Love the look of vintage farmhouse-inspired home decor but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Learn how to chalk paint old books for just pennies!
Anyone else absolutely adore using old books in their home decor?
Me, me! A few months ago I shared a project using chalk paint and stamping.
These “thankful grateful blessed” books are just lovely by my front door.
I created these “be our guest” books for our new farmhouse bathroom.
I knew there HAD to be more ways to use old books in your home decor and I was right!
Today’s craft is so incredibly easy and even better if you have old books laying around the house or you love to yard sale and thrift shop like I do.
How to Chalk Paint Old Books
(I’ve included some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
Step 1. Choose your books, the less pristine the better.
This is where thrifty shopping comes in hand. There are many places to get inexpensive used books, including the free bin at the public library, used bookstores, thrift stores and yard sales.
For this project the books don’t have to match but I like to keep them relatively similar in size for stacking.
Step 2. Lay each book open so the cover lies flat.
Go ahead and protect your surface with newspaper or a painter’s cloth.
Step 3. Brush chalk paint over the entire cover, edges included.
This brand is my favorite because it’s easily found at craft stores and on Amazon. (You can see it here.)
Since the pages of the books won’t be shown you only need to paint the cover and book edges.
Step 4. Repeat with additional coats until you achieve the desired coverage.
Two coats was adequate for these books.
Step 5. Use coarse sandpaper to distress the surface.
Distress as little or as much as you’d like. Totally up to your preference!
Step 6. Wipe off dust with a paper towel or cloth.
Thrifty tip: use old t-shirts for your craft projects.
Step 7. Using a clean cloth, apply a small amount of dark wax, covering the surface area completely.
I prefer using a cloth rather than a paint brush for this step. If you want to make it easy, you can also use a paper towel!
Step 8. Immediately take a second clean cloth or paper towel and wipe away some of the dark wax until the desired effect is achieved.
This is totally depends on the finished look you’re going for. You can also use a lighter wax if you like that better.
Step 9. Let dry then tie a ribbon around books and use in any vignette.
I love to collect vintage ribbon from yard sales mostly and I simply added a lace ribbon to corral the books.
Here they are on my favorite side table by my front door.
Can you think of any other ways to use old books in your home decor?