’ by Nicholson Baker. You can place custom orders to Jim and he will design a book shelf as per your requirements.

6. Book coffee table

Book coffee table

Richard Hutton has designed a coffee table using old books. The design is pretty simple but the idea is definitely creative and Hutton deserves full credit for creating a unique table.The four legs of the table are made using fat books and the center part of the table has three rows of books placed over each other.

7. Book Cell

Book Cell

Slovakian artist Matej Kren has designed the Book Cell, an octagonal building, constructed using old books. You can watch this unique creation at the Modern Art Center in Lisboa. The Book Cell was first installed in 2006. Matej has created this beautiful piece of art by using books borrowed from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

8. Book planters

Book planters

Italian design company Gartenkultur has used old books to creative decorative pieces called Book Planters. The planters can be created easily using a fat book or several slim books. In a planter, a hole is drilled inside the book and soil is filled in this hole. The designer has used isolation material to prevent books from getting wet.

9. Book bag

Book bag

Caitlin, a creative mind working at Rebound Designs, has designed a book bag using the cover of the old books. Caitlin has handcrafted each bag herself. The spine of the book is used to construct the purse’s bottom and the finishing of the sides is done using fabric. The bag is priced at around $120.

10. Book vases

Book vases

London-based designer Laura Cahill has used unwanted books to create vases and furniture. Cahill has removed the profiles of the books and test tubs are wrapped under the spines to prevent the vases from getting damaged by the water.

11. Book lamp

Book lamp

Designers at Netherlands-based design shop Atelier Bomdesign have used books to create beautiful lamp shades. These Booklamps are designed in such a way that they give brilliant lights where the lighting is soft.

12. Book bookshelf

Book Book shelf

Designed by Yann Martel and Nick Hornby, the Book bookshelf is created using old books. Martel and Hornby have bounded together several books to design a bookshelf which can be used to store books. It is interesting to note that the length of the bookshelf is adjustable and the designers say that they can adjust the length as per the requirements of specific users.

13. Book rocking chair

Book Rocking Chair

The book rocking chair is created by Stephanie Hartman, a web specialist at the Barker Engineering Library. Hartman has built this beautiful decorative piece using 98 copies of the 2002-03 MIT Faculty and Staff Directory. Hartman has used bolt rods and compression to hold the chair together.

14. Erdem book lamp

Erdem book lamp

Ragip Erdem of Erdem Designs deserves credit for designing a book lamp using old books covers and spines. Erdem has carefully crafted each book and no two lamps have same design. The book lamp is totally sustainable and ecofriendly because it has been designed only by books.The look of this book lamp is stylish.

15. Phone book coffee table

Phone Book Coffee Table

Brazilian designer Rodrigo Jaroseski deserves credit for creating Phone Book Coffee Table. Jaroseski has used old phone books to create this unique coffee table by gluing pages of several phonebooks together. Amazing way to recycle old books, isn’t it?

16. City scapes by Liu Wei


Image Source : Collabcubed

Liu Wei, a Chinese artist, uses text books to give expression to his art. In his works, he has used the dust from the carving process to give the feeling of disintegration. It’s an interesting and innovative way to recycle old books.

17. Cecelia Levy’s 3D art created from comic books


Image Source : Static.BoredPanda.Com

Cecelia Levy, an artist from Sweden, makes exquisitely beautifulpapier-mâché eggs, boots, teacups and more, out of faded and old comics and books. She looks out for well-thumbed books, the browned pages of which she uses to transform into 3D artworks. Each of her pieces are unique and outstanding. The multi-colored teacups or the paper bowls with their wood finish, do not reveal that they have been made from some humble old books, which werediscarded and forgotten.

18. Book sculptures by Brain Dettmer


Image Source : Blog.Wanken.Com

Surgical tools, tweezers and knives are usually associated with surgeons, and Brian Dettmer is a surgeon – of a kind. He does not tear out pages but just carves his way through every page to express the form he has imagined. Not a single page is relocated either. He tries to bring out the relationships between the book’s elements, and explores the possibilities within to create new forms.

He is a papercraft artist whose work is appreciated worldwide.

19. The book waterfall by Alicia Martin


Image Source : PublicInstallationArt.Altervista.Org

There is a waterfall in The Hague, Netherlands, which consists of books. Instead of water cascading down, you will see numerous books falling down from the windows of a building – the Meermanno museum. It is an installation by Alicia Martin.

20.  Miler Lagos’s book igloo


Image Source : Static.BoredPanda.Com

This unique igloo is made from books taken from a defunct US library. This artist from Columbia stacked the books in the shape of a dome. His idea behind the sculpture was the dynamics existing between material possessions, culture and nature.The books’ spines face inside, giving the interesting experience of being in a library, albeit a haphazard one. The outward facing pages give the impression of a monotone igloo, thus explaining the name of the sculpture. 

21. Magical sea creatures by Valerie Buess


Image Source : FishAndBicylces

Valerie Buess has worked with paper for the past twenty years. She fabricates organic shapes out of discarded books, which resemble sea creatures – sea urchins, sea grass, coral reefs and many more. Her intricate works are spell-binding as they lead the viewer into her surreal world of underwater sea fantasy. 

These amazing sculptures are a conscious choice of some of the world’s artists. These recycle old books to move away from conventional material using discarded books as the base material for their artwork. This is an innovative and eco-friendly way to display their creativity to the world, as well as inspiring others to do the same.

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